Joseph Francis Akerman was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England on 14 May 1874. He was the son of Joseph Akerman (1845-1914) and Fanny Palmer (1845-1925), both Wiltshire natives who had married in there in 1871.
Joseph had had least five siblings: William Henry (b. 1872), Eliza (b. 1875), Arthur Wallace (b. 1877) Albert Edward (b. 1880) and Alice Maud (b. 1882).
On the 1881 census the family are living at 12 Spring Place, Salisbury and his father is described as a general labourer. On the 1891 census, the Akermans are listed at 37 Green Croft Street and his father is now listed as a tractor engine driver. Joseph is listed as a Milkman.
Joseph, known as Frank, was married in Salisbury in late 1898 to Emily Kate Francis (b. 1876 in Warminster, Wiltshire). They went on to have a total of five children by 1911: Lillian (b. 1899), Gladys (b. 1901), Doris (b. 1904), William Frank (b. January 24, 1906), Vera May (b. 1909), all born in Southampton. Doris died in infancy. Another child, Herbert George would be born later on May 22, 1911.
By the time of the 1901 census, Joseph and his wife are living at 6 George Street, Northam, Southampton with their daughter Lillian. On the 1911 census the family are living at 25 Rochester Street, Northam, Southampton. Joseph is described as a Boots (Steward) for the American Line.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 25 Rochester Street, Southampton. His last ship had been the Oceanic. As a pantry steward, he received monthly wages of £3 15s. His brother Albert Akerman was a third-class steward on the Titanic.
Joseph Akerman and his brother both died in the sinking. Only Joseph's body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett (#205) and he was buried at Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 6 May 1912.
NO. 205 - MALE - ESTIMATED AGE, 44 - DARK HAIR, LIGHT MOUSTACHE
CLOTHING - Grey overcoat; check pants; green coat and vest; tooth brush; discharges from Oceanic.
NAME - J. Ackerman
Joseph's widow Emily had been pregnant at the time of the Titanic disaster. She gave birth on 16 December 1912 to a son who would be named after his father. Emily never remarried and remained in Southampton where she died in 1951.
Joseph's daughter Lillian was married in 1919 to Bert Cole and they had one son. Gladys Akerman was married in 1922 to Walter Bartlett and they had three children. William Frank Akerman was married in 1932 to Ena Bulbrooke and they had three children; he died in 1980 in Southampton. Vera May Akerman died in Southampton in 1918 aged 9. Herbert George Akerman married Amelia Andrews in 1939 and had four children; he died in 1993 in Southampton. Joseph Francis Jr never married. He died in Southampton in 1983.
Joseph is also remembered on the St Augustine Church Memorial, Southampton.