It’s just now, after all these years, that I am able to write about it. This is not to mean that it was traumatic or something. It’s just that I recently was given permission to do so.
I’m not really sure where to begin except to say that it all started back in the late 1990s while I was traveling and stuck at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was heading from Savannah, Georgia to Albany, New York on business for the computer networking company my husband and I owned at the time. This contract meant a lot to us and it would be the biggest one we reeled in (we got the contract, by the way!).
Anyway, like I said, I was stuck in Charlotte because of a mechanical problem and had just been informed that it was going to be a couple of hours. So I headed to a lounge to get a drink. When I got to the bar I ordered a wine and looked around for a place to sit and maybe do some reading. That’s when I noticed a lady, probably in her late 20s, sitting across the room. I had seen her at our gate when we were first told about the mechanical problem. Wondering if she knew the bad news about the further delay I headed over to speak with her.
When I got to her table I introduced myself and told her the latest on the flight delay. She just shook her head and said, “Naturally. And there are no other flights tonight to Albany. I already looked into it.” She invited me to sit and we got to know each other. She was a very pretty green-eyed brunette, and about 5 and a half feet tall. My husband said later after he met her that she reminded him of the actress from back around the 1940s named Hedy Lamarr. I didn’t recognize the name but after I looked her up I was quite surprised at how much she did look like her.
We had a couple of glasses of wine and relaxed, as did our tongues. I hadn’t felt this comfortable with another female in years, and we were both enjoying it. Over the next couple of days we would end up telling each other things that I doubt we had told anyone ever, or at least in a very long time. I really liked her, and still do. We keep in touch and visit when we can, which isn’t as often as we’d both like. I will call her Katie, but that’s not her real name. As a matter of fact, except for mine (Preva), none of the names are their real names.
At one point during the conversation she reached into a leather bag next to her purse to retrieve a pack of cigarettes (we both still smoked back then although neither do now) and while the bag was open I noticed an odd shaped container. Naturally I had to ask her about it. She pulled it out to show me and then set it on the table, telling me that it was an urn. If it was, then it was the oddest one I’d ever seen. The shape of it was more of an upright, slightly oblong cylinder. Katie confirmed it was an urn and that it had been specially made for her great-grandmother, Rose.
I looked again at the urn. About the top 20 to 30 percent of it was basically black, maybe slightly towards gray. The rest of it? Well, I couldn’t decide if it wanted to be brown or yellow. I didn’t think I’d ever seen a color like that. Khaki with an attitude problem? A white star was emblazoned on one side in the middle of the “khaki” area. Directly opposite the star on the other side of the urn was a flower I recognized because I have some of them in my own flowerbed, an Asian Lilly called a Stargazer. It was beautifully rendered, too. It was quite obvious that this urn had been very expensive. I found out later that the Stargazer was Rose’s favorite flower.
Although the urn reminded me of something, I couldn’t put my finger on it. I told Katie this. She chuckled and said, “Think Titanic.” It was like a huge set of drapes opening in front of me to reveal a bright sunshiny day. “The smokestacks!” I squealed. She chuckled again, this time at me and my excitement over figuring it out. Then she got quiet for a moment and said, “Of all the places she went and the things she did in her life it was always her favorite time and place.” I was amazed. “Your great-grandmother was a Titanic survivor?” I asked her. Her reply made me slightly leery though when she said, “Yes, but you won’t find her name on any survivor list.” She saw the skeptical look I gave her. Later she told me that had the roles been reversed she would have been skeptical, too. “Just hear me out,” she pleaded. I got quiet and nodded.
Katie began, “You must understand that she required us to not publish anything about her story until after she and all of her children died. Her last child born was my grandfather, who is also the only child still alive. He was born in the early 1920s and is in his late 70s now. The other two are gone. One son died in WWII and my great aunt passed away last year from cancer. Neither Rose nor her children wanted the notoriety that would come, mostly because it would mean her mother would find out she was alive and that there were now grandchildren.” I stopped her to ask about why she didn’t want her mother to know she was alive. Katie replied, “I’ll get to that part soon.”
