Encyclopedia Titanica

Alexander Milne Cairns

Mr Alexander Milne Cairns was born on 19 April 1883 in Kinfauns, Perthshire, Scotland.

He was the son of William James Cairns (b. 1843) , an agricultural labourer, and Margaret Milne (b. 1840), both natives of Forfarshire who had married in Kirriemuir on 19 March 1864.

He had eleven siblings: John (1864-1894), Betsy Findlay (b. 1866), Andrew (1868-1934), James Milne (1870-1935), Margaret Shrubsole (1872-1920, later Marks), William (1874-1881), Jessie McRae (1876-1952), Jane (1878-1965), Joan (1879-1898), David Murray (1881-1942) and Charlotte Carolina Shrubshole (1886-1960). His brother Andrew had been born on 15 April 1868.

In the years prior to Alexander's birth his father had worked as a railway labourer and the family appear on the 1881 census living at Old Toll House in Rescobie, Forfarshire. Alexander first appears on the 1891 census when he and his family are residing at Cottar House in Littleton, Longforgan, Perthshire. When the 1901 census was conducted the family were residents of Seggieden Porter Lodge in Kinfauns, his father now working as an estate labourer, but Alexander was not present at his whereabouts at the time are unknown.

He and his brothers James and William later emigrated around 1905 and settled in Philadelphia where they worked as Lace weavers, showing up on the 1910 census as boarders at 2918 Sixth Street. Exactly when Cairns came into the employ of William Ernest Carter is not known.

Cairns boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first class passenger, travelling in the Carter entourage and on the same ticket as Augusta Serreplaà, the Carters' French maid (ticket number 113798 which cost £31). Whilst aboard he occupied cabin B86.

Alexander lost his life in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

His parents later benefited from the Titanic Relief Fund1; he is commemorated on the family grave in Kinfauns:




His mother later died in 1920 and his father in 1926 whilst several of his siblings later emigrated and settled in Australia. His brother Andrew died in Sydney in 1934 and his brother James in Queensland in 1935.


  1. "P2 Cairns, Mother and Father 4 shillings per week"

References and Sources

1891 Scotland Census

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Gavin Bell, UK
Nicolas Chmarzynski

Comment and discuss

  1. Leigh Anthony Ross

    Does anyone know when Alexander Cairns was born or what age he was when he sailed on the Titanic? Thank-you

  2. Bob Godfrey

    Hallo, Leigh. Craig Stringer (Titanic People) gives Cairns' age as 28 and his birthplace as somewhere in Perthshire, Scotland.

  3. Leigh Anthony Ross

    Thank-you Bob.

  4. Meg Greenwood

    Family stories I'd long considered false now point to a possible true story. My mother's mother was living in Glasgow in 1912, she supposedly was engaged to a young man, they were to both sail on the Titanic, but he went alone, died upon the sinking and she came to New York a few years later, met and married my Grandfather. I now have a picture of this man, who signed his name only 'Alex' on the picture. My aunt is searching for a postcard she has tucked away that was also from him, I'd like to see the Postmark and if he signed with his full name. There is a possibility it is Alexander... Read full post

  5. Alastair J McKenzie

    Alastair J McKenzie

    Alexander Milne Cairns was my grandmother's brother, one of 11 children to William Cairns and Margaret Milne. Intrigued by the ref to your g'mother. what was her maiden name? Regards

  6. Cheryl Haslett

    I am also very interested in Alexander Cairns as I am positive he was my g.g.grandfather's nephew, and I am presently doing my Cairns Family Tree.So I am very interested in any data about Alexander.

  7. Wendy leitch

    does anyone know if alexander cairns had a brother or cousin called david murray cairns born1881 at rescobie (forfar) died 1942 at inchyra village (scotland)

  8. Alastair J McKenzie

    Alastair J McKenzie

    David Murray Cairns was 1 of 11 brothers/sisters to Alexander Milne Cairns. Several of us have been working on this family tree if you want more info. Regards Alastair

  9. Wendy leitch

    thankyou would like to find out more

  10. Janice Cairns

    Have just returned from Titanic Exhibition at O2. Fascinating !! Noticed on 'lost list' Alexander Cairns. My late husbands father was Albert Edward Alexander Cairns, and his father was 'Stokoe' Cairns. He worked at the shipyard and collapsed in the queue for his pay. Had a few wives at the same time by all accounts and a bit of a black sheep. Does anyone know the name ? Many thanks. Janice Cairns.

  11. nicolas chmarzynski

    hello Being passionate about the Titanic for many years I began to seek information about passengers and crew member right now I lead research on Alexander CAIRNS servant of Mr Carter I found some info but I do not know if she is okay Alexander Cairns was born on April 19, 1883 in Kinfauns, Perthshire, Scotland his parents would be William (1842-1925) & Margaret Milne Cairns (1840-1920) He had 10 brothers and sisters thank you for your help, if you could give me any other information or corrected my mistakes if Nicolas

  12. AJMcKenzie


    Re Alexander Cairns He (Alexander Milne Cairns) was my great uncle and was lost on the Titanic, no body being recovered or identified. He was one of 12 children, including my grandmother, of William Cairns and Margaret Milne. They received 4 shillings per week from the Mansion House Titanic Relief fund. He was working as a butler in London in the 1911 census Regards Alastair J McKenzie

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Alexander Milne Cairns
Age: 28 years 11 months and 26 days (Male)
Nationality: Scottish
Marital Status: Single
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 113798, £31
Cabin No. B-86
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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