Mr William John Taylor was born in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England on 18 February 1881.
He was the son of John Taylor (b. 1851 in Cookham, Berkshire) and Emily, whose maiden name was also Taylor (b. 1855 in Bishopstone, Wiltshire). They were married in London in 1877.
William had three known siblings: Mildred Annie (b. 1878), Walter Colston (b. 1882) and Martha Emily (b. 1883).
William first appears on the 1881 census living with his parents and sister Mildred and his paternal grandparents John and Ann Taylor's house in High Street, Cookham, Berkshire and his father was described as a farmer's son. He was living with his family at 30 Turrell's (?) Buildings, Maidenhead at the time of the 1891 census; his father was absent and his mother was described as a cook. His father died sometime after this and before 1900 when his mother was remarried to Charles Strudwick (b. 1839 in Alton, Hampshire).
By the time of the 1901 census William was serving in the Royal Navy and was listed aboard the Majestic, berthed at that time in Gibraltar. Previously working as a billiard maker, Taylor first entered service on 4 October 1898 aboard the Boscawen, also serving aboard the Duke of Wellington and Victory before completing his service aboard Majestic on 31 December 1901. With descriptions of his conduct being average, he was shown to have spent at least two periods in the cells for misconduct. Physically he stood at 5' 3" and had dark brown hair with light blue eyes and a fresh complexion.
Taylor's mother, stepfather and siblings were listed on the 1901 census as living at "Sunny Lawn", Durley Road, Bournemouth where his parents ran a lodgings house. By the time of the 1911 census William was still unmarried but then listed as a visitor at 61, The Berries, Morris Road, Southampton and he was described as a sea steward.
William was married shortly after this census in Southampton to Emily Margaret Cole (b. 1 November 1881 in Southampton), a dressmaker who was the daughter of William Cole and Eliza Cundy. They would have no children.
When he signed-on to the Titanic on 4 April 1912 Taylor gave his address as 42 Morris Road, Southampton. His permanent address was Sunny Lawn, 6 Durley Road, Bournemouth, the home of his mother and stepfather. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a saloon steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
William Taylor died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
His mother continued to live at Sunny Lawn, Bournemouth and died there on 20 January 1924.
William's widow Emily remained a widow for close to a decade before she remarried in 1921 to merchant Arthur George Coles (b. 26 May 1881) and in later years they made their home at Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire. Emily died at her home on 26 April 1964 at the age of 82; her widower Arthur passed just a few months later on 21 July 1964.