We both sipped our wine and then Katie continued, “After Rose found out about her mother’s death, she and the children weren’t interested in telling her story since they would have been labeled as frauds anyway because, until recently, it would have been extremely difficult to prove their story and there had been many frauds attempted against the White Star Line back in the day. Even some of the real survivors tried to milk every penny possible, such as having lost some imaginary valuable property.”
After lighting her cigarette Katie started again, “Rose and her children pretty much forgot about it until 1985 when the Titanic was found and interest in it swelled up again.” She paused a moment and then continued, “And it sure as hell didn’t help when that damn movie came out recently. When she watched it she did nothing but cry most of the way through it, especially any scenes with Rose and Jack. That’s not to say it was accurate, but it still made her think of Jack. Also the huge loss of life affected her deeply because she actually knew people on the Titanic.”
I was astonished and I whispered, “You’re saying that Jack was real?” We were whispering by this point because Katie wanted this discussion as private as possible. She seemed almost paranoid about it. “Yes,” she replied, but then continued, “there was a real person that Jack represents. Although it wasn’t his normal line of work, his true passion was art and he was working as an artist on his way home.” At this point I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about her story, or even her. I’ve always been a good judge of people and it has served me well. In Katie’s case, I could feel her sincerity as she told the story and I really wanted to believe her. So I just ordered us another wine, hopefully our last, sat back and listened.
After the wine showed up, Katie took a sip and continued, “I guess the place to start is the beginning and not get too confused by jumping around.” I nodded in agreement and after sipping her wine again Katie started. “Rose was born in England in 1895.” I immediately interrupted her with, “That makes her only 17 when she went on the Titanic!” Katie nodded and replied, “And she had just turned 17 when she boarded the Titanic. Her ticket was 2nd class, by the way, not 1st. I don’t know what age she used when she bought the ticket. I don’t think that she ever told us. She had told Jack, though, that she was 19 and never told him the truth. He was 24, and she didn’t want to scare him off.” The look of amazement on my face made her pause and smile.
Starting again, Katie said “Rose was an only child. Her family was not rich, but they weren’t poor either. Her father, Connor, was some kind of shop owner, but I’m not sure what kind. I’m not even sure that Rose ever really knew since she was so young. She absolutely adored her father. Now, don’t get me wrong, she loved her mother, but it was her father that created most of her positive childhood memories. When Rose was 9 or 10, her father gave her a really nice necklace for her birthday. It wasn’t extremely expensive, but it was very expensive for him. Anyway, he showed her a secret compartment behind one of the jewels that could be used as a locket. She even managed to get a small picture of her father put into it later.”
Katie added, “She loved this necklace more than anything she ever owned, then or since. That was probably because of what happened right afterwards. That night, after dinner, Connor started coughing heavily and got a high fever. He got worse quickly and was gone two days later. Until the day she died, she got depressed around her birthday every single year.”
Katie paused to light a cigarette and got started again, “Her mother, Cora, was most definitely not a business woman, but she did manage to sell the shop for a tidy profit, hoping this would last her and Rose until she could get remarried. The following year Cora did manage to snag an older gentleman named Dylan, who was somehow or another tied into lower-level royalty. Rose said he was nice enough and sincerely tried to treat her like his daughter, even buying her a lot of expensive jewelry. Rose appreciated his kindness but of course no jewelry could ever compete with the cheaper one her father had given her. Old Dylan may have had connections, but he ended up not too lucky in the business world and within two or three years they were almost broke.”
Another sip and Katie continued once more, “About a year before the Titanic sailed, a well-heeled, well-connected young man became infatuated with Rose. They had met through a relative of her step-father’s. She liked him well enough but most definitely didn’t love him. So you see how this part of the story is partially like the movie?” “Absolutely,” I replied but added, “but how much was he like the Cal character in the movie?” Katie thought for a few seconds, squinting her face a little before replying, “Not much really. He was only about 19 or 20 at the time. And, believe it or not, Rose always said that he was actually a pretty nice guy. He just wasn’t the one for her.”
Katie took a restroom break and when she returned she continued, “When Rose went on the Titanic it was more to get away from her mother than Cal. Her mother wanted the marriage, and in a big way. Cora’s husband, Dylan, had died not too long before Rose boarded the Titanic and Cora felt that she herself had zero prospects. Rose knew it would be just a matter of time before her mother got her to marry Cal or someone else. This part of the story fits the movie, too. More or less,” she finished.
