Mr James McGann was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England on 26 June 1882 1 and was baptised on 5 July that same year in St Augustine's Church.
He was the son of Eugene McGann (1861-1910) and Mary Kelly (1861-1909) who were married on 1 June 1880, also in St Augustine's Church. His father was born in New York and worked as a marine fireman whilst his mother hailed from Liverpool. He had a younger brother named Joseph (1884-1962).
James, known as Jimmy, and his family appeared on the 1901 census and they were living at 3 Whitley Street, St Martin, Liverpool and James was described as a boiler scaler.
When he signed on to the Titanic, on 10 April 1912, he gave his address as 18 St George's Place (?), Southampton (?). His previous ship had been the South Africa and as a trimmer he could expect monthly wages of £5, 10s.
McGann later returned to Liverpool and likely continued working at sea and is believed to have been married in later years to Catherine McMeal (b. 2 September 1885), another Liverpool native, and had a son named Joseph (1915-1921). He is understood to have died in 1918 aged 35. His widow was never remarried and died in 1958.
His brother Joseph served in the First World War and was married in 1918 to Elizabeth Walls. Four of their grandsons, born to their son Joseph (b. 1924), would become actors: Joe (b. 1858), Paul (b. 1959), Mark (b. 1961) and Stephen (b. 1963). Paul McGann would be the most famous of the brothers, appearing in films such as Withnail and I and Alien3 and would also later be cast as the eighth Doctor Who in 1996.