Mr Edwin Herbert Keeping was born in St George's, London, England on 5 July 1878.
He was the son of Henry Keeping (b. 1844), a valet to wealthy families, and Emma Copsey (b. 1843), natives of Kent and Surrey respectively who had married in 1868. They went on to have eight children, four surviving infancy. Edwin's known siblings were: Edith Ellen (b. 1868), Alice Aline (b. 1869), Louise Jane (b. 1872) and Arthur Francis James (b. 1880).
His family were listed on the 1881 census living at 126 Queens Road in St George's, London but Edwin was not listed with them, instead being shown residing with his maternal grandparents John and Susannah Copsey at 32 Kirkdale Road, Tonbridge, Kent. He was back with his family by the time of the 1891 census, still at 126 Queens Road. His mother died in 1893 aged 49 and his father later settled in Hythe, Hampshire. He died in Surrey in 1934 aged 89.
A widely travelled man, Keeping had visited numerous countries to work with various employers, among whom was a Russian Grand Duke, who gave him a locket as a present when he left. Edwin emigrated to the USA around 1903 and became employed by the wealthy Widener family of Pennsylvania. He was married around 1908 to a Swedish-born lady, Caroline Elizabeth Johansson (b. 10 February 1880) who had emigrated to the USA in 1895 from Stockholm and who was also in the employment of the Wideners. The couple had one child, their daughter Mildred Evelyn Nance, who was born in 1909. The family were shown on the 1910 census living in Cheltenham, Montgomery, Pennsylvania.
Keeping boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg with the Wideners and travelled on his own ticket (#113503). He died in the disaster and his body was later recovered by them MacKay Bennett (#45) and was buried at sea on 21 April 1912.
NO.45 - MALE - ESTIMATED AGE 32 - HAIR LIGHT
CLOTHING - Grey overcoat marked "E.K" on the inside pocket, black suit, striped shirt and black boots.
EFFECTS - gold watch and chain, locket, pocket book with diamond and ruby tie-pin, one $2.00 bill, cigarette case, 3 pieces of 20 francs, 1 piece of 20 f. Magyar, and three 100 fr. notes in a purse, keys and lucky cent, 3s 3d in coins; Paris address "Ritz Hotel".
FIRST CLASS - NAME - EDWIN KEEPING, Valet
Among the effects found with the body was the locket given to Keeping as a gift. In it were two pictures, one of his wife and the other of his three year old daughter.
Keeping's widow and daughter received an annual sum from a trust started by Mrs Eleanor Widener. His estate, worth £247, 1s, 1d was administered to his widow Caroline on 19 October 1912. Caroline is not believed to have remarried and she and her daughter later returned to her native Sweden. She died in 1960. Their daughter Mildred was married in the 1930s to Hans Theodor Axelsson Fogelberg (1902-1989) and she raised a family. She died in Stockholm in 1990.
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)
Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic (Public Archives of Nova Scotia)
Claes-Göran Wetterholm (1988, 1996, 1999) Titanic . Prisma, Stockholm. ISBN 91 518 3644 0