We both sat quietly for a few minutes, sipping the wine and thinking. Finally Katie started anew, “When she got on the Titanic no one knew she was there.” I looked at Katie inquisitively. She responded to my look with a chuckle and said, “I don’t mean no one on the Titanic knew, of course. I mean her mother, Cal, or any of her friends. As far as they all knew she was taking another trip to France, which was where she would always go on holiday. She had initially planned this as a trip to figure things out, but deep down she knew that she wasn’t coming back. In preparation for this she had brought along every piece of jewelry she owned. Between birthdays and gifts from a few suitors she had ended up with quite a bit. She planned to use the jewelry to get started in America. It literally was a small fortune.”
The wine ran out so we figured it was a good time to check on our flight. During the walk I asked her why she was going to Albany with Rose’s ashes. She said, “Oh! I totally forgot to tell you about that! Do you remember the part where Jack tells Rose about that lake in Wisconsin?” I nodded and said, “Sure.” Katie continued, “Well, Jack was not from Wisconsin but from upstate New York. The real lake was Cranberry Lake. The lake in the movie was actually a man-made lake that wasn’t even created until after the Titanic sank. He grew up in the countryside near a small town called Newton Falls, which is near Cranberry Lake. Rose wanted her ashes spread in that lake because Jack had spent so much time there growing up.” She then added, “When I get to Albany I’m going to rent a car and drive up there and spend a couple days getting to know Jack’s old stomping grounds.” This story was just blowing me away.
We got to the desk and discovered that the flight was being cancelled. We weren’t exactly surprised, but at least they were putting us up at a decent hotel nearby. We got our bags, found the shuttle bus, and headed for the hotel. On the way we decided not to talk about Rose due to prying ears. We also decided to grab dinner after getting settled into our rooms.
Katie found us a nice little Italian place nearby. We ordered and she then continued on with the story, “Like I said earlier, I don’t know if Rose lied about her age for the ticket, but she did use her real name for it. She wasn’t concerned about being followed, and even if they did, she had planned on changing her name anyway once she got to New York. Her first day was fairly quiet and she spent it exploring the ship. After the Titanic left Southampton it pulled into Cherbourg, France and then Queenstown, Ireland before it headed on out across the Atlantic. She told us she should have been a sailor because she never even once got queasy.” Katie even seemed proud of Rose when talking about this little fact. I had to smile at her.
She continued again, “In reality, Rose met Jack that first day at the back of the ship, but not while she was trying to jump off. He was sitting there doing charcoal drawings of passengers for a fee. Rose watched him for a while because he just seemed to be in his element and quite happy with life. He was also, to put it in modern terms, quite a hunk. This was especially true to an impressionable 17 year old girl. There was a short line waiting so she got in it. When it got to be her turn, she plopped down in the chair in front of him while he was arranging his art materials. When he looked up it was obvious to Rose that he was instantly smitten.” Katie chuckled, proud again of her great-grandmother. She then said, “Preva, I’ve seen old photos of Rose. She was quite stunning. Poor Jack never stood a chance,” she laughed as she finished. Just in time, too, because our meal showed up.
We made small talk during the meal. I found out Katie had grown up in Florida, was single and currently lived in South Carolina, near the North Carolina border. Her mother, Malayna, was recently widowed and lived with her. Her sisters, Makenzie and Delaney, were both married and lived near each other in Canada. As for her grandfather, Kaden, he still lived on his own in Florida, so all three of them got to see each other fairly regularly. Unfortunately, not her sisters in Canada so much.
After dinner we went back to the hotel and decided to both sleep in the same room so we could continue the story. My room was downstairs so Katie got her bags and brought them down. We got settled in, and Katie jumped right into it with, “Rose told me once that the first drawing he did of her wasn’t really that good, but that was because he so nervous while he was doing it. She said she saw his sketchbook later and even watched him draw some other people, and he was really, really talented. Rose just enjoyed the effect she had on him that first day!” We both had to laugh at that. I was really starting to like Rose.
