Mr Thomas Edgar Major

Mr Thomas Edgar Major was born in Stoke Newington, Middlesex, England in the last months of 1876. He was the son of Thomas Rowe Major (1848-1893) and Mary Simmonds (1851-?).

Both his parents were natives of Dorset and had married in St George's Church, Fordington on Boxing Day 1871 when his father was described as a printer by trade. He had three known siblings: William Henry  (b. 1874), George Herbert (b. 1880) and Mary Anne (b. 1883).

Thomas first appears on the 1881 census when he was living at 17 St George's Terrace, Islington. The family would shift to 13 Melgund (?) Road, Islington by the time of the next census in 1891. Thomas, aged 14, had already left school and was working as a clerk. His father passed away in 1893 and the family show up on the 1901 census living at Colne (?) House, Islington, his mother dressmaking to support the household; Thomas was absent, perhaps at sea.

Although not certain with Major first went to sea he first appears on crew manifests in July 1902 when he was working as a waiter aboard Campania, specifying his local address as 17 Roxburgh Avenue, Liverpool and his ship prior to that as Soudan.

Thomas was married in London in late 1907 to Elizabeth Jane Shoard (b. 1879 in Clerkenwell, Middlesex) and the couple would have one child, a daughter named Pearl Georgina Elizabeth (b. 8 October 1909).

On the 1911 census he, his wife and daughter were listed as living at 9 Old Park Villas, Palmers Green, North London, the home of his widowed mother-in-law Sarah Shoard, and he was described as a ship's steward.

Thomas was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton and when he signed-on again in Southampton for the maiden voyage on 4 April 1912 he gave his address as Criterion Res., (Southampton). His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a bath steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.

Thomas Major died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

What became of his widow Elizabeth is not certain but she may have remarried several years later.

His daughter Pearl was married in 1930 to Robert Spearmint Leach and is thought to have had one child. Her second marriage was in 1960 to Ralph Griffin. Pearl settled in Hove, Sussex and died there in 1989 aged 79.


Comment and discuss

  1. Mrs D Lack said:

    Is there any known photo's of Thomas Edgar Major as I am a relative of his and would like to know what he looked like. I also understand he sailed on the Olympic so would there be any photo's of the crew members from that.

  2. Mr Major said:

    I'm another Major born and raised in Northern Ireland and was also curious to know if any photos of either Thomas Edgar Major or surviving crew steward William Major?

  3. Nigel Moore said:

    Hi Mrs D Lack, Mr Thomas Edgar Major is my great great uncle. Basically My mums dad father is the brother of Mr Thomas Edgar Major bath steward on the titanic. here is a photo of his brother, who I’m not yet sure of his name, as my mum is Trying to contact other family members to get his name. What I can say... Read full post


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Gavin Bell, UK
Geoff Whitfield, UK

References and Sources

Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2017) Thomas Edgar Major (ref: #1985, last updated: 17th November 2017, accessed 2nd August 2020 03:04:36 AM)