Thomas Henry Porteus was born in West Hartlepool, Durham on 21 May 1878 and was christened on 16 June the same year in St. James' Church in West Hartlepool. He was the son of Sunley Porteus (b. 1838 in Kirby Moorside, near Helmsley) and Elizabeth Betsy Moody (b. 1840 in South Otterington, near Thirsk), both of North Yorkshire who had married in York in 1860, living in Stokesley, Yorkshire for a while before settling in West Hartlepool around 1864 where most of their children were born.
Sunley and Elizabeth Porteus had at least nine children: James (b. 1863), Robert (b. 1865), George Simley (b. 1867), Ada (b. 1870), Ann Elizabeth (b. 1872), Edward (b. 1876), Annie May (b. 1881), Clara Ellen (b. 1885) and Thomas.
On the 1881 census Thomas and his family are living at Burbank Street in Stranton, West Hartlepool and his father is described as a wood turner. The entire family appear to be absent by the time of the 1891 census but return for the 1901 census living at an address in Rochdale, Lancashire, with Thomas now described as a butcher. The family seem to disappear again for the 1911 census.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Thomas gave his address as 20 Upper Bugle Street, Southampton1. His last ship had been the Oceanic. As assistant butcher he received monthly wages of £4 10s. For reasons unknown he signed on as "T. Parker".
Porteus, who was unmarried, died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
His parents continued to live in Rochdale. His mother died in 1916 followed by his father in 1920.