Miss Bridget Moran

Bridget Moran

Miss Bridget Moran, known as Bertha, was born in Toomdeely, Askeaton, Co Limerick, Ireland on 1 October 1879.1
She was the daughter of Patrick Moran (b. circa 1837), a labourer, boatman and former lighthouse keeper, and Bridget Nestor (b. circa 1845) who had married in 1867.

Bridget was the sister of ten siblings: Catherine (b. 1 April 1868), Ellen (b. 21 December 1869), Alice (b. 1 July 1872), Michael (b. 19 December 1874), John (b. 24 December 1875), Mary (b. 18 April 1878), Frances (b. 15 February 1882), Daniel (b. 7 July 1883), Patrick (b. 20 December 1885) and Thomas (b. 20 May 1888). 

Her mother died on 20 July 1891 from tuberculosis and her widowed father never remarried. Although herself absent from both the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses, Bridget's family were listed on the 1901 census living at house 8 in Toomdeely North and on the 1911 census at house 5 in the same locale.

Bridget, who worked in a shirt factory, had emigrated around 1905 and lived in Troy, Rensselaer, New York with four of her siblings; Nellie, Frances, Daniel and Thomas, appearing there on the 1905 census with her family as a resident of River Street and with all the ladies described as collar workers.

Bridget's father died in on 8 October 1909 aged 72 and she and her brother Daniel decided to return to Ireland in November 1911 to claim an inheritance, reportedly estimated at between $12,000 and $15,000.

For their return to New York they boarded the Titanic at Queenstown on 11 April 1912 as third class passengers (joint ticket number 371110 which cost £24, 3s). Travelling on their ticket was a friend, Patrick Ryan and they were also acquainted with another passenger from Askeaton, Margaret Madigan.

On the night of the sinking Bridget had been awakened by a jolt and was further roused by a commotion outside her cabin. Her brother Daniel soon arrived telling her that the ship had struck an iceberg and was in trouble and that she had no time to dress. Throwing a coat over her nightclothes, she made her way with the rest of her party to the communal areas but found difficulties getting near the lifeboats and she related how crewmen barred their access to higher decks. Upon reaching the outer decks she claimed to have encountered Father Thomas Byles who assisted she and Margaret Madigan into one of the lifeboats (boat 15). Whilst Bridget and her friend Margaret were saved, her brother Daniel and their friend Patrick were lost in the sinking.

Arriving in New York aboard the rescue ship Carpathia, Bridget was described as a 28-year-old collar factory worker and her next of kin was listed as her brother Patrick in Ireland. She later filed a claim for loss of property but received only a fraction of the amount. Her inheritance reportedly went down with her brother. Such was the enormity of her experiences Bridget would never set foot on a boat ever again.

Bridget was married in New York the following year to machinist Richard Sinnott (b. 14 May 18892), a fellow countryman and son of Edward Sinnott and Bridget Hanley of Co Wexford. They had three children: Daniel James (b. 29 August 19143), Eileen Ruth (b. 12 April 19164) and Richard (b. 7 June 19185). 

The family moved to Detroit, Michigan around 1916 where Richard garnered another machinist job; he died tragically on 26 October 1917 in an accident at work when a pressurised device malfunctioned, with the compressed air puncturing his abdomen and intestines, he passing away only shortly after. He was buried in Troy, New York.  

Bridget was pregnant with their youngest child when she was made a widow and their son, whom she named Richard in honour of his late father, arrived on 7 June 1918. She and her children appear on the 1920 census as residents of 800 Porter Street, Detroit and later, to make ends meet, she began working as a beautician.  

She was remarried to an English widower George Cooper (b. 15 November 1882 in Bradford), a sausage salesman, who brought to the family three children from his previous marriage: Ernest, Frank and Richard. Bridget and George welcomed a daughter of their own, Bertha (b. 22 February 19236) and the 1930 census shows the blended family living at 2236 23rd Street, Detroit. By the time of the 1940 census Bertha was again a widow and still at 2236 23rd Street, Detroit (the home she would live at for the rest of her life), her husband George having passed away on 17 November 1936. 

Bridget spent her later years tending her garden and her nine grandchildren. In 1953 she was a special guest at a special screening of the Fox movie Titanic, an event she found very emotional.

Bridget Cooper, née Moran, late Sinnott, later battled cancer and died on 15 April 1961, the 49th anniversary of the sinking.  She is buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield, Michigan (section 20, lot 70 grave 5).

Notes

  1. Bertha gave various ages throughout her life, ranging birthdates in 1883 to 1890. Her birth record confirms that she was older again, born in 1879 and aged 32 in April 1912. She would later give a birthday of 9 September 1879 or 9 September 1889.
  2. His death certificate incorrectly records his date of birth as 29 May 1890. 
  3. Daniel died in Allen Park, Wayne, Michigan on 13 May 1994.
  4. Later Mrs Patsy Bernardelli, Eileen died in Detroit on 15 November 1971.
  5. Richard died in Detroit on 12 February 1975.
  6. Bertha never married; she died in Detroit on 18 March 1989.
 

Pictures

Detroit survivor of the historic sinking of the Titanic
Detroit Free Press  (1953) 
DETROIT SURVIVOR OF THE HISTORIC SINKING OF THE TITANIC
Bridget Moran
BRIDGET MORAN
 

Articles and Stories

Chicago Tribune (1961) 
Evening World (1912) 
 

Comment and discuss

  1. J.S said:

    Good for her she lived!

  2. Lindylou said:

    Relative of my great grandmother, not 100% how without further research but they shared the same name, she was Bertha Bridget my Great Grandmother was Bridget Moran from Lancashire where my family still live. I expect my Great Grandmother and her were either cousins or she was my Great Grandmothers niece, their birth ages are half a generation apart as often happened with bigger families in those days so it could be either.

  3. Undecided said:

    I have to do a project on Miss Bertha for a Titanic project. Does any one know if she has any children?

  4. navymac012 said:

    Yes she did. She was married to Dan Sinnott and they had 3 children (Eileen, Dan & Dick). After he died she married my Great-Grandfather George Cooper, and the had 1 child (Bertha Cooper). I know that this is probably to late for your project, so I hope this helps. Keith McConnell

  5. Lee Binney said:

    My Aunt Alice told me before she died that we had relatives on the titanic. After some research , Bertha Moran and her brother seemed to be the result. My great grandmother was Sara Daughtrey or Doughtry . Could anyone shed some light on this information?

  6. Woody said:

    My great grandmother was Bridget Moran of Preston. We believe she had relatives on the Titanic. She married a Thomas Walton and lived in Preston until she died.

  7. Mary Dyson said:

    Bridget aka Bertha Moran and her brother Daniel Moran are my Great Aunt and uncle. They are my granddads brother and sister. RIP My Great Grandparents. Were Bridget Nestor who was born in Askeaton Limerick Ireland in 1845 married my Great Granddad in 1867. My Great Granddad Patrick Moran was also born in Toomdeely Askeaton Limerick Ireland in1837. Hope this information will be use full to anyone who is trying to join the dots in their family connections.

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Credits

Trevor Baxter, UK
Gavin Bell, UK
Robert L. Bracken, USA
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Noel Ray, Ireland

References and Sources

Detroit News, 16 April 1961: Death Notice
The Chronicle Herald, 6 May 1912: Went Down on Titanic, Money With Him
Search archive Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2020) Bridget Moran Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1039, updated 30th March 2020 04:24:57 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/bertha-bridget-moran.html