Mr William Swan was born in Ballymena, Co Antrim, Ireland in 1863.1
He was the son of William Swan (b. 1828) and Rose Anna Caldwell (b. 1838) who had married in 1859. His father was a publican and ran the White Swan public house in Ballymena's Bridge Street for many years.
His known siblings were: Rose Ann (b. 13 March 1864), Agnes (b. 15 April 1865), John (b. 21 March 1866), Robert (b. 3 October 1867), Andrew (b. 3 January 1869) and Elizabeth (b. 8 January 1871).
As per family lore William and his brothers Robert, Andrew and John, were staunch Orange Men but to which lodge they were attached is not known. However, they all left Irish shores in the 1880s with William settling in Liverpool where it appears he may already have had family. His father died on 25 March 1889 and his mother later settled in Vancouver, British Columbia where she died on 18 February 1927.
William was married in West Derby in 1888 to Mary Elizabeth Caldwell (b. 18 November 1866), a native of Bevington, Lancashire, and their only child, William Douglas, was born in 1890. The family appear on the 1891 census living at 20 Eton Street, Walton, Liverpool and William was described as a sea steward. Also living with them was his brother Andrew, a corn van driver.
He had been at sea since at least the mid-1880s and first appears on record in January 1886 when he was a waiter aboard the Servia. By July 1889 he was a waiter aboard the Pavonia before beginning a career of several years aboard the Lucania, his presence aboard that ship being recorded up until 1898 when his address was 76 Delaney Street, Liverpool. By 1903 and into the following year he was second cabin steward aboard the Lake Erie and his address was then 57 Seymour Street.
William is absent from the 1911 census; his wife was recorded as residing with her brother-in-law John Caldwell Swan, a marine engineer, at 9 Riddick Road, Litherland, Lancashire.
William initially signed-on to the Titanic in Belfast on 1 April 1912 for the delivery trip, and again on 4 April for the maiden voyage. He gave his local address as 174 Shirley Road, Southampton but his permanent address was 62 Hale Road, Walton, Liverpool (the home address of his mother-in-law Sarah Benson Caldwell on the 1911 census). His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a first class steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
William Swan died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
His widow Mary is not known to have remarried and it is believed she died in Liverpool in the 1950s.
His son William Douglas was later married, raised a large family and worked as a radio engineer. He died in 1967 in Wallasey, Cheshire.