Mr Louis Kinsella

Mr Louis Kinsella (sometimes listed as Lewis) was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England on 10 September 1881 and was baptised 9 days later in Our Lady of Reconciliation Church. 

He was the son of Richard Kinsella (1844-1930) and Rose Anne Clarke (1857-1946). Louis' father, a marine fireman, was a native of Dublin, Ireland and his mother from Liverpool and they married in Liverpool several months before his birth on 23 June 1881 in the same church where he was later baptised. 

He was one of eight children born to his parents, his siblings being: Mary (b. 1884), Bernard (b. 1885), George (b. 1888), Elizabeth Ann (b. 1891), Margaret (b. 1894), Edward (b. 1896) and Ellen (b. 1898).

Louis and his family appear on the 1891 census living at 29 Barmouth Street, Liverpool; by the time of the 1901 census Louis and his family were living at 9 Penistone Terrace, Liverpool and he was then described as a steamship stoker.

He first appears on record as a trimmer aboard the Pinemore in January 1899, stating his address at the time as 29 Steel Street and later that year was a trimmer aboard Maplemore. By September 1902, and giving his address as 86 Boundary Street, Kinsella was a trimmer aboard the Hanoverian. He appears as a fireman on an April 1907 voyage of the Majestic, his address at the time being listed as 27 Rachael Street.

Louis was married in St Anthony's Church, Liverpool on 23 September 1903 to Ann Barbara Barlow (b. 31 July 1884 in Liverpool). The marriage was troubled from the outset and only a week later Louis reportedly left the home and went to sea for four years, his wife reportedly not hearing from him during that period. 

Later returning home for various intervals from around 1907, following a voyage in 1909 and during a stay at home he "broke up the home," he going away again and only sending support money intermittently. Later that year, following another short voyage, Kinsella returned home and was confronted by his wife who demanded to know what he was going to do for she and her children. Under the influence of alcohol, an argument ensued and Louis picked up a blade and stabbed his wife; his actions earned him two months' imprisonment. After that Mrs Kinsella reportedly never saw her husband again; curiously though he is listed on the 1911 census, described as a marine fireman and living with wife Barbara and three children at 24 St Martin's Place, Liverpool.

Kinsella's prolonged absences from his home place raise several questions; that of his appearance on the 1911 census and that of the three children reported at the time: Rose Ann (b. 5 February 1904), Julia (b. 16 August 1905) and John (b. 11 July 1908). He was listed as the father of Rose Ann and Julia when they were both baptised in St Sylvester's, Liverpool; a baptismal record for John has not been identified. Another child, although unidentified, apparently died in early infancy. It was only after Louis' death that his widow made the confession that the children were, unsurprisingly, not his and that they had been fathered by another seaman by the name of John Riley. 

When Louis signed on to the Titanic he gave his address as 7 Canal Walk, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Aragon. Kinsella and his colleagues Lloyd, Geer, Witt, Black and Hosgood were taken on as substitutes at the last minute after six of the "signed-on" crew arrived late for the sailing.

Louis Kinsella died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His widow's claims for compensation were later disqualified:


A case in which the widow of a Titanic fireman named Lewis Kinsella was proven to have, by her conduct, debarred herself from any claim to compensation, came before Judge Shand in the Liverpool County Court yesterday. The parents of the dead man claimed to rank as dependents, and the White Star Company paid into the court on their behalf £58, 10s. The company, however, declined to acknowledge the dependency of the widow Barbara Kinsella, who claimed to be entitled to compensation allowance. Mr (
illegibile) (instructed by Messrs Lynskey and Sons appears for Mrs Kinsella, Mr A. H. Maxwell (instructed by Messrs Weightman Pedder, and Company) represented the White Star Company, and Mr Hill Dickinson for the parents...
... In cross-examination by Mr Maxwell, Mrs Maxwell admitted having had three children by another seaman named Riley, but she denied that Riley supported her or had lived with her.
The judge said that obviously the widow was not a dependent of the deceased, and after hearing arguments by counsel, he ruled that the children also were not dependents. The woman had never intended to look to her husband for their support.
The £58, 10s was ordered to be paid to the parents.
(Liverpool Echo, 6 July 1912)

With financial assistance denied, Barbara Kinsella was later remarried the following year on 23 July 1913 in St Sylvester's Church to John Riley (b. 9 October 1872), the father of her children. She continued to live in Liverpool, her 1939 address being listed as 52 Doncaster Street and her last address as 55 Latimer Street. She lived a long life and died in Liverpool on 2 February 1975 aged 90.

Her daughter Rose Ann was married in 1923 to Walter Herbert Wilson and had six children, one of which (Louis b. 1926) was named after his lost "grandfather". Rose Kinsella Wilson died aged 36 in Liverpool in 1940.

Julia Kinsella was married in 1928 to Denis O'Brien (b. 1902), a ship's fireman and had a large family, again one child being named Louis (b. 1929); Julia died in Liverpool in 1969. 

What became of John Kinsella is uncertain; he may have married and died in Liverpool in the 1980s although this is not clear and there is a possibility he died as a child.


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Gavin Bell, UK

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(2020) Louis Kinsella Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1552, updated 13th January 2020 05:50:39 AM)