Purchased tickets but never boarded

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Kathye Shuman

I am trying to solve a family mystery. According to my grandmother's memoirs, her father, John Anderson, had purchased tickets for the Titanic for his family, but, because of his father's death, did not take the trip. However, when the family returned to San Francisco several months later most people were startled to see them because it had been reported that they had been lost on the Titanic.
Is there any record of "missed the boat" passengers? Or perhaps a very early "unverified" passenger list? I'm not sure where the friends in San Francisco got their report--but I assume that it was from a newspaper of some sort.

None of the web sites I have visited have any listings of this Anderson family. I know that my grandmother would not have included the story in her book if she hadn't heard it from her father and sisters (my grandmother was only an infant--but her sisters were in their teens at the time of the disaster.

I'd love to be able to really document this event. Any suggestions?

Kathye, the only passenger lists which have survived are those that were collated immediately after the disaster and were retained for use in the two public inquiries. In these documents, all known cancellations would (or should) have been taken account of. If things happened as the family tradition suggests, it is perhaps most likely that the Andersons' friends in San Francisco (had they known that the family intended to travel on the Titanic) jumped to their conclusion when they did not find the family named in the published lists of survivors, rather than from seeing them listed among the casualties. If this story was picked up by the papers it would most likely be those local to their home, so the archives of any local paper which was in existence in 1912 would be a good place to look.

charmaine louise morris

i was looking for the same thing as kathye my great grandmothers friend mrs thornhill bought a ticket to sail boarded all her belongs on the titanic but missed the titanic and saw her sail away i cant find anything oh her could you please help.
Charmaine..do you have any information about Mrs. Thornhill other than her surname...like birth place for example...the more you have, the easier it will be to pinpoint where she ended up...it might be a good idea to search other forms/documention other than ticket sales...census records for example are excellent.
Kathye...John Anderson is a very common name...in order to find any genealogical records on him (where he lived, what he did, etc.) you need to get as much information about him as possible...do you know where he was born, when he was born, etc....depending on when he died, he may have filed for Social Security when it became available. If he did, you can get a copy of his application which will give you more info on him. As you can see, I am into genealogy and have been doing this for years. I've traced my own family back many generations.

Are are all sorts of records to search. If John missed his ride on the Titanic, then he obviously took another ship to get to SF. Try researching the ships that arrived in SF. Look at their passenger lists. Ship arrivals using appeared in the port-city newspapers in the 19th and early 20th century and they usually were under a feature called "Harbor News", "Marine Intelligence" or "Port Items". (I found my g-grandmother's ship in one of these). Sometimes the item included what happened on the ship (Like any deaths, the weather, etc.)

John could have come in at any one of the five major ports at the time (Boston, NY, Philadelphia, New Orleans or Baltimore) and made his way to SF. Or he could have arrived by ship in SF (but SF was a minor port back then).

Just a place to start.

Hazel (Dolly) Wilson

That is a great idea about searching other ports. How do you find out just how to go about that?
Hazel...assuming you are trying to locate info on your ancestor including and past the Titanic...

Well, the down side to doing this is that you really need to know the date of arrival and/or the ship name. The reason being is that ships were arriving every day all day.

I was lucky enough to have an old letter from a great aunt who knew the name of the ship that her parents arrived on and the date.

Anyway, it doesn't hurt to give it a try. You might have an okay chance if your ancestor arrived in a minor port.

One place you could start is a library in the city of arrival. I started by going to www.libraryspot.com. Click on "public libraries" in the yellow column to the left. Click on "public libraries" again in the center of the page. Then look for the state and then city. It will give you the library for that area and an address. Write them explaining what you are seeking and be sure to offer to pay for copying costs. It isn't expensive. The library I wrote to sent me a digitalized copy of the arrival announcement. Many papers were microfilmed and then destroyed.

