Mr Sydney Frederick Stebbings was born in Edmonton, Middlesex, England in the latter half of 1876 and his birth was registered in the last quarter of that year.
He was the son of James Stebbings (1830-1888) and Jane Elizabeth Moody (1834-1880). His father was native of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire and his mother from Bath, Somerset and they were married on 6 May 1855 in Southwark.
Sydney had at least five siblings: Jane Rachel (b. 1857), Louisa Rhoda (b. 1860), Connie R. (b. 1865), Rhoda Eleanor (b. 1869) and Charles James (b. 1872).
Sydney's mother passed away in 1880 aged 46 and the following year, for the 1881 census, the remaining family are living at 5 Prospect Place, Edmonton, with James Stebbings being described as an unemployed linen cutter. His father passed away in 1888, seemingly leaving Sydney's eldest surviving sisters to raise him.
On the 1891 census Sydney, aged 14, is listed as a pupil at Chase Farm School in Enfield, Middlesex. His sister Jane is listed as a servant living at an address in Penge, London; she would marry a William Spencer in 1894 in Croydon and raise a family of her own.
When Sydney went to sea is not clear but he appears on crew records as early as June 1900 when he was serving as a steward aboard Cymric; his ship prior to that had been Ionic and the address he gave around this time was 34 Crown Street.
Sydney does not appear on the 1901 census, presumably at sea at the time. He was married that year on 1 November in St Anne's Roman Catholic Church, Liverpool to Annie Maria Boucher (b. 28 July 1873), a native of that city. They had three children: Thomas Joseph Boucher (b. 1 February 1903), Winifred Mary (b. 1907) and Sydney Frederick (b. 9 December, 1909). At the time of the birth of his eldest child he was living at 39 Plimsoll Street. The family resided in Liverpool until around 1908 before their move to Southampton where White Star Line's main dock had relocated to.
On the 1911 census Sydney is absent, but his wife and children are resident at 25 Richville Road, Shirley, Southampton.
He was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed-on again, in Southampton, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 25 Richville Road, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic. As chief boots he received monthly wages of £4, 5s.
Stebbings died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. The following death notice appeared in the Hampshire Advertiser (27 April 1912):
Stebbings--On the 15th inst., on the s.s. Titanic, Sydney Frederick Stebbings, 25 Richville road, Shirley, Southampton.
and this from the Southern Daily Echo (26 April 1912):
STEBBINGS--On April 15th, 1912, on the S.S. Titanic, Sydney Frederick, the dearly beloved husband of Annie Stebbings, 25 Richville road, Shirley, Southampton. Sadly missed by his wife and young children. A voice we loved is stilled. Liverpool papers please copy.
Sydney's widow Annie Maria did not remarry and she relocated her family back to her native Liverpool. She later lived at 130 Devonfield Road, Walton and died in the Royal Southern Hospital, Liverpool on 14 December 1945, leaving an estate worth £746 13s 9d to her daughter Winifred.
His son Thomas later became a shipping clerk and travelled back and forth across the Atlantic frequently; ships he travelled aboard included Queen Elizabeth, Majestic, Homeric and OIympic. What became of him is not certain but he married Joan Laura Steven (b. 1915) and had two children, Sheila Ann and Peter Frederick. They settled in New York, also having spent some time living in Geneva. His wife died in San Diego, California on 17 July 1977.
Sydney's daughter Winifred was married in 1927 to Francis Thomas Dumbleton and they had three sons, including a set of twins, one of whom was named for his lost grandfather. Winifred died in Liverpool in 1967.
His son Sydney married Louisa McEvoy in 1939 but is not known to have had any children. He died in Wallasey, Cheshire on 15 December 1983.
References and SourcesAgreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)