Joseph (Yūsuf) Family


I have questions regarding information on the Joseph Family, 3rd class mother, brother, and sister traveling under the surname "Peter" aboard the Titanic. I only have what information is given so far on this website under their passenger bios (birth & death date for Mary/Anna and Michael, death date for Catherine, burial place for Catherine and Mary/Anna).

Just taking a stab in the dark to see if anyone else has any more information than listed as I progress in research on my end. I've searched what resources I can online: no results on any possible aliases in the U.S. Census records, no online Catholic church records (I'm guessing they were Catholic because Catherine and Mary/Anna were buried in Mt. Olivet) for Wayne County, Michigan, etc. I think my next step is going to the State of Michigan Archives or Department of Health and getting vital records there. Kinda cost prohibitive for a college student. Any ideas on resources I might try, this side of spending my break between semesters in Lansing?

Please advise.
 
Hello Robert,

There are two and a half pages on the family in Judith Geller's" Titanic Women and Children First.
Michael went to a Catholic grammar school.
 
Robert - Hi and welcome.
For some technical reason I cannot access the biographies of the three people you are interested in so some of the below may be duplicated anyway here are my entries for them:

JOSEPH, MRS. CATHERINE. Saved in Lifeboat D. Aged 24 years. Returning to husband in America after visiting relatives in Syria.
Died in 1915 and is buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan. in Section 44, tier 10, lot 529.

JOSEPH, MICHAEL PETER JOSEPH. Saved in Lifeboat D. Syrian. Son of above. Aged four years. Died 18th May 1991, Warren, Michigan.
Joseph, Miss Catherine. Daughter of above. Aged 1 year.
(From the Emergency and Relief Booklet by the American Red Cross, 1913).
No. 225. (Syrian). Mother 24 years of age, and two young children returning from a visit to relatives, to join father and husband in Michigan, suffered severely from shock and exposure, and lost baggage valued at $100 and $40 in cash. received Hospital care, clothing and $100 from other American relief funds. ($100).

The Obituary for Michael J. Joseph reads:
Michael J. Joseph, 84 years old, passed away at the Bi-County Hospital of heart failure, Saturday may 18, 1991 in Warren, Michigan.
Mr. Joseph was only four years old when he, along with his 24 year old mother Catherine, and one year old sister Mary, ended their visit to Syria and boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg in order to rejoin Mr. Joseph's father in the United States.
Both mother and children were asleep at the time of the Titanic's collision with the iceberg. Catherine was awakened by the impact, and shortly thereafter stewards circulated among the Third Class passengers ordering them to get out of bed, at the same time insisting that nothing was seriously wrong with the ship. Mrs. Joseph got her children dressed and, picking up little Mary, told Michael to hang on to her skirt tails as she started for the upper decks. The little boy did his best, but in the confusion somehow lost his grip and became separated from his mother. At this point a man whom Mr. Joseph later described as his 'Guardian angel', grabbed his hand and hurried the little boy through the crowds towards the upper decks. Catherine Joseph apparently saw her son vanish in the throng ahead of her, and she rushed along as best as she could with her infant daughter; by the time she reached the lifeboats, however, Michael was nowhere to be seen. Mrs. Joseph and Mary got into a lifeboat containing four men rowers and about twenty women and children. The boat reached the water safely and was rowed away before the ship sank, and Catherine and the little Mary spent the rest of the night crying - Mary for herself and Catherine for her son Michael, whom she thought had gone down with the ship. When Mrs. Joseph and her daughter were taken on board the Carpathia however, Michael was already there waiting for them - he had left the Titanic in another lifeboat and made the trip to the rescue ship all by himself.
Mary and Michael both contracted measles while on the Carpathia, but this brief bout with illness left no lasting effect on either of the children. When the nuns of St Peter and Paul School in Detroit which Michael later attended learned of his experience on the Titanic they bestowed the nickname 'TY' on him , considering him a 'miricle child', and the nickname stuck all his life.

(From the Detroit News, May, 1991)
Michael Joseph is survived by his wife, Catherine, a daughter, Liela Dunlap and three sons, Peter, Tony, and Louis.
Mr. Joseph was a beer and soft drink driver in Detroit, retiring 24 years ago from Vernor's, but he never ceased telling how he escaped from the sea. He also leaves nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Has a pictorial headstone in the Ressurrection Cemetery, Clinton. Michigan.

JOSEPH MRS., GEORGES. Saved. Syria. She was listed as Mrs. Georges Chanini or as Chanini Georges. Apparently she was going to her family in Ohio. Her correct name is Chanini Joseph. She was saved but her name was confused with that of Mr. Ibrahim Youssef Shawah.

Cheers Brian
 
Thank you Lester and Brian for your prompt responses into my inquiry, particularly Brian for filling in some of the holes.

