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 and his father was then described as a printer by trade. Thomas 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.
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. 1909).
On the 1911 census Thomas, 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. He was at this time described as a ship's steward.
Thomas 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 Criterion Res., (Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic. As a bath steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s.
Major died in the sinking. 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 S. 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.
Geoff Whitfield, UK
References and SourcesAgreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)