I asked her about Jack’s story of how he got the ticket. “No truth to it,” Katie said but then added, “He was a part-time artist but made his normal living doing something else so he had paid his own way for a 2nd class ticket onto the Titanic. Because they both had 2nd class tickets there never was any problem with them seeing each other. According to Rose, from that first night on they spent half the time at sea in her cabin making love.” Katie was tickled at that part and then added, “As Rose used to say, ‘that man taught me everything.’ She would then giggle and say that he was ‘built to teach’.” Katie then mentioned, “To this day I’m not 100% sure exactly what Rose meant by that phrase. It can be taken a couple different ways.” Now I knew I liked Rose.
The next morning I was up first so I went out and got us both some coffee and doughnuts. When I got back she was just getting out of the shower. I gave her the coffee as she came over in her towel and sat next to me at the small table in the hotel room. “Where was I in the story?” she said after grabbing a doughnut. I reminded her of the ‘built to teach’ thing. She laughed and said, “Oh yeah! Anyway, when the ship hit the iceberg they were making love, again. Rose would like to say later that it seemed like the earth moved when they hit the iceberg but she had felt the earth move so many times in that cabin that she didn’t really know if it was the iceberg or not.” After a chuckle Katie sipped her coffee and bit into the doughnut. She then continued, “She and Jack ignored it at first, but after a while Jack just sensed something was wrong. They got dressed and went out. When they got outside and Jack got to see what was going on he seemed to know even then that the ship was going down. That is when he told her that story about Cranberry Lake and the cold water. He wanted her to understand how serious this was.”
Katie paused and sipped her coffee a bit then continued with the story, “Jack took her back to their cabin and made her dress warmly and put all of her jewels in her overcoat. Rose had told him her whole story earlier in the trip so he knew she was starting over. I really believe he knew he was going to die and he wanted her to be able to take care of herself since he wasn’t going to be able to. Once they got ready they headed back to the lifeboats. By this time he was able to get Rose loaded right into a lifeboat, although years later she couldn’t remember which one, only that it was on the starboard side.” “Starboard?,” I asked. Katie then explained to me that starboard is the right side of the ship when looking forward. We stopped here because Katie needed to dress while I got my shower. Afterwards we caught the shuttle to the airport and boarded our flight.
We weren’t sitting anywhere near each other on the flight so I caught up on some work. After we landed Katie and I met up. I had a proposition for her. If she could wait until morning I would love to go with her to the lake. She was quite grateful for the idea and agreed wholeheartedly. She hadn’t really wanted to go there by herself anyway. We went to get her rental car, and she then drove me to my meeting after we got our hotel room.
After my meeting she picked me up and we stopped for some take-out and went back to the room. After getting situated and sitting down with our dinners, Katie began where she left off. “Jack,” Katie said, “had assured her that he would get into a boat on the port side. Rose realized later, of course, that Jack wasn’t telling the truth and that he just wanted her to be safe and to get away from the ship. He was probably afraid she would do something crazy and go down with him on the ship.” We both stopped and thought about what had to be going through Rose’s mind at that time, or even Jack’s for that matter. It had to be heart-breaking.
Katie began again, “Rose told me that she knew he was lying when, as long as she was close enough to the ship to see, she never saw him move from that spot where he had put her into the lifeboat.” We paused a minute to take in that image. Katie then added, “This brings us to a critical part of the story. Rose had a habit of playing with her father’s necklace when she was nervous or upset. When she realized Jack was going to die she automatically reached for the necklace, and it was gone. Somewhere between the two trips from her cabin or climbing into the lifeboat she had lost it. This was double-devastation to her, especially since it held the only photo of her father she would ever have.”
Katie stopped to take a break and went outside to smoke (non-smoking room). I used the time to call my husband and explain what had been happening. He agreed that it would be interesting to pursue the rest of it. Besides, he was giddy from having gotten the call earlier confirming that we had gotten the contract. I then joined her outside.
Afterwards we went back in and she continued to tell me the story with, “She couldn’t bear watching the ship go down knowing that Jack was probably still standing there so she turned away and never saw it happen, the ship sink I mean. Later, while waiting for help to arrive, Rose decided to totally start over then instead of waiting to get to New York and she would do this by giving a fake name to their rescuers. This was the one way to make sure that anyone that knew her in England would believe she was dead. Once they were rescued by the Carpathia, she did just that. She used Jack’s mother’s first name and her father’s mother’s maiden name. It finally dawned on her a little later, though, that this name would not show up on the original passenger list. This could mean questions.”