In progressing in some of the research, I have found a discrepancy in the spelling of the name of the Lebanese or Syrian hometown of the family. This website gives the home name as "Seraal" and "Scraal." The Carpathia passenger manifest gives the home name of Catherine's mother, Sada Thomas (if that name is meant to connect with hers), as first "Saral" and then "Sarol." Phonetically, Saral, Sarol, and Seraal sound the same, so I am inclined to omit the fourth spelling. I've done some minor searching geographically for any city like this. No luck yet. Just a stab in the dark--does anyone have any clarification on location or correct spelling? I have yet to check the university map collection.

Also, does anyone know anything more about the little boy born to Catherine and Peter in 1913? It died soon after birth: did they name it? Is anyone in proximity to Mt. Olivet Cemetary to check headstones?

Does anyone have more specific information (death dates, death location, burial, etc.) the father, Peter? I've tried to search what State of Michigan records I have access to here at the university for more information on Peter and the baby boy; no luck yet. They don't even seem to show up on any of the censuses.

No information is expected, but any information is welcome.
 
Okay so, on Titanic Mary is 1, her brother Michael is 4. That was 1912. Mary is burned to death at her home while Michael and the parents were on the way to church. It says Mary is 4, Michael is 8. That was 1914. See the issue? Someone had posted the newspaper article about it a while back, and i just thought that the ages are wrong either then or on Titanic.
Also the children were born in Assyria, which, surprise, (or maybe just to me) is now modern-day Iraq.

[Moderators' Note: This message, originally in a separate thread, has been moved to this pre-existing one addressing the same passengers. MAB]
 
I realize the thread above is years old but let me correct what has been said.
The family is Syrian NOT Assyrian
The passenger's name transliterated from the Arabic is Katrinah and she is from Sar'al which was in Syria in 1912. Again, please understand that there never existed the country of 'Lebanon' until the Greater Powers of colonization and mandates divided Greater Syria up into the countries we have today. They were not Assyrian. The family was Syrian from Syria as were all the other towns that are in today's modern day 'Lebanon' were all in Syria.
They were not 'Lebanese' immigrants - rather Syrian. There existed no Lebanon, ergo no 'Lebanese' at the time.

When I interviewed the family members, they told me that the young girl Nabīhah was born in Syria. I have an entry for the family in my book explaining more but since I do not have access at the moment to my book and notes - I offer what I can at the moment.
 
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Esther Lang

Member
I realize the thread above is years old but let me correct what has been said.
The family is Syrian NOT Assyrian
The passenger's name transliterated from the Arabic is Katrinah and she is from Sar'al which was in Syria in 1912. Again, please understand that there never existed the country of 'Lebanon' until the Greater Powers of colonization and mandates divided Greater Syria up into the countries we have today. They were not Assyrian. The family was Syrian from Syria as were all the other towns that are in today's modern day 'Lebanon' were all in Syria.
They were not 'Lebanese' immigrants - rather Syrian. There existed no Lebanon, ergo no 'Lebanese' at the time.

When I interviewed the family members, they told me that the young girl Nabīhah was born in Syria. I have an entry for the family in my book explaining more but since I do not have access at the moment to my book and notes - I offer what I can at the moment.

Hello. This is very interesting. Thank you for sharing, and for writing the article, "Alien Passengers: Syrians Aboard the Titanic." It sounds like you have studied this aspect of the Titanic story extensively. I was just curious to learn more about the term "Assyria," which is used to describe where many of the passengers were from. Was that term frequently used for the region that is now Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq? Do you think that this particular passenger was also a Syrian, rather than an Assyrian? Titanic 1912-2012: A Mississippi Connection – A Sense of Place

I am partly Assyrian (part of the Christian minority group from the Middle East), so have been curious to see if there were actually any Assyrians aboard the Titanic. Thank you for any insight you may have!
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Again, please understand that there never existed the country of 'Lebanon' until the Greater Powers of colonization and mandates divided Greater Syria up into the countries we have today.

They were not 'Lebanese' immigrants - rather Syrian. There existed no Lebanon, ergo no 'Lebanese' at the time.
That is untrue. While in 1912 there might bot have been no properly recognized border between Syria and Lebanon, there has existed a very strong Lebanese culture for centuries. It would be out of place to go into Lebanese history in these forums but Youssef Bey Karam, a Lebanese patriot who died in 1889, would have taken a very strong exception with the other post.

I cannot say how the Lebanese passengers on board the Titanic felt about their nationality but the few Lebanese people I have met in the UK very strongly object to being classified as Syrians, both individually and historically. Claiming that there were no Lebanese in 1912 is like saying that there were no Poles in the areas occupied by Russia or Germany during the late 19th and first half of 20th centuries or that there are no Palestinians today.
 
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