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The Titanic: The Goodwin Family Died on the Ship

Updated on October 15, 2018
viking305 profile image

L.M.Reid is an Irish writer who has published many history articles online and in magazines.

The Goodwin Family
The Goodwin Family | Source

The Goodwin Family

On 10th April 1912 Frederick and Augusta Goodwin and their six children all boarded the new ship the Titanic at Southampton in England. They were third class passengers on its maiden voyage to New York.

The Goodwin children who died were: Lillian 16, Charles 14, William 11, Jessie 10, Harold 9 and baby Sidney 19 months old.

Frederick and Augusta Goodwin

Frederick Goodwin had lived all his life in England. But his brother Thomas and sister had emigrated to New York years earlier. Thomas Goodwin had recently visited Frederick and told the family about his life in America and the opportunities there for Frederick and his growing children.

Emigrating to America

So when a job opportunity came up in New York for Frederick at a power station the family decided to take a chance and emigrate to America. They did not have a lot of money to spare so booked third class tickets on a small steamer ship bound for America. This cost forty six pounds and eighteen shillings for the family.

Frederick’s brother Thomas Goodwin and his widowed sister in America lent the family money and they had found a house and furnished it for the whole family ready for when they arrived in New York.

Coal Strike

There was a coal strike in England that month in 1912. The sailing on the steamer that the Goodwin family was booked on had to be cancelled. They had their tickets transferred to the new luxury liner the Titanic.

The Route The Titanic Took on her Maiden Voyage
The Route The Titanic Took on her Maiden Voyage | Source

Accommodation on Board

The Titanic was a new luxury passenger ship that the White Star Line had built. It was the biggest passenger ship in the world at the time in 1912. There was a lot of publicity around the maiden voyage of the Titanic.

Many high society and rich passengers booked first class tickets for the voyage from England to America. They were not travelling on the Titanic to emigrate but to enjoy the historical event of the first trip of the new Titanic Luxury Liner. Others in first class and second class used the ship as a means of travelling home to America from business trips, long holidays and as honeymoons for those who were just married.

The Goodman family had lived first in Fulham in London England. Then the family had moved to Watson's Court, High Street Melksham in Wiltshire England. This is where they were living when they decided to immigrate to America in 1912. Frederick was an Electrical Engineer. His older brother Thomas had already immigrated to Niagara Falls in New York.

The Titanic
The Titanic | Source

First Class Accommodation

First class passengers enjoyed large cabins on the upper decks with bedrooms and their own sitting rooms. Most first class passengers had servants with them. There were also bedrooms for these servants. It was usually those servants that looked after the children that were accommodated in these first class cabin annexes. The other servants who worked for a family would be accommodated in the second class cabins.

All first class cabins also had their own bathroom. The Titanic was the first ship that had this on board in 1912. First class passengers also had private decks to enjoy the journey from. Their own dining rooms, reading and games rooms and smoking rooms.

Second Class Accommodation

Second class passengers also had very comfortable cabins but without their own bathrooms. These passengers too had their own designated area for dining and recreation.

Third Class Accommodation

Third class passengers too had their own designated area on the ship that they could use. They were excluded from both first class and second class areas in the ship. Their cabins were basic but comfortable. Their areas for dining and recreation were a lot smaller but the third class passengers still had better accommodation than other ships that sailed from Europe to America in 1912.

Class Barriers

All three classes of accommodation on the Titanic were segregated by doors and barriers. These were in place on the ship as a physical barrier. But in 1912 class distinction was accepted as normal by everyone.

The passengers would not enter in an area that was not of their class. The only exception would be the servants of the upper class passengers who went about the duty looking after their employers needs. Married couples and families with children in both first class and second class accommodation were allowed to stay in these luxury cabins together.

Third Class Passengers

All male passengers and female passengers were separated in to different cabins. Young single men who were emigrating to America had to share a four berth or two berth cabin. The same was true for single female passengers.

Families like the Goodwins also had to adhere to this rule. The men and older sons had to sleep in cabins in the bow of the Titanic and the women, older daughters and younger children had their cabins on the Stern of the ship.

Survivors of the Titanic

Collapsible Life Boat D
Collapsible Life Boat D | Source

The Titanic Hits the Iceberg

So it was then that the night of Sunday 14th April at 11.40 pm when the Titanic hit the iceberg that Frederick Goodwin and his sons, Charles who was fourteen, William who was eleven and Harold who was nine years old were asleep in the bow on the ship when the Titanic started to sink.

His wife Augusta Goodwin was asleep in the stern of the ship with her daughters Lillian who was sixteen years old and Jessie who was ten. Also sleeping with his mother was baby Sidney Goodwin who was a year and seven months old.

A Minor Collision

When the ship hit the iceberg all the passengers on board were told it was only a minor incident. Anyone who had left their cabins to see what was happening was told to go back to their cabins as it would soon be sorted out.

Most of the passengers including first and second class believed the crew and went back to their cabins or whatever they were doing in the communal areas at the time. A large amount of ice was seen on the deck of the ship.

