Miss Sarah Roth was born in Tarnów, Austria 1 (modern-day Poland) on 10 October 1880 2. She came from a Jewish family and was the daughter of Abraham Roth (b. 1849), a cobbler, and his wife Sarah (b. 1857). She had a brother, Barnett (b. 1874).
Sarah and her family appear on the 1881 census living at 5 Wells Place, Whitechapel, London, apparently having only just relocated there from their native Austria. Sadly her father died only a few months later. When the 1891 census was conducted Sarah's mother and brother were listed as living at Mansell Street, Whitechapel; Sarah was listed elsewhere as an inmate at the Jews Hospital and Orphan Asylum in Norwood, London.
When Sarah appeared on the 1901 census she was living with her mother and brother at 15 Plough Street, Commercial Road, Whitechapel. A further two siblings, whose background is uncertain, were also present: Harry (b. 1891) and Samuel (b. 1894). Sarah was described as a tailoress at this stage and when the 1911 census was conducted she was described as a coat finisher and still living with her mother at 15 Plough Street. Also listed at this address was her fiancé of several years Daniel Michael Iles (b. August 1882 3 in Stepney, London), a grocery warehouseman. Daniel later emigrated and arrived in New York on 27 May 1911 where he subsequently worked as a clerk in Greenhut, Siegel & Cooper department store. After several months he sent for Sarah to join him.
She boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third class passenger (ticket number 342712, which cost £8, 1s) and on board became acquainted a large group of similarly-aged passengers who included Emily Badman, Edward Lockyer, Edward Dorking, Thomas Theobald, May Howard and the Goldsmith family.
On the night of the sinking Sarah woke up having sensed that the ship's motion had ceased so she dressed and left her cabin and met two acquaintances, possibly Frank and Emily Goldsmith, and during their bewildered conversation they witnessed several stewards hurry past. Asking the crewmen what was the matter, they were informed that the ship had struck an iceberg but that there was no need for alarm. She also described members of the crew preventing their access to certain areas, with one crewman, whom she thought was an officer, preventing any steerage passengers mounting a ladder (perhaps the ladder connecting the aft well-deck to the second class area on B-Deck) onto a higher deck. Eventually she, the Goldsmiths and Emily Badman were permitted to ascend but upon reaching the boat deck found most of the boats gone or full and ready for lowering. Perhaps directed to the forward section of the ship by crew, Sarah, Emily Badman and Emily Goldsmith and her son Frank were rescued together in collapsible C, the penultimate lifeboat to leave Titanic. Sarah lost her wedding gown and trousseau in the sinking.
Following her arrival in New York Sarah wed her fiancé in St Vincent's Hospital only a week after the Titanic disaster, wearing a dress donated to her by the Woman's Relief Committee. Acting as a bridesmaid was Sarah's fellow survivor Emily Badman.
Sarah and her husband went on to have one child, a son named Albert Daniel, who was born in on 9 December 1914. The small family initially lived in Manhattan, remaining there throughout the 1920s and 1930s before they moved to Milford, New Haven, Connecticut. Sarah died there on 4 July 1947.
Her widower Daniel continued to live in Milford and died in 1966. Her son Albert was later married and also remained in Milford where he died on 28 February 1999.
- On later census records taken in the USA Sarah claimed to be English by birth
- Many sources give her birth date as 10 October 1885. Early census records confirm that she was at least five years older.
- Daniel also gave different and conflicting ages in later years. His birth was registered in 1882 confirming his age and pre-emigration census records corroborate this. His exact birthdate varies between 6, 7 and 8 August. His social security application gives the date as the 8 August 1888 and his WWI Draft registration as 7 August 1884. Other sources give the date as 6 August.
References and Sources
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Gavin Bell, UK
Articles and Stories
The Daily Banner (1912)