File this one under “Really, really cool.”
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Ancestry.com has released the most comprehensive collection of the ship’s records in history. The collection is available for free searching online until April 15.
The infamous tale of the RMS Titanic began on April 10, 1912, when the British passenger liner set sail from Southampton. Four days into her transatlantic crossing, on April 15, 1912 at 11:40pm, the ship hit an iceberg while traveling in the north Atlantic. The collision caused the Titanic’s hull to buckle inwards and over the next two and a half hours, the ship filled with water and sank. Some passengers and crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, the majority of which were women and children thanks to a “women and children first” procedure. When the Titanic finally sank, over 1,000 people were still onboard.
Upon hearing the Titanic’s distress signals, another vessel, the Carpathia, rushed to the ship’s rescue. Despite the best efforts of Carpathia’s crew, when they arrived on the scene it was too late for most of the sinking ship’s passengers. Of the 2,224 people who set sail on the Titanic’s voyage, only 710 survived the disaster.
In memory of the tragedy, Ancestry.com has put together The Titanic Collection, which includes thousands of records related to the tragedy, including passenger lists, crew lists, and lists of deaths at sea. The collection features the wills of the Titanic’s captain, Edward Smith, and the American tycoons Benjamin Guggenheim and John Jacob Astor, who were all among the 1,500 passengers who died.
Other records that can be viewed online include images of the headstones of 121 Titanic passengers buried at Fairview Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia and over 300 coroner inquest files. Interested genealogists can also search through the passenger list of the Carpathia and a more general record, the Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1835-1974.
"The sinking of the legendary Titanic was a major moment in the history of both the United States and the United Kingdom," remarked Dan Jones, VP of Global Content for Ancestry.com. "As the years have passed, many generations have lost information that would confirm relatives who may have been aboard. We're very pleased to offer these records free for a limited time and provide a single source to find answers to some long standing family mysteries."