Listed Passengers Did They Sail or Not


debbie beavis


I'm back on the message board after several years. I am interested to know if there has been any update on research into a couple of passengers in particular - William Gillespie... I still find no proof that he sailed, and I still believe he didn't... is there any further evidence that he really did sail? And Karl Birger Brand, who was a cross Channel passenger. Any biographical details other than those I posted here a while back? Also wondering if the purchaser of ticket number 242154 has now been identified.


Debbie Beavis
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

>>I'm back on the message board after several years.<<

Good to see you back with us, Debbie. Hope you can stay around. Wish I could help you with this one but tech stuff is more my thing. However, given your talant for digging up some really good primary sources, if you can't find it, that doesn't give me a lot of hope that anybody else has had any better luck.

I just hope somebody comes along to prove me wrong and help you out.

debbie beavis

Thanks for the welcome back, Michael. Just getting back into maritime research after writing a very different book. It's kept me away from maritime research for longer than I'd have chosen, hence I am really trailing behind on the latest information. When I 'left' I seem to recall that the purchaser of the ticket number had been tentatively (?) identified.

With regards to Karl Brand, I had assumed someone would have picked up on that one - the Cherbourg passengers are, as passengers, just as valid as those who went on to suffer the horrific situation a few days later yet little seems to appear in the biographies about them... or am I just not using the search engine efficiently? Anyway, I've got a bit more about Karl Brand, and if there has been no advance from anyone else, then I have an excuse for spending a little more time on him than I really should...

As for William Gillespie... I've seen a few posts about him over the years, the last being from Senan Moloney in which he stated 'final proof that Wm Gillespie sailed' or words to that effect. I have the greatest respect and admiration for Senan Moloney's amazing research into the Irish on board, and in no way would wish this to sound critical. As an historical researcher though I have to say that a payout from the fund and the fact that William Gillespie's name appears on his parents' tombstone as having died on board, does not constitute proof that he sailed... only that someone thought he did. The record Senan cites from 1926 is very interesting. So... in 1926 someone thought he was still alive? They actually saw him! The Garda seems to have investigated, but I don't see any more proof than that they confirmed with his family that he died on board. It is only proof that his family believed he sailed, and there is still no valid proof that he did. To me, the fact that he received a substantial refund is the proof that I need to support my own belief that he did not board.

In the grand scheme of things it wouldn't really matter, but somewhere out there a mother has grieved her son, a woman her lover, and yet perhaps the real descendants of William Gillespie are happily going about their day to day lives with no idea that they have family who have no idea they even exist. It's for that reason that I just keep plugging away.

Kindest regards

Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

>>later yet little seems to appear in the biographies about them... or am I just not using the search engine efficiently?<<

Nooooo...I expect that you're doing it right. For some reason, nobody seems to pay a lot of attention to the cross channel passengers save except for Father Brown.

There are a lot of passengers and crew who made the trip all the way to the iceberg of whom amazingly little is known even after researchers have combed through just about every backwater dust covered archive and records vault they could find. Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised. The rich and the famous were notable but reletively few in number. Most of the people on that ship were obscure working janes and joes, and the ones lucky enough to survive were content to just get on with their lives.

Perhaps when the holidays are done with, one of the passenger people here can give you a hand.

Lester Mitcham

Hello Debbie,

I hope you have been keeping well.

I am not aware of any new informations with regard to William Gillespie or Marius Petersen. My last communications with Carolyn Williams indicated that she still believed that her uncle [William Gillespie] had been onboard. I have not heard anything about the book on Titanic's Danish passengers that Mette McCall and her uncle were writing. She was aware of your doubts about Marius Petersen and of the Ellis Island listing Hermann had found.

My only information on Brand is what you sent me.


Niall Archer

William Gillespie - not exactly leaving a grieving widow

Hello Debbie

I hope you are still visiting this site and interested in William Gillespie.
I completely agree that without a body and given the refund and his brother's enquiries as to his whereabouts, there isn't conclusive evidence that he died on the Titanic and reason to think he may not have sailed the final, tragic leg.

I think (still need to absolutely confirm - long story) that William Gillespie was my great-grandfather. Many, many, years ago I asked my grandmother (Gillespie's daughter?) what her earliest memory was. She said that it was her mother falling to her knees with JOY at the news that the Titanic had sunk. I thought this very odd, but she went on that her mother knew that her estranged husband (though I'm not sure of their marital status) was on board and..well, lets just say they didn't get on...and his likely death was a liberation.
According to my grandmother's account, he had been on the ship originally (or was due to board) but was asked to leave (refused entry) due to his unruly, drunken behaviour. I suppose this might be the reason he was given a refund? With all that subsequently happened, such detail was lost and it was assumed he had sailed. Some years later, so my grandmother recalled, she was even more surprised when she opened the door at her home in Dublin to find him on the doorstep!

Well, this is my tale. My grandmother wasn't one to make stories up and was totally compos mentis. Other members of my family remember similar accounts.

IF my grandmother's father was Gillespie (an independent genealogist says so but I haven't seen the evidence) and he had the troubled, erratic lifestyle she described (I'm being polite here), he may have seen the disaster as fair opportunity to slip off the radar, so to speak, or simply been of such character as not to consider correcting the error. The payment to his mother may have been genuine, in that case, or, who knows, an opportunity for free cash? Such subterfuge might account for the members of his family (mother/brother) not being consistent re. his fate. Having received the payment from the fund, in innocence or collusion, it would be in his mother's interest to declare he had been lost in the disaster. His reappearance years later might account for why Gillespie's brother, more than a decade later, thought he was still alive and working in Dublin. Without the manifest ever having been corrected all investigations as to his fate (the payment to next of kin of those presumed lost, the Garda investigating etc) would inevitably conclude that he died that fateful night.

Not according to my Granny - he didn't sail.

Hope this is of interest.



Welcome back! I hope you will be happy to be back. I'm new and I hope I will be happy to come to this forum.