Mr Joseph "Joe" Dolby was born in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England in the second half of 1873, his birth being registered in the third quarter of that year in King's Norton.
He was the son of Joseph Dolby (b. 1836 in Leicestershire), a grocer, and Hannah Malkin (b. 1843 in Birmingham), who had married in Edgbaston on 16 June 1866, his father being the son of a farmer and described as a traveller at the time.
One of seven children, Joe's siblings were: William Henry (b. 1867), Frederick William (b. 1868), Thomas (b. 1869), Harry (b. 1871), Kate Amelia (b. 1877) and Frances (b. 1881). At least two of his siblings died during their childhood.
When Joe appears on the 1881 census he and his family were living at 79 Montgomery Street, Aston, Warwickshire. He would be absent from the 1891 census, perhaps already at sea, but his parents were listed as living at Lichfield Road in Aston, Birmingham. Absent again from the 1901 census, his family were by then shown to be living at Chester Road in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire. His father died in 1902 and his mother in 1912, only months before he was to sail on Titanic.
Joe was married in London in 1909 to Elizabeth Josephine Whelan (b. 30 December 1874). Elizabeth hailed from Crossleigh in Queen's County (modern-day Co Laois) Ireland, close to the border with Co Carlow, where she would later to have claimed that she was born. She was the daughter of Michael Whelan, a labourer, and the former Catherine Cowan.
Joe and Elizabeth would remain childless and they appeared on the 1911 census whilst living at Seafield, 31 Lodge Road, Portswood, Southampton; Joe was then described as a steward in the merchant service.
Joe was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed on again in Southampton on 4 April 1912 for the maiden voyage he gave his address as 12 Devonshire Road, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a first-class steward he could expect monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Joe Dolby died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
His widow Elizabeth never remarried and resettled in London where she worked as a secretary; by the time of the 1939 register, she was living in Kensington. Her last address was 18 Philbeach Gardens in southwest London but she died in the Westminster Hospital on 23 February 1949 aged 74.