James Marks was born in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland on 9 October 1884.
He was the son of Irish parents, Robert John Marks (b. 1860) and Mary Jane Ferguson (b. 1865), natives of counties Londonderry and Tyrone, respectively, and he had six known siblings: Sarah (b. 1886), Matilda (b. 1889), Robert (b. 1891), Mary Jane (b. 1895), Isaac (b. 1897) and William (b. 1899).
The family appear on the 1891 census living at East Park Street in Cambuslang, Glasgow and James' father was described as a steel worker. The family later moved to Munro Place, Mill Road, Cambusnethan, Wishaw, Glasgow and show up at that address on the 1901 census. James was described as an iron worker and his father as a travelling sewing machinist.
James reportedly joined the Royal Navy which took him to the south of England where, in the first half of 1908, he was married in Portsmouth to Minnie Renyard (b. 17 February 1885 in Portsmouth) and the couple had one child, a son named Ronald James, towards the end of the year on 19 October. James is absent from the 1911 census but his wife and child are listed as living at 14 Landport Street, Landport, Portsmouth, the home of Minnie's father William George Renyard. James and Minnie were reportedly estranged from each other by the time of the Titanic disaster; current-day family attest that the marriage between James and Minnie was a shotgun wedding and once James was let go from the Navy in around 1910 he abandoned his wife and child and there was little to no contact between them.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, James gave his address as 93 Livingstone Road, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Avon and as an assistant pantry steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
James Marks died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. His parents later benefitted from the Titanic Relief Fund as Class G dependents. They continued to live in Lanarkshire; his father died in 1918 and his mother in 1934.
His widow Minnie was later remarried in 1921, becoming Mrs William Butler and she had a son named Anthony John (1922-1995) the following year. She died in Gosport, Hampshire in 1971.
James' son Ronald later joined the RAF, working in communications and spent much of the time between the two Wars in Palestine. The outbreak of the Second World War saw him serving in Malta during the period that the island was blockaded by German forces. He later returned to the UK and was reportedly involved in the D-Day Landings in 1944. During peacetime he returned to England and was married in 1947 to Sheila Catherine Laura Irvine (1919-2006), a native of Oxfordshire, and the couple had two children. Ronald retired from the RAF in 1963, having risen to the rank of Wing Commander, and he then joined the Allied Radio Frequency Agency, part of NATO, in a civilian capacity. He died in Brussels, Belgium in 1972.
References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Gavin Bell, UK
Graham Marks (Grandson of James Marks)