Mr James Keegan

Mr James Keegan, 38, was born in Liverpool.

He was married to Alice Maud (?Macey, ?Durnil)1,2 and had four children: Joseph John Keegan (born 1904), Lawrence Keegan (born 1906), Sidney Francis (born 1908) and Alice (born 1910) all born in Southampton.3,4

He signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 with a cross as he could not write. His address was given as 2 West Place, Southampton. His previous ship was the Olympic. His wages were £6 10s per month.

Keegan died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

His family received financial relief from the Mansion House Fund.

His widow Alice struggled in the years following the disaster and in 1918 was imprisoned for neglect of her children.

She is believed to have died in 1955 on the Isle of Wight.


  1. There is a marriage between an Alice Maud Macey and a James Keegan listed in 1901 in Southampton.
  2. Her surname sometimes given as 'Durnil'... it may be a mistranscription of Dunhill, however, the identity has yet to be established.
  3. The 1911 census indicates that Alice had had two additional children that had died.
  4. Lawrence Keegan emigrated to the United States and died there in 1972.

Articles and Stories

Hampshire Advertiser (1918) 

Comment and discuss

  1. bernard reynolds said:

    Mr James Keegan Leading Fireman did not die on the Titanic as is officially recorded in the United States and elsewhere, you see he was my great grandfather and he missed the maiden voyage for some unknown reason but was still on the crew list, in the merseyside maritime museum Liverpool these facts are recorded and there is a photo of him and his family and friends taken some time after the disaster.Thanks to him missing the maiden voyage I am here today.I have a photo of him and I will post it soon.

  2. Andrew Williams said:

    Bernard -- Forgive me for saying so but I cannot see how James Keegan survived when he's listed as lost. Not only that, his widow (Alice Maud) in 1915 was prosecuted by the Southampton Education Board for using excessive cruelty upon the children. A complicated case at the time as this involved two other organizations:- Southampton Police Station who in turn reported her behaviour to the N.S.P.C.C. In the end she was allowed to keep her children under certain conditions with the watchful eye of the N.S.P.C.C. In the late 1920's one of the children have reached the tender age, and has... Read full post

  3. bernard reynolds said:

    Dear Andrew I am totally puzzled , the first thing I am thinking is that he had another woman in southampton unknown to anyone, secondly, because he missed the maiden voyage maybe someone assumed his name. Other than that all I can say is that you contact the archive of the merseyside maritime museum via the web for confirmation because as far as they and I are aware he was a leading fireman on the titanic who missed the maiden voyage. attached is an image of him and family around 1919.

  4. bernard reynolds said:

    James Keegan leading fireman Olympic and Titanic is buried in Ford Cemetery in Litherland in Liverpool.I don't think he died twice mr williams.

  5. bernard reynolds said:

    couldn't attach picture but there is one of him in the Merseyside Maritime Museum taken after the disaster.

  6. avatar

    Michael H. Standart said:

    Perhaps might help a bit. The James "Kas" Keegan here is listed as never having been identified if his body was ever recovered. Either somebody screwed up or there's a case of mistaken identity here.

  7. Andrew Williams said:

    Hello Bernard, We are talking of the same James Keegan married to Alice Maud with their four children Joseph John, Lawrence, Sydney Francis and Alice Ellen? Alice Maud (Mother) and all four children as well as the Mother to Alice Maud (Mrs. Durnil) were placed under Relief Fund number C.156. I have a large selection of details covering the family from the Minute Book's that are held at Southampton Archives. There's nothing to be puzzled about. James Keegan's family were placed under the Southampton Committee as the family had moved down from Liverpool to Southampton. In what year... Read full post

  8. bernard reynolds said:

    There is a section of the titanic exhibition at the merseyside maritime museum that is devoted to the story of James Keegan, my great grandfather.It was created because of the story that he was listed as one of the leading firemen lost with the Titanic,and subsequently this fact was proved wrong and they have some memorabilia to do with the memorial functions the white star line gave in honour of the dead with his name printed , imagine their surprise when he turned up alive and well .I don't know about this alice maud or the southampton connection, maybe he led a double life . Quite a few... Read full post

  9. Andrew Williams said:

    I don't know Bernard, the mystery continues to deepen even more. How strange that none of the pages with the Southampton Titanic Relief Fund Committee ever mentioned of him leading a double life. Amongst your collection do you have the necessary credentials like a marriage certificate, births for the children including another handy certificate, the actual date and year of his death? Surely there must have been an obituary written as well? I am still looking for the confirmation to my question. We are talking of the same James Keegan who was married to Alice Maud formerly Durnil or... Read full post

  10. bernard reynolds said:

    I am going to research this more and will get back to you.

  11. Chris Talbot said:

    Mr. Reynolds I am curios of your information, my Grandfather was Lawrence Keegan and it was known in our family that his father died on the Titanic working as a lead fireman. My grandfather came to America and lived in Brooklyn N.Y. he worked as a shipsmate, he had two daughters and I am one of eight grandchildren he had. He died in 1972, if you have any information please provide it. Thanks

  12. bernard reynolds said:

    ok it's been a while because I have been trying to get some more information but it hasn't turned up anything unfortunately. A very kind lady at Southampton Library archives came up with the same stuff as Andrew Williams. The rest of the family are a bit reluctant to go digging any deeper in case this throws any light on the double life theory, imagine if he did have two families how very interesting that would be for us and a Mr Chris Talbot. Maybe we should get a DNA test Mr Talbot and see what happens. Again I will mention the 'evidence' that is in the archive of the MERSEYSIDE... Read full post

  13. Chris Talbot said:

    Mr. Reynolds, I've spoken to my relatives in the UK and we have come up with nothing to give your story any credit. By the way what part of the world are you located in? I'm in New York. Thanks, Chris Talbot

  14. Andrew Williams said:

    Greetings Chris -- and a big thank you for supplying more of your family tree. To be perfectly honest with you Chris, I have had many suspensions over Mr. Reynolds claim that James Keegan was married not once, but twice. How come I've gone down the same road and doubled-checked all the records at Southampton myself, and subsequently there's no supply of any obituary, no claim of any sort of a 'Probate report' let alone a mention in any of the Minute Book's of the Relief Fund at Southampton to confirm that Mr Keegan was married twice. Absolutely nothing! Come on Mr. Reynolds where's the... Read full post

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Hermann Söldner, Germany
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK
Andrew Williams, UK
Bill Wormstedt, USA

References and Sources

Crew Particulars of Engagement
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
1911 Census
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2018) James Keegan (ref: #1544, last updated: 23rd January 2018, accessed 5th June 2020 06:09:08 AM)