Some other places that may help in your search:
www.neh.gov/projects/usnp.html (for accessing old newspapers in the US).
www.archives.gov/research_room/genealogy/immigrant_arrivals/passenger_records.html (for descriptions of available passenger arrival records)

Another place to look which will offer a wealth of info are census records. You will have to be a subscribing member of ancestry.com to get to them or you can go to your local FHC (Family History Center) located in a Mormon church in your area and they will send for a microfilmed copy of the census record from Salt Lake. That cost is about $3.25 for a 30-60 loan. There are experienced genealogists there who can help with the search. (who are you looking for? I can look at the census records for you as I am a member of ancestory.com...but I would need the name, city and state of where he lived...I'll get the county on my own).

Census records were taken every ten years. But the records of 1910 to 1930 are the best as they have the dates of arrivals (and sometimes naturalization dates--which usually occurred about 5 years after an arrival) of immigrants. Getting the date of arrival (if they told the truth to the census taker) will at least narrow down your search for port newspaper info. Census records for later years also give the names of the entire family, their relationship to the head of household, if there are any boarders, the address, occupations, any schooling, where parents were born, languages spoken, any identifying marks, how much money they arrived with, who they left behind, etc.

Also, try www.cyndislist.com. She has been operating an excellent genealogical site for some time. You can find all kinds of information there...and things on ship arrivals too.

As I also mentioned before, see if he applied for Social Security when he came to the US. Go to www.rootsweb.com and scroll down to Social Security Death Index (SSDI) on the left side. Click it and type in your guys name. You may see several or many people with the same name so you will have to determine which is yours. The bad part is that getting a copy costs $25. It used to be $7 but I guess they caught onto how many people were into genealogy and that they could make a few bucks.

I hope this helps. It's kind of a condensed form of places to search.

Hazel (Dolly) Wilson

Deborah, what a wealth of information you are! I am so grateful to you for taking the time to send it, and I will definitely try to make good use of it very soon, but unfortunately I'm under the weather my allergies today and have been so dizzy and nauseated that I'm just barely up for the first time today.

I am trying to find out more information on my grandparents, and although I know they didn't come over on the Titanic, they almost did. My father always told me how his parents (from England) almost came on the Titanic, but decided to come a bit later. All I know is that they came over just before my father was born and that was June 1913. My dad is no longer living and I recently lost my Mom. I can't ask questions of anyone anymore and Dad's parents had died when I was only 5 years old.

My grandfather's name was James Arthur Hodgson (and so was my Dad's) and they had three sons including my father.......Ernest, and Fred, who were both born in England and also came over as youngsters when my grandparents came over. There was a big gap in age between my Dad and the other two...My uncle Ernie is buried here in the family plot, but my Uncle Fred was buried elsewhere near Toronto, Canada, where his first wife was buried. I do know I can get the years of birth for them, and also my grandparents..but I'm not sure where to begin.

My grandfather was married to Ann Sumbler. I know that they brought over other relatives also, but not sure just when. My grandmother's parents, James and Ann Sumbler are buried here also and I do know that they listed sisters and brothers of my grandmothers all living in neighbouring (sort of) places...over here. I think it was a mass immigration!

Alot of photos and any information my father had was lost in a fire he had in his home, so I'm lost without too much to go on. I do know they were related to Van Tresse's (have to look up the correct spelling..) as that was in the obituaries that I"ve gotten from the library.

I would just love to know more about where they came from and how they lived and what there reason was for coming here. Just natural curiosity, I guess, but I seem to be more and more obsessed with this as I've gotten older. My dad was always fascinated with anything to do with the Titanic, right up until his death in 1999, as I have shared this interest also. I even took the movie (Jame's Cameron's) to the nursing home, along with my VCR to show it to him. I have tried to find out info on my dad's parents and just where they came from in England, but I'm not very good at it. I went to the one site for the Ellis Island, and assumed that would have been the only place that their ship could have come in, but I see by other e-mails at this site that that isn't correct.

I did a search under my grandparent's names and other relatives but couldn't find anything out as to their arrival. I have no info on the name of the ship or the date they arrived. I also can't tell you exactly where in England they were from, but it seems to me that my daughter had tried to find out something and that she had thought they'd come from Yorkshire.

Thank you for your offer of help, but I couldn't possibly expect you to try to help me on only my grandparents' names...it would be such a huge effort. I do hope someday to obtain some information, but I'm not sure I am good enough to do the searches and my health is not too good at the moment.

