Mrs Ernest John Bliss (Emma Junod) was born in Rolle, a small village between Lausanne and Geneva in Switzerland on 9 May 1866. She was the daughter of François Louis Junod, a cooper (barrel maker), but other details about her early and family life are unclear.
She came to England as a young woman and appears on the 1891 census as a lady's maid to the wife of a wealthy manufacturer, Theodore H. Bryant and his wife Isabella who lived at Juniper Hill in Mickleham, Surrey.
She was married later that year in Ratley, Warwickshire on 13 August to Ernest John Bliss (b. 1861), a butler, her residence at the time being given as Ratley Grange. Ernest hailed from Northamptonshire and was the son of a butcher, Richard Bliss and spent about a year following his marriage living in New York before he returned to England and settled with Emma in his birthplace, Chacombe.
Whilst in Chacombe the Bliss couple welcomed their first child in 1892, Henry Louis Junod. Their second child, another son named Ernest Junod, was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1894 before they settled in Hampshire; there a daughter was born in 1897, Amy Catherine (later Mrs John Armstrong).
Ernest Bliss curtailed his employment in the domestic duties and began a career as a bricklayer and he and his family appear on the 1901 census living at 17 School Lane, Allbrook, Hampshire. Son Henry later became a ship's joiner and made his home in Southampton whilst son Ernest became a clerk. Emma's husband is shown as a lodger at 20 Wheeler's Terrace, Eastleigh, Hampshire where he is described as an unemployed labourer. The main family address is unclear but between then and early 1912 it is believed to have been at 99 High Road in Southgate, north London1. Her husband emigrated to Canada in August 1911 and her two sons Ernest and Harry followed aboard Ascania in February 1912.
When she signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 Emma gave her address as 56 Upper Park Road, New Southgate. Her previous ship had been the Majestic and as a stewardess she received monthly wages of £3.
Mrs Bliss survived the sinking although in which lifeboat is not clear (some place her in lifeboat 15). She was not called to testify at either of the Inquiries into the sinking and returned to England although it is not clear if she ever worked at sea again.
After the disaster Emma Bliss followed her husband and sons to Canada; she and her daughter Amy left Southampton on 24 July 1913 aboard Ascania. Her husband worked as a cook and frequently crossed the border into the USA; by 1923 the family home was 1063 Davenport Road, Toronto.
Emma became a widow when her husband Ernest died in Detroit on 22 December 1932; their address at the time was 42 Durant Avenue, Toronto.
Emma spent the last few years of her life in Toronto's Never Nursing Home and in March 1959 watched the film A Night to Remember. She died only a few months later on 18 June 1959 aged 93 and was buried in Prospect Cemetery in Toronto. She was survived by her three children.
Phillip Gowan, USA
Alan Hustak, Canada
- Emigration papers state that Ernest Bliss had lived in the USA over 1891-1892.
- Her son's specified this address when they travelled aboard Ascania in February 1912.
Toronto Daily Star, 19 June 1959, Obituary
Crew Particulars of Engagement
Province of Ontario Statement of Death
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Articles and Stories
Toronto Daily Star (1959)
Paris Presse (1959)
Toronto Daily Star (1939)