Encyclopedia Titanica

Catherine Connolly

Titanic survivor from County Cavan

Miss Catherine "Kate" Connolly was born in Cortrasna, Drumlumman, Co Cavan, Ireland on 3 June 1888.1

She was the daughter of James Connolly (b. circa 1844), a farmer, and Catherine Fagan (b. circa 1850), Cavan natives who had married on 16 January 1871.

Kate, as she was known, had five known siblings: James (b. 14 October 1871), Ellen (b. 12 July 1874), Eliza (b. 7 October 1877), John (b. 10 May 1883) and Mary Josephine (b. 2 May 1898).

She appears on the 1901 census living at house 6 in Cortrasna. Her father died aged 65 on 25 June 1909 and the remainder of the family appear on the 1911 census at house 1, Cortrasna. Kate's age was listed erroneously as 19 by the time of the latter record and she had no stated profession at that point.

Kate decided to join her sister Ellen "Nellie" McGuckian in New York and boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as a third class passenger (ticket number 370373 which cost £7, 15s). Her cabin mates aboard were fellow Cavan girls Julia Smyth and Mary McGovern and a girl from Co Clare, Mary Agatha Glynn

On the night on the sinking Kate and her roommates made their way to the upper decks and were able to escape (most likely together in lifeboat 13). She later reported that several young Irish men had found a route to the upper decks before returning to show them the way. The presence of two Irish women named Kate Connolly on board Titanic initially caused confusion on both sides of the Atlantic; the other woman, Kate Connolly from Tipperary was lost.

Kate eventually landed in New York aboard Carpathia; she was then described as a 21-year-old domestic from Curtrasna, naming her mother Catherine as her next of kin. Her destination address was that of her sister Mrs John McGuckian at 309 East 88th Street, New York with whom she was eventually reunited.

Kate made her home in New York and was married there on 30 September 1916 to William Arkins (b. 7 March 18902). Arkins was born in Moynagh, Co Cavan to farmer John Arkins and his wife Mary Donohue and, like Kate, had come to American shores in 1912, he just a few weeks behind when he arrived in New York aboard Baltic on 5 May. It may be surmised that they knew each other from back home. 

The couple settled in Manhattan where Arkins had in several maintenance, factory and shipyard jobs before he dabbled in real estate by buying properties to let out to tenants. He and Kate had four sons: James William (b. 11 March 1918; d. 1992), John Joseph (b. 26 October 1920; d. 2009), Peter (b. 2 August 1925) and Thomas (b. 1927-d. 16 September 1927).

By 1920 the Arkins' home address was East 75th Street, Manhattan and Kate had been joined in America by her brother John, then an iron worker. It appears John did not remain in America for long and returned to Ireland where he nursed his mother through her final illness until her death on 3 April 1922. 

The couple were living at East 19th Street by the time of the 1940 census and William was then described as a salesman. Kate applied for US citizenship in November 1924 and was then described as standing at 5' 7" and with brown hair and grey eyes. She became a citizen on 22 June 1931 and at which point her address was 114 East 81st Street, New York. Her husband had become a citizen just the year previous.

Kate Connolly Arkins died following a stroke aged 60 in Whitestone, Queens, New York on 3 July 1948; her widower William died in Queens, New York on 21 June 1965.

She is buried in Mount St. Mary's Cemetery, Flushing, New York City (section 20, Row R, grave 12).


  1. Birth date as per birth record; Molony (2000) gives the date as 14 June 1888. Her naturalisation papers give the date as 8 August 1890. 
  2. He gave his birth date as 15 March 1890 in his naturalisation papers.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Miss Catherine Connolly
Age: 23 years 10 months and 12 days (Female)
Nationality: Irish
Marital Status: Single
Embarked: Queenstown on Thursday 11th April 1912
Ticket No. 370373, £7 15s
Destination: 309 East 88th Street New York City, New York, United States
Rescued (boat 13)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Saturday 3rd July 1948 aged 60 years
Buried: Mount St. Mary's Cemetery, Flushing, New York, United States

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References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Noel Ray (1999) List of Passengers who Boarded RMS Titanic at Queenstown, April 11, 1912. The Irish Titanic Historical Society
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Comment and discuss

  1. Katie Damato

    Katie Damato said:

    I need some information on Miss Katherine (Kate) Connolly (the one that survived) for a school report, if u could spare some information i'd be very grateful

  2. Katie Damato

    Katie Damato said:

    I was also wondering if anybody had any pictures of her, or some good informational sites about her!

  3. Kyrila Scully

    Kyrila Scully said:

    Katie, pick up a copy of Senan Molony's "The Irish Aboard Titanic" and turn to page 50. All the best, Kyrila Scully

  4. Phillip Gowan

    Phillip Gowan said:

    Katie, If you don't have access to Senan Molony's book, Kate died in July of 1948, had married to William Arkins, and had three children. Her only surviving son lives in Charleston, South Carolina. There is a good photo of her in Senan's book and we have one other as well. Regards, Phil

  5. Katie Damato

    Katie Damato said:

    phil and kyrila, Thanks for all your help, but in a bizzare (sorry if i spelled that wrong) change of events I picked a new person for my report (Dr. Alice Farnham Leader), and there is some good information on her, but if I need help I'll come back here. Thanks again! Sincerely, Katie

  6. Laurie Platt

    Laurie Platt said:

    What ever became of Katherine Connolly who was a 3rd class passenger on the Titanic. Did she marry, have children, and when did she pass away. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  7. Phillip Gowan

    Phillip Gowan said:

    Laurie, Kate Connolly married William Arkins and lived out her life in New York City (Whitestone, NY). She had 4 sons but only one is still living and he lives not far from me in South Carolina. They did well financially and William and Kate ended up owning several apartment buildings in New York. She died of a stroke on July 3, 1948 at the age of 60. Regards, Phil

  8. Laurie Platt

    Laurie Platt said:

    Thank you Phil for the information

  9. Magda Natalia Piotrowska

    Magda Natalia Piotrowska said:

    Does anyone know something about Kate Connolly (she lost her life in Titanic's disaster). I need some informations about her life before the disaster. Thanks

  10. Magda Natalia Piotrowska

    Magda Natalia Piotrowska said:

    Please help me!!! I interested in Kate Connolly because I don't know anything about her life and character.

  11. Bob Godfrey

    Bob Godfrey said:

    Magda, Katie Connolly who died was not the same person as the Kate Connolly discussed here. I've passed on some information in the new thread which you have started.

  12. dmlesni

    dmlesni said:

    Miss KAte Connolly was 22 and NOT married.

  13. Tracy Viger Hanson.

    Tracy Viger Hanson. said:

    Kate was my great grandmother, Nillie’s sister.

  14. Cate Sullivan

    Cate Sullivan said:

    I am the great great granddaughter of Kate's sister, Mary Josephine (called Josey). Her daughter Josephine (I believe) married my great grandfather James McHugh. My grandmother, their daughter Kathleen (Peggy) McHugh Sullivan died in 2018. I'd love to find more relatives! I am a teacher now, and while I always knew I had a relative who survived the Titantic, I decided to do more research while teaching a lesson for to my students!

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