Miss Catherine McGowan was born in Massbrook, Lahardane, Co Mayo, Ireland in 1869.1
She was the daughter of Anthony McGowan (b. circa 1830), a farmer, and Bridget Mayock (b. circa 1838).
Her known siblings were: Honor (b. 7 May 1865), John (b. 9 June 1867), Thomas (b. 28 September 1871), Margaret (b. 1 March 1873) and Sarah (b. 20 December 1875).
Catherine's mother died aged 60 on 11 May 1898 and by the time of the 1901 census of Ireland her father Anthony was still alive, living at house 2 in Massbrook, Addergoole, the home of his son John and his family. Anthony McGowan spent his final months in a workhouse in Castlebar, Co Mayo and died aged 77 on 18 September 1908.2
Catherine, like several of her siblings, had left Ireland as a younger woman, she around 1888, and settled in the USA, initially in Cleveland, Ohio. By the turn of the century she was a resident of Chicago, Illinois where she ran a boarding house at North Paulina Street in that city and where she was listed on the 1910 census.
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 (the Addergoole Fourteen) 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.