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 1866. One of seven children, Joseph lost two siblings in infancy. His surviving siblings were: Frederick William (b. 1868), Harry (b. 1871) Kate Amelia (b. 1877) and Frances (b. 1881)
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 now 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. 1875 in Co Carlow, Ireland) but the couple would remain childless. They appeared on the 1911 census living at Seafield, 31 Lodge Road, Portswood, Southampton and Joe was 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, 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. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
His widow Elizabeth apparently never remarried but her subsequent whereabouts are uncertain.