I am so grateful to you for your very kind offer and all the information in your e-mail. I will try very hard to look into this as soon as I can.

Sincerely, Hazel Wilson
Hazel...was your father James Arthur Hodgson, Jr.? While there are about (if I remember correctly) 61 James Hodgsons listed with the SSDI...none died in 1999. What is the death date? Who went to Canada? Did your dad stay in the US? Where? You would be surprised how fast it is to trace some information.

Hazel (Dolly) Wilson

Hi Deborah,

Yes, my dad was James Arthur Hodgson Jr. He was named exactly after his father, who was the one who came over from England. All I know is that my Dad always told me that they just barely got over here and he was born. My father was born in Virgil Ontario Canada on June 18 1913 and died on February 4 1999 in Niagara Falls, Ontario (where I live.)

His father's year of birth was 1874 and his wife (Ann Sumbler) 1875...got it off the gravestone this afternoon...should have remembered it though. As far as my grandfather staying in the States...no...all I know is that my Dad always told me that they first located in Virgil Ontario working a farm for the people who owned it...that would have been 1913. Later, when Dad was around 12 or so, they moved here, to Niagara Falls, Ontario and first rented a home on McLeod Road, and then purchased a farm on Montrose Road in Stamford Township (as it was known then.)

I know that they lived there till late in their lives when they moved to Mississauga or Toronto to stay with my Dad's brother Fred because they were very ill and I think my Mom said that my grandfather was in a Hamilton hospital with cancer. When I mentioned this to my Dad (very late in his life) he denied that my grandfather had cancer...so I'm lost. I know that my grandmother died up there, and possibly my grandfather also, but both were brought down here and buried from the family home on Montrose Road...found this out from newspaper clippings and my Mom.

I hope there's someway that I can find out more about them before my time comes. I am so very interested in their lives and wish I'd had more of a chance to talk with them....but being 5 years old, I can barely remember them. I suppose they had gone to live with my Uncle shortly after selling their farm on Montrose Road.

I guess I don't know enough about how to search these things out, because I'm not sure what the SSDI is that you mentioned.

I do have more information on the great grandparents but don't know if it would help...just from the research from the library. It mentioned in the obituaries for my great grandmother, Ann Sumbler's mom....Mary, that she'd only been here 18 years, and so since she died in 1931, that means they most likely all came over together in 1913. Just noticed the obituary for my grandmother said that she died in Long Branch at her son's (Fred's) where she'd lived for two years.

It states that she was the daughter of the late James and Mary Ventress Sumbler. In May of 1895 she married James Arthru Hodgson and came to Canada 36 years previous to her death in 1949....may be the 4th of January..but the paper is dated Jan. 4th 1949 and it says she died that morning. I'm not sure how quickly they got things in the paper in those days, since this is the Niagara Falls Evening Review that I'm looking at and she died in Long Branch. It says they celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary on May 5th the previous year...I suppose this could be of some help if I knew more about the searching.

I haven't been able to locate my grandfather's obituary yet. I was told that they died 6 months apart, and I"ve searched and searched the local paper up to 8 months of that date...nothing yet.

Deborah, thanks so much for taking such an interest in this, and I know that I'll be trying to use the resources as much as I can as soon as I can....money is a problem and also my health, but I'm sure going to give it a try as soon as I get back on my feet.

Thanks so much, Hazel Wilson
Hazel..if you want, why don't you use my e-mail about the genealogy...it might be better to do that than use up space talking about things that aren't somewhat Titanic related...just click on my name for my profile....I have to think about the Canada research a bit...I have a great-grandmother who came from halifax and I am working on her...there is a message board you can join for Canada (broken down into townships)research...it's like the TE one where you get all the messages posted to it and you may run into someone who links with you.

Hazel (Dolly) Wilson

I do apologize to the forum members.....I should have realized this was not related to the topic. Thanks, Deborah.
I did get the message Hazel...I just thought it was better to talk genealogy privately so no one has to wade through posts that aren't Titanic related...so I going to send you my e-mail to make it easier.
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