Mr Robert Mernagh (also spelled Merna or Mearna) was born in the village of Ballywilliam near New Ross, Co Wexford, Ireland on 30 December 1883.
Hailing from a Roman Catholic family, he was the son of Matthew Mernagh (b. circa 1830), a farm labourer, and Mary Doyle (b. circa 1840), both Wexford natives who had married in Enniscorthy on 16 January 1869.
One of nine children, Robert’s known siblings were: Anne (b. 29 October 1869), Patrick (b. 11 May 1871), James (b. 2 September 1872), Patrick (b. 24 February 1875), Matthew (b. 4 April 1877) and Mary1 (b. 17 September 1879). The elder of his two brothers named Patrick was a poorly child and died aged two years in December 1873.
Robert appears on the 1901 census as a farm servant living at 17 Ballynabearna, Barrack, Wexford. He later left Ireland on 8 May 1910 aboard the Celtic, bound for Chicago where his brother Matthew had lived since 1905 and was described as standing at 5’ 8” and having brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.
His parents appeared on the 1911 census living at 7 in Ballyleigh, Wexford and they were described as illiterate farmers and it is likely Robert visited them at this address when he returned home for a visit in late 1911. For his return voyage to the USA he would be accompanying his maternal first-cousin Elizabeth Doyle who was also travelling to Chicago.
Mernagh boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as a third class passenger (ticket number 368703, £7, 15s).
Robert Mernagh, and his cousin Elizabeth Doyle, died in the disaster; his body, if recovered, was never identified.
His estate, valued at £30, was administered to his father Matthew on 10 April 1913. Matthew Mernagh later died on 23 April 1916 whilst his widow rallied for a further two decades until her death in 1938. His brother Matthew remained in Chicago until his death on 11 October 1936.