Mara Osman 1 was born in Vagovina, Croatia (Austrian Empire), on 17 March 1881. Her parents were Mijo and Maria Osman of that village.
She bought her third class ticket from the agent Viktor Klaus-Wildi, Buchs for 299 Swiss francs (ticket number 349244 which cost £8, 13s, 8d) and boarded the Titanic in Southampton.
Mara survived the sinking and was rescued by the Carpathia, but in which boat is uncertain
After arriving in New York, she supposedly went to her 'sister' Mrs Rudolph Pavlović in Steelton, Pennsylvania.2
It is possible that Maria was acquainted with fellow third class passenger Stefo Pavlovic, also from Vagovina and also travelling to the Harrisburg/ Steelton area of Pennsylvania. Perhaps Mrs Pavlovic was a relation by marriage to him?
Following her recuperation, it was reported that she lost much of her hair as a result of shock.
There is a lot of very conflicting and confusing information about Mara Osman.
Reports of the time suggest she had a husband who was in prison for murder. 3
Mrs. Mary Osman, a Titanic wreck survivor, arrived here [Steubenville,Ohio] and will go to Columbus to see her husband, Mele Osman, who is doing time in the penitentiary for murder. Mrs. Osman has not seen her husband since he left the old country to come to America.
Newspaper aricles from 1909 suggest that as well as killing a lodger Mele (or Meler Osman... [note: her surname]) had also shot and injured his 'wife'. But the 1912 article suggests Maria was coming to America to see her husband whom she had not seen since he left Croatia. Therefore, either the injured female victim was not Maria or, possibly, that the newspapers have confused two different couples and two, equally dramatic, stories!
According to the list of survivors on the Carpathia, Maria was an unmarried domestic, aged 30, born in Poland, her mother's name was Maria Osman and her place of origin was Vargovina, Poland. The list of Austrian survivors has her as verheirated (married).
The US Senate list and evidence relating to the supposed detained husband suggests she was bound instead for Steubenville, Ohio.
The White Star Line listed her as 'Miss Maria Osman,' but did not give a destination in the USA. The Red Cross files simply described her as a domestic, aged, 30, of Polish extraction.
It has been suggested that Mara married Miška Banski (b. 24 September 1875) in Croatia around 1898 and the couple had three sons; Antun/Anton in 1900, Ivan, 18 May 1902, and Franjo/Frank 14 November 1904.
Her husband Miška left Croatia around 1905 to settle in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with the intention of saving enough money to eventually bring his family across and settle with him. When that time came only his wife Mara would make the trip with the boys to follow later.
Mara "Mary/Maria" and her husband Miška "Mike" eventually settled in Kenosha, Wisconsin, appearing on the 1920 census as Bouski. By then they had been joined by their two younger sons Ivan "John" and Franjo "Frank". Maria had sent for all three of her sons shortly after arriving in America but her eldest son Antun elected to remain in Croatia. He was reportedly killed during the First World War.
Maria and Miska possibly later divorced, as it has been suggested that she later married a Croatian-American (possibly a Doctor) called Isaac Kolic/Kolich, but no marriage record has been found, nor has her husband been traced.
Maria Osman/Banski/Kolich died on 13 January 1930 in Kenosha due to stomach cancer, aged 48 and was later buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Milwaukee. Her simple headstone reads:
1882 ✝ 1930
Her son John later married and had two children, remaining in Kenosha where he died on 29 September 1995. Her son Frank died in Woodland, California on 27 October 1980. Her first husband Miška died in Kenosha on 12 April 1935.