Hannah O'Brien

Gavin Bell

Dec 12, 1999
Dear Anybody
For some time now I have been working on what became of Hannah O'Brien -- I have not yet come up with her final whereabouts but I have uncovered this, which may or may not be correct. Anybody who wishes to make comments on this, add to or make corrections please do!

Hannah O'Brien from Kyle, Co Limerick, Ireland, and her husband Thomas, from Pallasgreen, Co limerick, met on train journey.

A few months later the couple eloped and were married in Limerick by a priest related to Hannah and subsequently travelled to Queenstown to board the Titanic.

Obviously, Thomas was lost in the disaster but Hannah was saved, unknowing that she was pregnant at the time.

Hannah made it to America where she had two sisters who were nuns and they took care of her. Hannah later gave birth to a baby girl and called her Moira.

Mrs O'Brien never returned to Ireland and settled in New York where she was remarried to a man named Hanlon (?).

There was a fiasco regarding compensation: Thomas O'Brien's mother denied that Hannah was in any way related to her son and subsequently benefitted.

Anyone who can verify this, make corrections, additions, or reject it completely please let me know.

Best wishes

Cameron Bell

Mike Herbold

Feb 13, 2001

I was comparing your bio to the article that Robert Bracken and Michael Findlay published in Voyage 27 (Winter 1998) and noticed a few things they had that you don't.
They show her maiden name as Godfrey.
They say they were originally going to Chicago where Thomas had several sisters.
They say there are two versions of how she escaped -- 1) Thomas managed to get her into lifeboat 16 with many other Irish women, and 2) she and Thomas got seperated below deck and she joined a group of women and they found their way to the lifeboat.
They say that she stayed with her relatives in Brooklyn, New York, where she gave birth to a daughter named Marion on November 21, 1912.
They mention that much later on in life she moved in with Marion, who was living in Connecticut.

Hope this helps.

Mike Herbold

Phillip Gowan

Apr 10, 2001
I don't want to scoop the "Irish book" by Senan Molony which is about to be published in Ireland--(it will have lost of details about Hannah and her daughter Marian)--however, I did want to say that the information you have on her later life is not correct. She did not marry a Hanlon and she did not go to live with her daughter Marian in later life in Connecticut. In fact, Marian does not appear ever to have lived in Connecticut at all. Also, the birthdate given for Marian is not correct. I've been in touch with Marian's living descendants, have death certificates, social security records, obituaries, and cemetery records for the family members--and an absolutely fantastic photo of Hannah and Marian will appear in Senan's book.

Sorry to be vague--but all the info will be forthcoming shortly.
Apr 16, 2001
Dear Phil (and Mike and Cameron),

Thanks for attempting to correct the wrong information about Hannah O'Brien. Speaking on behalf of my fellow researcher and co-author, Robert Bracken, the information regarding Hannah O'Brien's later life, which we wrote about in our article on the O'Briens for our society's journal, "Voyage", came directly from relatives in Ireland. If the data is wrong, the family in Ireland must be misinformed - which is, of course, very possible. So often, through our years of research on the Titanic's people, we have relied on material given by families of those who were aboard to be gospel. Through later research, we discover that much of what we were originally told was incorrect. Families have added to their family history or have perpetuated rumors. We have tried to be as accurate as possible regarding our research on the passengers and crew but cannot vouch for the accuracy of everything. In many cases, we have laid the groundwork for others to investigate, which later results in new revelations about Titanic's people. Unfortunately, Hannah O'Brien is one of only five Irish survivors that Bob and I haven't been able to track down.

We do look forward to seeing Senan's book, Phil, but we wish to thank you for sharing your detective work with him. Your dedication to tracking down the survivors is commendable and very much appreciated. We have all learned so much more about these men and women through your kindness and by your willingness to share.

Best regards to all,

Michael Findlay

Gavin Bell

Dec 12, 1999
Dear Michael, Phillip and Mike

Thanks for all your help. I am looking forward to Senan's book. Is it due for publication in March in Belfast?

Best wishes


Senan Molony

Jan 30, 2004
Senan Molony here. That book is due out in April. I will say that I found Hannah O'Brien and a wonderful photograph myself and passed details to Phil Gowan, who indeed has been most generous with his research with me in turn. The way Mike Findlay writes, it sounds as if I am nothing but a hapless sponge... It is a very nice picture, and there are some nice pix in there, including a nice new one of Purser McElroy and the first clear one of Patrick O'Keefe. Just more grist to the mill.

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