Encyclopedia Titanica

Joseph Francis Akerman

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.


CLOTHING - Grey overcoat; check pants; green coat and vest; tooth brush; discharges from Oceanic.

NAME - J. Ackerman

Akerman Grave
Grave No. 205 J. Akerman
(Courtesy: Bob Knuckle, Canada)

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.

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Joseph Francis Akerman (Frank)
Age: 37 years 11 months and 1 day (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Emily Kate Francis
Last Residence: at 25 Rochester Street Southampton, Hampshire, England
Last Ship: Oceanic
Embarked: Southampton on Thursday 4th April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body recovered by: Mackay-Bennett (No. 205)
Buried: Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on Monday 6th May 1912

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Documents and Certificates

(1912) Record of Bodies and Effects (Passengers and Crew S.S. "Titanic") Recovered by Cable Steamer "MacKay Bennett" Including Bodies Buried at Sea and Bodies Delivered at Morgue in Halifax, N.S.
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Comment and discuss

  1. Paul Dorey

    Paul Dorey said:

    Akerman J was my great grandfather and I was most surprised when I visited Halifax recently to find that his body had been recovered. We had always assumed he went down with the Ship. It doesn't seem to be noted anywhere that Akerman A who also perished was his brother. Paul Dorey Canada

  2. Alan Akerman [ grandson ]

    Alan Akerman [ grandson ] said:

    Re: it appears the name on the headstone is incorrectly spelt ie Ackerman and not Akerman Can this be corrected after all this time, I would like to think it could for the benefit of all his grand great grand and great great children and all future generations.

  3. Ernie Luck

    Ernie Luck said:

    Alan >>Re: Joseph Francis Akerman

  4. Bob Godfrey

    Bob Godfrey said:

    Standard spellings even of names are in any case a fairly recent development. Nineteenth century records like census returns and birth certificates often have names spelled at the whim of a particular clerk who needed to record details of people who were themselves illiterate and to whom the question "How do you spell that?" meant nothing.

  5. Gordon Akerman

    Gordon Akerman said:

    William Frank Akerman was my father he was the son of Joseph Francis Akerman and my Mother & Father had 5 children ie Beryl,Brenda,Geoff,Ken and me Gordon

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Gavin Bell, UK
Bob Knuckle, Canada