Discover fascinating details about passengers and crew who sailed aboard the doomed ship in our new Titanic Collection. From occupations, names and ages of those who bought a coveted ticket to death records and coroner’s inquest files of those who lost their lives, you’ll find a story both tragic and heroic. You might even find your own connection to the most famous maritime disaster in history.
You probably have a family member that ventured out to sea – and landed safely in port. Search our 200 million Immigration and Travel records for your ancestors.
Rumors have always swirled around the “unsinkable” ship. But are they true? Our experts expose the real story of the top myths.
Truth: The Titanic had 20 lifeboats in total and met the standard legal requirements of the time despite only having the capacity to save 1,178 out of its 2,224 passengers. However, on the night of the disaster only 705 people were saved due to a lack of suitable manpower, half-full lifeboats and inadequate disaster training.
Truth: There were binoculars on board, however they were locked inside a cabin of the ship’s original second officer, David Blair.
Truth: This was not a claim made by Harland & Wolff, the shipbuilders, or White Star Line, the owners but by The “Irish News and Belfast Morning News” who described the system of watertight compartments and electrically controlled watertight doors as making the ship “practically unsinkable." That same month, "Shipbuilder" magazine devoted an entire issue to Titanic and offered the same assessment.
Truth: No White Star Line ships were ever ‘christened’ in this way.
Truth: There may be some truth to this myth. Reports suggest that the band played until 2am, 20 minutes before the ship sank, however they had to stop playing as the deck began to tilt.
Truth: The maximum speed of the Titanic was 21 knots. Others ships at this time recorded speeds of up to 26 knots so the crew would not have been attempting to break a record in a slow ship. Moreover, not all of the ships engines were even lit on the night that it sank.
Truth: Though more third-class passengers did perish, this was for a number of reasons. Many didn’t speak enough English to understand escape instructions and many had cabins in the lower portion of the ship making it harder for them to reach the top decks.
Truth: The Titanic's hull number was 401. Her Board of Trade registration number was 131,428. No combination would spell "NO POPE" in a mirror.
Truth: This famed deep-blue diamond was in Washington in the possession of socialite Mrs Evelyn McLean and not on board the Titanic when it sank.
Truth: The iceberg did not cause a singular 300-foot gash. Instead it scraped along the side of the ship causing irreparable damage by popping open the rivets and allowing water in.
Nothing fancy, just a piece of paper or Word document will do. Fill it in with information you already know or gather about the event and your family.
When did it happen? Where did it occur? How many people where there? Dig into the history a little further and add more interesting details to your timeline. A great resource for Titanic information is www.encyclopedia-titanica.org.
Then eyeball everything, trying to pick out the people in your family who would have been near the area at the time of the event. Also note your specific ancestors who supposedly had a connection to the Titanic and your relationship to them.
Start at the present – yourself, your parents, your grandparents – even if the event took place 100 years ago or more. Once you have a paper trail to follow that tells you who was where, how old and when, start searching through records from our Titanic Collection. Then look for the people from your own family who you think were most likely to be present when it happened to find your personal connection.