Katie continued, “She had met a young officer on the Carpathia when they were first rescued whom she could tell was attracted to her. She paid him handsomely with jewelry to totally remove her from any and all lists. We aren’t really sure if she paid him with anything ‘else’, but Rose always talked about this part differently, almost ashamed I felt,” Katie hinted. She began again, “But at least she would walk off the Carpathia totally unknown and totally free. And it worked. She used that name for the rest of her life.” I pointed out to her how so much of her life was similar to the movie and then the crazy differences. She agreed and we finally turned in for the night.
We headed out the next morning after breakfast. We had already called and arranged for a room at a lodge at Cranberry Lake. From there we could get a boat, go out and spread Rose’s ashes and then take a trip to Newton Falls. On the drive Katie continued with the story, “The Carpathia was heading to Europe when they picked up the survivors but turned around and went back to New York instead. After arriving, Rose got off of the ship as quickly as possible and disappeared into the crowds. The young Carpathia officer had assisted her with this by passing her off as a regular passenger, not a Titanic survivor. The reporters were naturally more interested in the survivors.”
Katie continued, “She wandered around the city for a time, glad just to be on dry land. Eventually she found a room for the night. The next day she went to a shop she had passed while she was wandering around the day prior. She felt this place might buy some jewelry. He couldn’t but was able to direct her to a place that could. This worked out well, and she sold enough to get her by for quite some time.”
Katie got lost in thought for a bit and she forgot to start the story again, so I reminded her. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said and then continued, ” Rose spent three years traveling around, exploring America. She went to see places she’d read about, like Chicago, Texas, California, and countless small places in between. Eventually she ended up back in Jack’s home area. She just had to see it for herself. If she met any of his family, there was no way she could tell them about Jack because it would bring up questions about her. She felt bad about that because she felt the family should know. This caused her to change her mind and to end up settling in Ogdensburg, New York, which is right on the American side of the St. Lawrence river.”
We stopped and got lunch at a nice little seafood place then got back on the road. We would be at the lodge in no time. Meanwhile Katie returned to the story, “Rose ended up working at some company that hired her because she spoke fluent French. This was helpful with their Quebec customers and the ones in France (except during the war years). She always turned down any request to go to France on company business, though. She didn’t want to take any chances running into familiar faces. Meanwhile, WW1 started for the U.S.”
After a brief pause Katie began again, “This is 1918 now and she meets a young soldier home on leave named ‘Graysen’. He is shipping out in a week or so. There was instant attraction, Rose told me. They dated while he was home and they wrote while he was gone. She was terribly nervous for him while he was gone. But he did come home. They instantly got married and settled down. First born was my great-uncle ‘Luke’ in 1919 (the one that died in WW2) and then my great-aunt ‘Charlotte’ in 1920. Rose miscarried a baby early in 1922 and then had my grandfather in 1923, like I mentioned earlier. My great-grandfather, Graysen, passed away in the 1980s.”
We got to the lodge and checked in. It had started to get a little rainy on the way and after checking the weather we postponed the spreading of the ashes until the next day. We ended up just sitting around, enjoying the peace and we even talked about other things. It was Katie that drifted back to the subject. I think that talking about it seemed to relax her. It was almost like medicine to her. So anyway, she started with, “One thing I forgot to tell you was that when she first moved to Ogdensburg she started having the London and Paris newspapers mailed to her. She did that until about 2 years ago. That’s how she found out what happened to her mother, Cora. She hadn’t ended up in the poor house after all and had actually married well and died during the 1940s I think it was. Cal had gone on do well until WW1, where he ended up dying in the trenches in 1916 or 1917.”
