Miss Catherine McGowan was born in Addergoole, Co Mayo, Ireland on 30 September 1869.
She was the daughter of Anthony McGowan (b. 1830), a farmer, and Bridget Mayock. Her known siblings were: Honor (b. 1865), John (b. 1867), Thomas (b. 1871), Margaret (b. 1873) and Sarah (b. 1875). By the time of the 1901 census of Ireland Catherine's father Anthony was still alive, living at house 2 in Massbrook, Addergoole, Co Mayo, her mother having passed away some years previously, and her father would die also within the next few years.
Catherine, like several of her siblings, had left Ireland as a younger woman and settled in the USA, initially in Cleveland Ohio. By 1912 she was a resident of Chicago, Illinois where she rented property to make a living. Her niece Annie, daughter of her elder brother John, had expressed an interest in coming to live in America and Catherine also wanted to visit family and friends in Co Mayo; her close friend Catherine McHugh had returned home to Ireland in 1910 and was married to John Bourke.
Catherine therefore made the journey back to Ireland in the latter months of 1911 and by April 1912 was preparing to leave for the USA again with her niece and over a dozen other Addergoole villagers who would also be travelling on Titanic as third class passengers. The group included John and Catherine McHugh Bourke and John's sister Mary Bourke; Nora Fleming, Mary Mangan, Bridget Donohue, Delia Mahon, cousins Patrick and Mary Canavan, James Flynn, Annie Kelly and Bridget McDermott. Catherine boarded the Titanic at Queenstown on 11 April 1912 (ticket number 9232 which cost £7, 15s).
Catherine McGowan died in the sinking and her body, if recovered, was never identified. Her niece Annie was among the rescued.