Playing with the Ice

The passengers were in a jovial mood and welcomed the excitement. Those who were still up and enjoying the many activities on board got into the high spirits on board by either watching others having fun or playing around with the ice on deck themselves.

When the Captain was told that the unsinkable ship the Titanic was about to sink he ordered all lifeboats to be prepared. Then the crew woke up those passengers who were asleep and told everyone not to worry but that they needed to go on deck with their life jackets on.

First and Second Class Passengers Only

Third class passengers were told to get their life jackets ready but to stay in their cabins until it was time for them to go on deck. All families who were third class passengers and asleep at this time would have been separated by gender from one end of the ship to the other in the bow or in the stern.

When the water started to become visible on the floors of the 3rd class landings and then in their cabins the passengers were still down in third class areas. Some of them had tried to get up on deck but they were stopped by the crew. They were told there was plenty of time and plenty of lifeboats and they had to wait until it was their turn.

Lifeboats

The Titanic had more lifeboats on board than was legally required for the trip. This unfortunately was not enough to get everyone off the Titanic safely. It was women and children first in to the lifeboats when the first and second class passengers were on deck. A lot of them refused to go at first because they still could not believe the Titanic was about to sink.

The small boats that were hanging on the side of the enormous ship looked dangerous and many thought it was unnecessary to take the risk of boarding these boats and spending the night on the freezing cold open sea. But once the situation became clear to the passengers that the Titanic was indeed sinking the mood changed and women and children got into the lifeboats.

Fear and Panic

Crew members were also in the boats to sail them and take charge of the passengers. There had been no lifeboat drill on the Titanic after she sailed. So there was chaos and confusion from both crew and passengers. Lots of the too few lifeboats on board left the Titanic with many empty places. Some of the men tried to get on the boats too but were held back by the crew.

When this was going on deck the third class passengers were still being held down below. The barriers were locked and only a very few of these men women and children managed to find a way out on to the decks were the life boats were. But by this most of the boats were gone.

Of the 329 First Class Passengers on Board 199 Survived

There were 285 second class passengers on board and 119 survived. There were 899 crew on the Titanic but only 214 survived. But there were 710 third class passengers and only 174 survived. Of the 2,223 men women and children who sailed on the Titanic on her maiden voyage on 10th April only 706 survived after it sank on 15th April 1912.

The Unknown Child

Sidney Goodwin
Sidney Goodwin | Source

The Unknown Child

One of the ships that was sent out from Canada to recover the bodies of those who died when the Titanic sank was the Mackay-Bennett. On 17th April 1912 the fourth body that the crew pulled out of the water was that of the toddler Sidney Goodwin. The only body that was recovered from the Goodwin family was Sidney who was 19 months old when he died.

Funeral of Sidney Goodwin

When no one came to identify or claim the body of the Sidney the sailors on board the Mackay-Bennett arranged for his burial. So on 4th May 1912 the body of Sidney was buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada. The sailors were so affected by the death of the young child that they escorted the tiny white coffin to the funeral.

Our Babe

They had earlier bought a copper pendent with the words Our Babe inscribed on it. A large headstone was also purchased by the sailors. On this headstone is inscribed the words The Unknown Child. The body in the grave of the Unknown child was positively identified through DNA testing to be that of Sidney Goodwin in July 2007.

The Goodwin Family

No one knows what happened to Frederick Goodwin in the last few hours when the Titanic was sinking. Did he and his sons, Charles fourteen, William eleven, Jessie ten and Harold nine manage to get to the stern where his wife Augusta, his daughters Lillian sixteen, Jessie ten and baby Sidney were?

We know that all members of the Goodwin family died when the Titanic sank at 2.20 am on Monday 15th April 1912. What we do not know is whether they died together. I hope they did.

The Only Black Family on the Titanic

People Who Died on the Titanic

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    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 

      2 weeks ago from North Carolina

      Very interesting read! Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed.

    • ActionForEarth profile image

      Jennifer 

      20 months ago

      Thank you for this article, impressive!

      Third class passengers seem the hardest to find information on. Middle Class and Upper Class passengers seem to be the most focused on. So this is a refreshing change!

    • profile image

      Nancy 

      2 years ago

      I saw little Sidney's shoes at the maritime museum in Halifax while there in September. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to see his grave. The museum devotes quite a bit of space to the sinking of the Titanic. I did not know that the dead were brought to Halifax while the survivors were taken to New York City.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      4 years ago from Ireland

      Hello Donna I do not know if the Goodwin family tree is online, sorry. The surname Goodwin is correct for this family that died on the Titanic

    • profile image

      Donna (Goodwin) Mann 

      4 years ago

      I am intrigued of course with this story after spending time in England with Goodwin relatives. Unfortunately, I've never taken the time to make family tree connections. Does anyone know if Frederick and Augusta Goodwin's family tree is online?

      Is there an error with the spelling of Goodwin as in Goodman or was that the usage of the sir name in that era?