She continued, “When the Titanic was found it opened up a lot of mixed feelings for her. Then when they started bringing up artifacts and displaying them in those traveling museum shows she became more troubled about it I think. But the truth was, she still secretly read anything she could find on it and would watch anything on TV about it. Then, just a few years ago, she was reading her French newspaper one morning and there was a small article about a French team that had brought up a few items from the debris field. One of those they described stunned her. I happened to be there when she read it. She started crying harder than I’d ever seen her do before. She was trembling, had both her hands over her mouth, and turned her head to me and looked like she had seen a ghost. She pointed to the paper and was shaking. I looked at it. There was no picture and I don’t speak French very well so I had to get her calmed down. She kept saying ‘They found it!’ When she finally got her breathing back to almost normal she explained they had found her father’s necklace. It was then I noticed that Rose was grabbing for the imaginary necklace around her neck and she didn’t realize she was doing it. This was the first time I had ever seen her do it. She had broken the habit decades ago.”
I didn’t know what to say to Katie at this point. She had started crying a little, remembering it all. I left her alone and went to the bar and got her something to drink. This seemed to help. After Katie relaxed a little, I asked her how Rose knew it was hers. Katie replied, “Because the basic description fit it perfectly. It was unique enough to not be mistaken. I managed to track down the French exploration outfit from the article and found a phone number. Rose had to make the call since she spoke French. My French is so bad I’d have probably started World War 3,” she remarked.
Katie then continued, “Apparently it was found lying on top of something large in the debris field. If it had landed in the sea bottom it would have been buried in the mud and never seen again. When she explained to them that it was hers they laughed and almost hung up. It was then she told them how to unlock the secret compartment. They didn’t know about it and it was hidden even more from the French because it hadn’t been fully cleaned yet. They took her number and called her back a few hours later, totally flabbergasted. She demanded the return of it. They agreed if she told them the truth because they were unable to find her on any lists. She told them to send one person, with the necklace, and she would give them the whole story. Preva, that is how badly she wanted her necklace back. She was willing to unravel decades of cover-up for it.”
Now it was me that was emotionally exhausted. After a few minutes I looked at her and asked her if Rose ever got it back. “Oh yes,” she replied, “and she gave the man, who turned out to be the head of that exploration company, the entire story like I just told you. She even told him her true name. He wasn’t supposed to tell anyone else, but apparently at least some of it got out. I don’t think he ever divulged her true name, though. Rose noticed that the story was passed off in the movie as fiction, and a lot of it was, so she was OK with it after a while. But she was adamant that all the true names not be revealed until after she and her children were gone.”
The next day we got up and went out to rent a boat. While we did this, Katie surprised me when she asked a question of the renter about where the deepest part of the lake was. He showed her on a map, and we left. When I asked her what that was about she said she would show me in a little while. We took the boat out to roughly about where the renter had told us to go. We turned off the engine and just listened to the quiet for a few minutes. Finally Katie unwrapped the urn. There had been a small and thin, clear seal wrapped around it right where the black and brown colors met that I hadn’t noticed earlier. This is where it opened apparently. She stood up, figured out the wind direction and released Rose to the lake and to history. Katie sat back down, teary-eyed. After a few moments she wiped her eyes and then she grabbed the bottom of the urn and twisted. A little compartment opened. Katie reached into the compartment and removed Rose’s father’s necklace. She looked at me and said, “Rose told me she was never going to lose it again. It will always be here with her.” With that, Katie gingerly lowered the necklace into the water and held onto it for a minute. She opened her hand slowly and it disappeared into the depths.
Afterwards we took the boat back and got in the car for some exploring. The rest of the day was enjoyable and we saw some beautiful countryside. The next day we both decided to go ahead and head on home. We both seemed so emotionally drained by the whole thing. We parted company in Charlotte, the same place we had met.
As I said earlier, we’ve kept in touch. Enough so that when she met my husband, Cameron, he introduced her to his brother, Damien. They’ve been married over 10 years now and have a 7 year old daughter, Shelby. Her grandfather is still alive but in hospice care. That’s why she gave me permission to tell this part of the story. The rest of it, the true names, places, etc. will come out later, after Kaden passes away.
I got into genealogy about the time Katie and Damien got married and I really enjoy it. Since I already had all the correct information on Katie’s family, I tackled it for the last few years. I was able to follow Rose’s movements quite a bit after her arrival but of course the best came after she and Graysen married. Although it’s still a work-in-progress, I made an amazing discovery. Graysen, Rose’s husband, and Jack turned out to be second cousins, once removed! Graysen’s family had left Newton Falls years before and had settled in the Ogdensburg area, where Rose had ended up right before WW1.
