Passenger nationalities

The version I have from Norwegian contacts is that Dahl regarded himself as Australian. Hence the name change from Karl Edwart to Charles Edward. He spent much of his life here but I'm doubtful about some of the material on this site. In particular, I've found no trace of him in Adelaide, where I live. Although there are certain dates that don't match up, I'm wondering whether he was the Charles Dahl who lived for a time in Adelaide Street, Brisbane, but I lack the resources to research material that's only available in Queensland.
I have asked this question before but, for some reason, the question has not appeared. Quite simply, how can the Irish passengers be distinguished from their English, Scottish, Welsh, Manx and Channel Island counterparts when, in 1912, they shared a common nationality?

Inger Sheil

A common citizenship in the British empire, at least - and had since the Act of Union was implemented in 1801. The Irish nation was an entity within the association of nations known collectively as "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland".

Definitions of 'nationality' often have a nebulous quality to them - Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, for example, apparently did not regard himself as Irish. When it was pointed out he was born in Dublin, he is reputed to have responded along the lines that "everything born in a stable is not a horse". On the other hand, many people of Irish parentage born in other nations would identify themselves as "Irish". There's ethnic/cultural groupings to consider as well as geo-political definitions.

Ireland in 1912 had its own administrative infrastructure (although elected representatives still travelled to Westminster, and the ultimate authority was the administrative hub of the Empire). It conducted its own census - discreet from the British census - so this is one source for identifying who is "Irish". Crew agreements and passenger lists can also help identify the Irish-born. Whether their self-identification is as Irish, English or other is a more complex matter.
The idea that Ireland conducted its own census is surely incorrect - they were held at the same time throughout the British Isles. To have done otherwise would have compromised the whole exercise because people would have been counted twice.

Inger Sheil

I don't mean to imply that the Irish Census was not part of the same process - it was conducted in the same year (e.g. 1901, 1911 etc), and part of an overall Census within the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland. When I say 'conducted its own', I mean that Ireland was an entity within that and had its own forms and Census taking apparatus. It broke down into these areas:

1.) England and Wales
2.) Scotland
3.) Ireland

Census forms for Ireland are headed, for example, "Census of Ireland 1901" or "Census of Ireland 1911":

Slightly different information was also sought in these different countries - usually in the Scots census, but, for example, in Ireland in 1901 respondants were also asked questions about literacy, religious denomination and ability to speak or write Irish.

Many of the Irish census records have been unfortunately destroyed, although 1901 and 1911 are still intact. 1911 is available to consult - Senan Molony told me he had an amusing experience when writing The Irish Aboard Titanic, for which he consulted the 1911 Irish Census extensively. He was apparently reported to the police, as one of his readers assumed that because the England and Wales Census is closed for 100 years that the same was true of the 1911 Irish census. This reader deduced that Senan had used some skullduggery to gain access to the 1911 records, and had published them illegally!

(Usually records are not made available for 100 years - an exception was made for the 1911 Irish Census, as so many earlier records were destroyed).
Although I not entirely comfortable with the idea of quantifying the Irish by "nationality" in 1912, I think that the more subjective concept of "ethnicity" would produce some interesting results - the scale of the Irish diaspora having been so great during the 19th century. In 1841, for example, it is thought that there were 400,000 Irish-born people in Britain, while from 1846 onwards that figure must have been trebled ( as described by C.Woodham-Smith in The Great Hunger).

I have suggested in another thread that if the Liverpool firemen were examined in detail, there would be many more "Irishmen" aboard the Titanic, although you may recall that Bob Godffrey suggested that only about 10 per cent of them were Irish. (By the way, I have found a website that lists Prime Minister Tony Blair as an "Irish Anglican" because his mother apparently came from Ballyshannon in County Donegal!)

