Need some advice on my grandmother and the Titanic

Philip O'Neil

Nov 6, 2013

My name is Philip O'Neil. My father always told me this story that when my great grandmother was pregnant with my grandmother, she was refused entry on the Titanic as she had the measles. My great grandmother took the next boat to the USA and my grandmother was born on the 4th of July that year. I can't get my mother on the phone right now and so I don't have my great grandmother's or great grandfather's name but I will find them if it is necessary. My grandmother's name is Mary O'Neil. Is there any history that people have collected about my family. If so, where would I look?


Dec 11, 2012

If the story is true, then you won't find many answers on the Titanic. I'd look in the newspapers of the day for stories about how "I almost sailed on the Titanic".

The other lead you have is that they took the next boat to America. Find out, if you can, which ship that would be. The shipping schedules are probably still available somewhere, and you could probably make some informed guesses. Most notably, I think you'd find a preserved record at Ellis Island, which would, I think, include the name of the ship your family arrived in.

As your family didn't actually sail on the Titanic itself, there probably aren't a whole lot of stories recorded about them. Your family had the comfortable and lucky distinction of not being present at an interesting juncture of history. A lot less interesting, but also a lot safer.

Another thing you could probably check would be ticket sales of the White Star Line. Presumably, a record would have been made of all the people who held tickets but didn't make it onboard. Your great grandmother may even have been listed on the Titanic's first day sailing list, before it was amended to reflect actual passengers and last minute arrivals. I would be interested to know what cabin space had been reserved for her.

Bob Godfrey

Nov 22, 2002
There is only one New York arrival on record for a Thomasina Kingston, and it's on April 7 1912 on the Cunard liner Caronia - just before the Titanic. She was 23 years old and traveling with her husband John and sister in law Mary Anne. All three were listed as Irish, but Thomasina and John were 'non-immigrant aliens', returning to their home in Pittsburgh. John's occupation looks like 'weigh master'. His family lived at Dunmanway in County Cork. Thomasina had first traveled to the US in 1905, but this arrival in 1912 must have been the first and only time under her married name.

I know this isn't the story you're looking for, Philip, but does any of it ring a bell?

I imagine that anyone arriving from Queenstown so close to the date of the sinking of the Titanic would have the makings of a "there but for the Grace of God" story to pass down in the family. But the details often become a little confused along the way.