Posted by: Jina Bacarr | June 8, 2011

The Titanic passenger list that never was…

The Titanic left Queenstown on April 11, 1912--was Katie O'Reilly on the ship? Find out in "Titanic Rhapsody."

No one really knows exactly how many passengers sailed on the maiden voyage of the Titanic on April 10, 1912. Modern historians have settled on the number 2,223 passengers, though no complete passenger list exists.

What is known are the passenger names recorded on thirty-four handwritten pages from 1912 currently stored at the National Archives in London.

A rare second class passenger list was sold at auction a few years for $33,900 (Christie’s auctioned off a first class passenger list in a booklet in 1998), but no one knows for sure who was on that ship.

Fascinating fodder for a novelist…so many what ifs come to mind.

What if your heroine was traveling under an alias?

Not unusual for passengers at that time to travel under an assumed name. Like Lady Duff-Gordon and her husband traveling as the “Morgans” to allegedly avoid the press; or a Frenchman who kidnapped his two children and listed himself as a Mr. “Hoffman.” We can’t forget the gambler, George Brereton, who traveled first class under the alias “George Brayton.”

We know the Titanic wasn’t filled to capacity (the ship could hold 3,547 passengers and crew). And since no official passenger list will ever be completely accurate, it was exciting for me to create a  heroine named Katie O’Reilly because she could have been on the Titanic when it left Queenstown on April 11, 1912.

And no one would have ever known.

Until now.

Next time: creating a backstory for Katie O’Reilly.

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