Miss Catherine Buckley was born in Springmount, Ovens, Co Cork, Ireland on 6 March 1889.1
Coming from a Roman Catholic family that was fluent in both Irish and English, Catherine was the daughter of Jeremiah Buckley (b. circa 1841), a farm labourer, and Julia Mahony (b. circa 1851), Cork natives who were married around 1883, and she had just one sibling, her elder brother Daniel (b. 22 July 1886).
Her father was first married to Ellen Collins (?-?) and from that relationship she had an elder half-sister, Margaret (b. 21 February 1880). The family appear on the 1901 census living at house 30, Knockanemore, Ovens and on the 1911 census at house 26 in Knockanemore. Catherine was not listed with her family on the latter census and was supposedly living and working in a nearby town as a servant.
Making plans to join her half-sister Margaret, a cook who at emigrated at the turn of the century and who lived at 71 Montview Street in Roxbury near Boston, Massachusetts, Catherine originally purchased a ticket to travel aboard Cymric, travelling direct to Boston. Her plans soon changed due to the ongoing coal strike and she was given passage aboard Titanic as a third class passenger (ticket number 329944 which cost £7, 5s, 8d). Margaret had sent the money for Catherine's ticket.
Catherine Buckley died in the sinking. Her body (#299) was recovered by the MacKay-Bennett on 28 April 1912 before being returned to her sister Margaret in Boston.
NO. 299. - FEMALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 18. - FALSE TEETH, TOP; HAIR, DARK.
CLOTHING - Long blue overcoat; blue serge jacket and skirt; white blouse; blue corsets; grey knickers; 10s. in silver; £1 in gold; $5 note in purse; satchel; third class ticket No. 329944.
NAME - CATHERINE BUCKLEY.
Her body was returned to Halifax and forwarded on 3 May 1912 to Boston at the request of Miss Buckley's sister, Margaret, 71 Montview St., Roxbury, Massachusetts. She was buried in an unmarked grave in St Joseph's Cemetery.
Catherine's aged parents back in Ireland laid the blame for her death at the feet of her half-sister Margaret and she was disowned. Returning to Ireland that Christmas, Margaret was reportedly turned from the door. She returned to Massachusetts and in 1914 was married to gardener Maurice Dowd, a fellow Irish migrant. They settled in Boston and had three children. Margaret died in the 1920s.
In 2010 the Titanic International Society marked Catherine's final resting place with a headstone; it reads:
JUNE 3, 1889 - APR 15, 1912
LOST ON RMS TITANIC