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      5 years ago from Ireland

      Yes very sad Valeria especially because a lot of the families with children should have been on another ship only for a strike

    • profile image

      valeria gonzalez 

      5 years ago

      that is sad bless those people that died 100 years ago

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      Teri Goodwin, yes it is possible that you could be related. In those times a lot of families were very large so I am sure the Goodwin family had cousins etc in America too.

    • profile image

      Teri Goodwin 

      6 years ago

      This was an amazing story for my husband and I to read. The first thing we thought of was, Are we in some way related to the Goodwin Family. What are the chances? The brother that made it to New York could have been. We know very little about them. Thanks for this beautifully told tragic story!

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      Alconin, yes that is what is so sad about a lot of the families who died in third class, they would have been terrified and apart.

      It is exactly 100 years ago as I write this because it is 2.20 am here on 15th April, that is weird.

      May they all rest in Peace.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      This is so tragic, especially that they probably spent their last moments apart. I keep wondering what would have happened if they had take the steamer instead. They probably would have had hundreds of descendants in the U.S. by now, watching the Titanic commemorations on TV. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      What makes this family's story even more upsetting is the fact that the family would have died apart.

      As they were third class passengers they had to sleep in different cabins.

      Mr Goodwin and his older sons would have been at one end of the ship while Mrs Goodwin, her daughters and baby son were at the other end when the iceberg hit.

      CaseyLu thanks for your votes and sharing

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 

      6 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Hard to believe it's been 100 years almost since the Titanic sank :( Wonderful information on it. Very interesting read. Shared and voted up.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      The Titanic was a tragedy of over confidence and pride. The unsinkable ship sank and caused so much horror for those men women and children in their last hours of life.

      Wand Souj. That is very sad about your great Uncle who died on the Titanic. Generations of his future family were also lost. Yes most third class passengers were doomed from the start

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment.

    • profile image

      WandSouj 

      6 years ago

      Very interesting read. My grandfather used to talk about how his uncle died on the Titanic while trying to resettle in America. He would have been the first of our family over here. Unfortunately, he was in third class so I can only imagine the horrors he had to endure.

      Thanks for all the info =)

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      ABC thanks for reading and your comment, glad it helped in your reseach

    • profile image

      A,B,C,1,2.3 

      6 years ago

      this information was great for my research report on the godwin family

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      7 years ago from Ireland

      Thank you every one for reading and your comments.

      ZVdP thanks for pointing out the errors in the article, I appreciate you taking the time.

    • profile image

      ZVdP 

      7 years ago

      A couple of errors in your fist class accommodation section:

      -A couple of 1st class passengers had servants with them, not most.

      -only 4 out of the 400 or so staterooms had their own sitting room

      -Not all staterooms had a private bathroom, actually only quite a few had that luxury (and if one paid extra for that).

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      Amy DeMarco 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for sharing this story. I feel so sad for this family and all the other lives that were lost. The third class deserved better treatment. Even with a tragedy as big as this, their lives were still deemed as not very important. It's very disturbing to me. This story was very touching. Voted up.

    • profile image

      Bob Marley 

      7 years ago

      it made me cry, he was only a baby and he wasn't even meant to go on the titanic! it was all because of a strike! it really puts things in perspective :(

    • profile image

      Alfred Skapi 

      7 years ago

      I red the fact about the researches and finding of "Unknow baby"- Sidney Leslie Goodwin. Being very interested about the story and facts I red this comprehensive and very interesting information that attracted me. It pull me to that real time of April 1912.

    • profile image

      markn 

      7 years ago

      I became interested in Titanic history after I read a recently released book called The Band that Played On, about the 8 musicians who gave their lives playing music to keep people calm while the ship was sinking. Here's a link to the Amazon page: http://dld.bz/SM8u. So I applaud the effort made here to detail the lives of this family. It's easy to get caught up in the more "glamorous" events of the actual sinking and forget about the lives of the people who died.

    • kafsoa profile image

      kafsoa 

      7 years ago

      A big effort is made here! I'm impressed! Though I've heared a lot of stories about people who were on board, but I still like to read more about it. Thanks Viking

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      7 years ago from Northern, California

      A very comprehensive read. I have long been intrigued by the story and history behind the Titanic sinking. Your work here is really well presented, thank you for sharing your knowledge.

      K9

    • Garlic Angel profile image

      Christine 

      7 years ago from Dublin

      Hi Viking

      Such a sad story and so many souls lost. Shame about the greed and the gap between the different classes but unfortunaltly things have not much changed. There is still and probably always will be a large gap between the rich and the poor.

      Maybe one day that gap with be broken. One has to dream and never give up hope.

      Thank you for such a good read and for keeping the story of the Titanic alive.

      Ps... Loved the film 'The Titanic' It is one of my Son's favourite films too...

      Well done and keep up the good work...

      Garlic Angel :-)

    • jandee profile image

      jandee 

      7 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      Hello Viking, How beautifully you told the story.So harrowingly sad. The utterly uncaring attitude of the 'Boss Class'towards the country's majority -the working class,thank you,jandee

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