Thursday, April 12, 2012

Titanic Sinks

source unknown

Don't many of us have a Titanic tale in our family history? Our family story goes something like this; William H. Johnstone came over in April 1912. Family lore has his wife and children turned away at the docks due to Ellen Johnstone being too sick to travel. It all seemed so romantic until the ships' passenger lists were found and the math was done. William did come over in April of 1912. In fact, he came one week before the Titanic disaster, arriving on 7 Apr 1912. He disembarked in Halifax Nova Scotia, not New York and he traveled on the ship Grampian, of the Allan Shipping Line.

In June of 1913, Mary Alice, Stephen (age 3), and Ellen (age 1) Johnstone and Mary Alice's mother Mary Coleman, came to Quebec on the ship Laurentic, of the White Star Line.

 It seems that the horrific news of the sinking of the Titanic at nearly the same time William was sailing would have sent shivers of fear through the family. I think that the story probably grew and morphed over the years, like a game of telephone. The fact that Steve and Ellen were so small probably contributed to the misunderstanding. An interesting fact about the Laurentic; on 25 Jan 1917, it was sunk by a mine off the north coast of Ireland with a loss of 350 lives. I'm not sure if this factors into the family lore, but it's worth noting.

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