Mr Joseph Ellison was born in Ballydavey near Holywood, Co Down, Ireland on 25 December 1884. Coming from a Presbyterian family (later identifying as Church of Ireland), he was one of nine children born to James Ellison, a marine fireman and general labourer, and Martha Breeze.
Ellison and his family moved closer to Belfast City sometime around the close of the 1890s and appear on the 1901 census as residents of 6 Welland Street in east Belfast, Joseph then being described as a general labourer and his father as a marine fireman.
With his address given as 13 Stoneyford Street, Ellison was married in Belfast on 14 April 1906 to Abigail Doyle (b. 14 January 1875) of 4 Wilgar Street. The couple went on to have five children: George (b. August 1906), William (b. January 1908), Joseph (b. April 1909), Edward (b. June 1911) and Jeannie (b. April 1914). Their son Joseph died in February 1911 as a result of tuberculosis.
The 1911 census shows the family as residents of 18 Dundela Street in east Belfast and Ellison was described as an engineer’s helper.
Ellison’s ship prior to Titanic had been the Olympic. He joined Titanic at Belfast for the delivery trip to Southampton where he then disembarked.
In September 1912 Ellison was a signatory of the Ulster Covenant, a petition signed by nearly 500,000 citizens opposing Irish Home Rule.
How long Joseph Ellison remained at sea is not clear but there are no records that he served with either the merchant or naval fleet during WWI. He was widowed on 12 August 1937 when wife Abigail passed away.
Joseph Ellison died aged 62 on 19 May 1945 and was buried in Belfast’s City Cemetery (plot T 346).