Inger Sheil

I agree that concepts of "nationality" can be problematic, especially considering Ireland's particular position in 1912 (I'm hearing the strains of "A Nation Once Again" hanging hauntingly in the air!). That's why I referred to the 'nebulous' elements at play in these definitions. I'd personally say it was a nation, but perhaps not in a narrow geo-political sense - it had yet to regain independence, and was part of a wider group of associated countries/regions with ultimate authority residing in Westminster. Objectively, it was not a nation-state. However, a large portion of the population shared a common language, religion, ideology, culture, and history, and were associated with a specific territory.

Ethnicity/cultural affiliation presents its own problems as a basis for definition as well. We can't look to genetics as the sole answer, as the Gaelic people did not spontaneously spring to existence in Ireland, but (like those of most nations) migrated from elsewhere. There are later additions such as the Normans, many of whom - after an initial period of resisting integration - became thoroughly Irish, intermarried and adopted local customs. Families like the famous Fitzgeralds belong to this group.

I suppose self-identification comes into it heavily. Some people who settled in Ireland or had ancestors of comparatively recent date might regard themselves as "Irish", irrespective of genetic inheritance. Others who settled elsewhere or who had ancestors who had left Ireland might identify culturally with the land that they lived in rather than that of their ancestors. The Irish have a strongly developed cultural identity, in part due to an emphasis on oral history, so that has contributed to a sense of "Irishness" in some families that exists outside the geographic sphere of Ireland itself.

It might be possible to identify whether many of those firemen had Irish ancestry (that's one for the genealogists to sink their teeth into!), but how many actually identified themselves as "Irish" would be difficult short of interviewing the men themselves.
Alot of Finns, were actually fully Swedish with no Finnish in them. They are counted ad Finns, because their families left Sweden and settled in Finland, thus making their children, Finnish born Swedes, and at the time Finland was under Swedish rule. We gained independence, five years later.
An easy way to tell (maybe it is easier for me because i'm Finnish) is the difference between names and naming systems. I think about half the "Finns' were really Swedes, born in Finland.
I know that I have already raised this question, but I have been looking again at the section on this site which attempts to distinguish between the “nationalities” of the Titanic’s passengers and crew. In particular, I see that England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are listed separately, and that there is also a section entitled “Great Britain”. The English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh passengers and crew members should presumably appear in the British section but, when I tried a few test cases, this did not appear to be the case — in fact, there are only 13 people in the entire British section.

Turning to some specific examples, there were three people called Davies from Belfast in the “English” list, but they did not appear in the Irish section or the Northern Irish section. (Davies, as a matter of interest, is a Welsh name). Elsewhere, people born in Scotland turn up in the Irish sections, etc. It appears to me that somebody has done a lot of very detailed and useful work on the people who boarded the ship at Queenstown, but this has tended to distort the picture for the rest of the United Kingdom. It would still be useful to see a new analysis based upon nationality instead of putative ethnicity — the latter being something which cannot easily be determined in the case of the United Kingdom.
I have just realised that the travellers from "Great Britain" were from the Channel Islands, while most (but not all - see William Kelly) of those from "Ireland" were from what subsequently became Southern Ireland. That being the case, should the Channel Islands and Southern Ireland not be included in the section on "nationalities?"

Miguel Eyheramendy

Former Member
Hi everybody, first all I want to say I'm Spanish and I speak Spanish, I'm 59 and it's really hard to speak English hehe (I hope you understand me), I love this Encyclopedia and all about Titanic but unfortunately I don't speak English very well.

Well, after that, my question is: I'm working here in my country at a Museum and I work all about Titanic.

We made the passengers list but we want to know their nationalities (stewards, etc). I know they were a lot of people but if you know where can I find that.

We also know they were mostly British, Irish and Americans but were there other nationalities? THANK YOU REALLY A LOT and I LOVE THIS ENCYCLOPEDIA.

Miguel Eyheramendy - Spain.

[Moderator's Note: This message, originally a separate thread in the "Passenger Research" topic, has been moved to this pre-existing thread in this subtopic addressing the same subject. MAB]