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David Vartanian

David Vartanian
David Vartanian

Mr David Vartanian was born on 15 April 1890. He was an ethnic-Armenian and lived in Oror, Kiği, near Erzurum in eastern Turkey. He was the son of Azadia Vartanian and Sierma Apigian.

David worked as a labourer and was married in 1911 to Mary Baidzar (b. 15 April 1895 in Dzermag, Kiği). Life for David as a Christian and an Armenian was a difficult one and he and his like were relegated to second class citizenship and harsh persecution under Turkey's Muslim Ottoman regime. The political and religious unrest culminating at the time prompted David and several of his compatriots; Neshan Krekorian, Arsen Siraganian, Haroutioun Zakarian and Mampré Zakarian, to flee the country and emigrate to Canada. His wife Mary was left behind in Kiği.

Vartanian boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as a third class passenger (ticket number 2658 which cost £7, 4s, 6d). He was rescued, he claimed in Collapsible A, but it is more likely that he escaped in a standard lifeboat, possibly boat 13 but more likely 15. 15 April 1912 was his 22nd birthday.

In Canada he went with Krekorian to Mr Paul Martin, 108 Princess Street, Hamilton, Ontario. He lived there for several years before eventually settling in the USA and was of the understanding that his wife had fallen victim to the Armenian Genocide when KiÄŸi was decimated but, however, continued to write home in the hope of tracing her. Following years of perseverance he managed to ascertain that his wife was still alive and he sent money for her to meet him. The couple were reunited after an eleven year hiatus which took place at Niagara Falls.

David and his wife settled in Meadville, Crawford, Pennsylvania and he was employed by the WPA. The couple went on to have three children: Jack "Jackie" (1924-1986), Rose (1926-2012, later Mrs George Vartanian) and Alice (b. 1931, later Mrs Dan Wojdylack). The family were still residing in Meadville at the time of the 1940 census but they later relocated and settled in Detroit, Michigan.

David Vartanian died in Detroit on 3 August 1966 aged 76 and is buried in Woodmere Cemetery in that city.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr David Vartanian
Age: 22 years (Male)
Nationality: Armenian Turkish
Marital Status: Married to Mary Baidzar
Last Residence: in Kiği, Turkey
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 2658, £7 4s 6d
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Wednesday 3rd August 1966 aged 76 years
Cause of Death:
Buried: Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan, United States

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References and Sources

Michigan Department Of Health Certificate Of Death
Detroit News, 4 August 1966, Death Notice
Detroit Press, 4 August 1966, Obituary
Alan Hustak (1999) Titanic: The Canadian Story. Véhicule Press. ISBN 1 55065 113 7
List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (Date: 18th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB-85-T715-Vol 4183
Marriages, Births, Deaths and Injuries, White Star 1912 and Board of Trade 1912, PRO London - BT 100/260
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])

Newspaper Articles

The Times (13 May 1912) Some Armenian Victims


David Vartanian Headstone

Documents and Certificates

(1966) David Vartanian (Death Certificate)
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Comment and discuss

  1. Richard Paola

    Richard Paola said:

    i read an account in the book "Titanic - Great Lakes Connection", which related David Vartanian's story after surviving Titanic, which was quite moving. After landing in New York, his desperate efforts to contact his wife in Europe proved hopeless..months turned to years with no word from her. Despite many of his friends telling him she was probably killed, he never gave up, until finally, over 10 years later, a letter finally arrived from her...anyways, after more correspondence, they finally met..since he was living in the States by now, and she had arrived in Canada, they met on the... Read full post

  2. Kate Bortner

    Kate Bortner said:

    While I do have this book, it's at home so I can't check; does Chris Kohl site his source for this one? That might be the first place to check. If not try contacting Mr Kohl directly (I think I have his e-mail address or phone number around somewhere if you need it) and I'm sure he can site where he got the information. E-mail me privately if you need this info or more info I've learned about this book. -kate.

  3. Phillip Gowan

    Phillip Gowan said:

    The story about Vartanian comes from his daughter who still lives in Michigan and there was a good article detailing his life in the THS Commutator, Volume 23, page 28. Phil

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Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Phillip Gowan, USA
Alan Hustak, Canada
Hermann Söldner, Germany