Let's look at what we actually
know about the Titanic
survivor and go from there. She appears to not be in the passenger list, like several other servants, but she is in the immigration list of passengers leaving the Carpathia
. This gives her name (we have to assume it is genuine but some passengers used aliases), states she is 33 years old, born in London, single, is Maid to Mrs Allison, gives a physical description, and a home country contact of Miss (or Mrs) Green, Harborne, Birmingham. It says it is her first trip to the USA, this leaves open the question of whether she had ever been to the Allison's home country of Canada. There is nothing here to say how long she had been in the Allisons' employ. We know from her own testimony (in a letter to Walter Lord) that Alice Cleaver
was taken on at the last minute, but we have no firm information on Sarah Daniels' career.
What else do we have?
The transcripts of the Senate Hearings
lists her as Sarah Daniels with the last address and destination as the Allisons i.e. 152 Abbey Road, West Hampstead, N. W. and Montreal, Quebec. She is also listed as Sarah Daniels in the Senate survivors list
The limitation of liability hearings
transcript also list her in the baggage claims section but there is no other info, not even a sum for the claim.
I'm not sure if there are any other official documents that mention Sarah Daniels the Titanic
survivor? Mildred Brown
mentions Sarah (but calls her Sallie) in a letter home:
I found Sallie had got on alright but poor girl she keeps worrying about her things, of course we have lost everything bar what we stand up in.
Everything else is from newspaper articles and books. I think a lot of these need to be unpicked as to the events on the Titanic
after the collision and the actions of the different members of the Allison party as there is much that is contradictory and as so often the case it can be hard to tell what is direct testimony what are educated guesses by historians or journalists and what are complete fabrications. However we are just looking at the question of Sarah's identity and what other possible leads there might be.
There were a few syndicated articles that quoted Sarah Daniels.
The Chicago Tribune 20 April
contains an article about Mrs Allison that mentions Sarah albeit in this case she is named Sadie and Trevor Hudson is called Wilbur! It doesn't really give us many clues though as to Sarah's identity. It talks about the account having been telephoned by the niece of a Mrs Adam Gross of Milwaukee. Although this implies Sarah's aunt it is more likely an aunt of Bess Allison who came from Milwaukee. But it would be worth checking out anyway to ascertain who that was. I have not (yet) manageed to find an aunt of Bess Alison who was married to an Adam Gross but there may be records to show it, or it may of course be another naming error (of which there are many in this article).
Sarah is directly quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press (24 April 1912), in which she describes being in a boat that was not particulalry full and had only four men (she does not say if they were passengers or crew) and no officer.
Another faint lead might be in the person of Miss Green, the person Sarah sent a postcard to from Queenstown. When this postcard was auctioned in 2018 the vendor revealed that Miss Green was his great-aunt, Ellen Louisa Green, who lived at 4 Somerville Terrace, Harborne Park Road, Harborne, Birmingham. This was her parents' home. In fact when she died in 1963 she was still living there (according to the probate record).
The vendor mentioned some other postcards that Sarah had written to Ellen from 1906 onwards and that they were sometimes signed "Fisdig" and sometimes just "S". Perhaps these other postcards might contain further clues... and perhaps someone will oneday decode "Fisdig"!
What else do we have to go on? Not very much. It has been suggested that Sarah was one Sarah Rebecca Daniels who was born at 18 East Street in Marylebone, London, England on 10 November 1875. The age isn't too far off and she was a Sarah Daniels born in London who was later a maid, but it is unclear if there is any actual evidence that this is the Titanic survivor, or just someone that might be.
Finally, Phil Gowan informed me in 2001 that Sarah's married name was Selleck (or Sellick) but he never provided any further details so I don't know if he or anyone else ever followed that up.
There is much speculation about what became of Sarah and some of this crept into our biography so I have belatedly amended it to reflect what I think we actually know. Hopefully others can help with further research.