Mr David Livshin was born around 1887 in Liepāja, Kurzeme, Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire.
Details about David's early life are vague but it is understood he served in the Russian Army before settling in England around 1911 where he started a watchmaking business at Strangeways, Manchester and lived at 36 Strong Street, Lower Broughton in that city.
Hailing from an Ashkenazi Jewish background, David was married in early 1912 to a young Russian woman named China Hodes. It was decided that they would emigrate and settle in Canada with David to travel ahead first and then send for his wife who was, by that time, pregnant.
David boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third class passenger on 10 April 1912. He bought ticket number 374887 for £7, 5s in the name of Abraham Harmer. His family know of no reason why David Livshin was travelling under the name of Abraham Harmer, it is a name unknown to them and can only be assumed that he had bought the ticket from a third party. His ultimate destination was to have been Montréal, Québec where he had several siblings.
David Livshin died in the sinking.
According to Captain Rostron, Livshin was one of the four people buried from the Carpathia. He may have been the fourth person picked up by lifeboat 14 (if indeed there was a fourth person). Alternatively he may have been 'the lifeless body', referred to by Lightoller, transferred from Collapsible B to lifeboat 12 during the night. Algernon Barkworth also talked about a dead body being transferred.
China Livshin had been in the early stages of pregnancy when she became a widow. Her son, whom she named David in honour of his father, was born on 3 September 1912. China applied to the Liverpool Relief Fund for assistance and was granted a monthly payment but requested that she be given a reduced monthly sum and an immediate cash payment in order that she might return to Russia to take the child to visit his grandparents. She was still in Russia for the onset of the First World War and was unable to leave and the family endured severe deprivations during this time and it was not until 1920 that she and the child were able to return to Manchester. What became of China is not clear.
Young David in time became a highly respected member of the medical profession. He was married in 1948 to Milly Bor (1916-1998), the daughter of Russian immigrants, and had one son, Michael (b. 1949) and two daughters, Naomi (b. 1953) and Deborah (b. 1957). He died in Manchester in 1992 aged 79.
References and Sources
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)
Peter Boyd-Smith (1994) Titanic, From Rare Historical Reports. Southampton, Steamship Publications.
Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Geoff Whitfield, UK