In truth, Ogdensburg really isn’t that far from Newton Falls, so it really wasn’t that far-fetched for this to have happened. Nonetheless, Katie and her mother were absolutely ecstatic when I proved it to them. Recently we were able to prove it with DNA testing. We can’t wait to let Jack’s family’s descendants know about him. It’s just a shame that Rose wasn’t alive when we found all this out. And speaking of Rose, Katie and I went over to England two years ago and found both of Rose’s parents’ graves. We even found the shop her father had and where they used to live!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this. I gave Katie the ultimate authority to put this online during one of our many sessions together trying to remember everything in the order it happened. Any errors are purely unintentional and can be blamed on our rapidly aging brains, among other body parts.
October 2, 2015. We’ve arranged with a genealogist we met (see the comments below for this) to assist us in the research of both Rose’s and Jack’s family lines.
October 6, 2015. Ray (our genealogist) has already found some things I could not. We now know what kind of shop Rose’s father ran and that his father was also a merchant. I am not at liberty to say publicly what kind of shop yet. He also discovered that Cora’s childhood was mostly in poverty and that after her father ran off the rest of the family spent quite a bit of time in the work house (poor house), a place you never wanted to be. This probably explains her compulsion for money and security later.
October 7, 2015. I forgot to mention in the last update that even though we hadn’t researched “Cal” Ray got curious and did some background work on him. He didn’t die in WW1 in 1916 or 1917. It was actually 1918, the last year of the war. Also, he discovered that Cal was related to someone famous in English Literature. In addition, Ray brought it to my attention that there is no way (with a paper trail) to prove our Rose is the same person from the ship’s passenger manifest. However, once he has uncovered Rose’s parents’ siblings lines, then the DNA we did earlier will match to a descendant of them. Everything rests now on him finding Rose’s English cousins.
October 30, 2015. Ray contacted me to explain the delay in further results. It basically comes down to the different way the English deal with the release of records compared to the U.S. For example, the U.S. has a 72 year wait before a census is released. As such, the 1940 Census was released in 2012. In England it is a 100 year wait so the most recent census available is the 1911 one. That’s a year before the Titanic sank. Consequently the searching is more difficult and time-consuming. Other records can be found but not having the census is definitely an important issue. He does have a few friends over there but as yet we do not know if they will be able to help and are also willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement as Ray did. It may end up with Katie and I sending him over there at some point, though I doubt he would be too upset about that!!
January 8, 2016. We now know how Dylan was tied to royalty. It was definitely lower-level, too. So that part of Rose’s memories was accurate. And Ray was also able to get one more generation closer to Katie with Cora’s family. We’re getting there!
May 1, 2016. I am so sorry for being away so long. It’s been crazy for the last few months. Katie, Malayna and I have been traveling due to Kaden’s passing and then all the necessary things to do involving the settlement of his estate. During the course of the Rose’s life, the family’s holdings had become quite large. If I never see another lawyer I’ll die happy.
I’ve kept in touch with Ray during this time and can now say that he was able to find recent current descendants of Cora. With this, we’ve been able to confirm the relationships through DNA. More to come…..
August 21, 2016
Sorry for the late update. We’ve been busy trying to get the book written but it’s a bigger task then we had imagined. The publisher wants it ready for the Titanic’s anniversary in 2017 but we can’t see it being done by that time and being done well at the same time. I’ll be happy if it’s done by Christmas next year. We’ll keep you posted.
September 26, 2017
A lot has happened in the past 11 months. Katie and Damien moved to the Cherokee National Forest area of North Carolina, where Damien and my husband grew up. And then a few months ago my dear, sweet husband passed away suddenly. He was buried near home and, as I fell in love with that area over the years, I ended up moving there too. Although I love Savannah, I am really enjoying the mountains of North Carolina. Needless to say, there hasn’t been much time to finish the book but Katie and I are finally back on track. She and I are aiming for the book to be done by spring.
For our genealogist’s homepage go here: Lost to History
Preva Rae Kader