Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Titanic's Unknown Child Identified

Shoes of Unknown Child from Titanic
Shoes Keep Mystery Alive

The RMS Titanic,a British steamliner built by the White Star Line, left Southampton, UK on April 10, 1912, with 2,200 passengers and crew onboard. This maiden voyage would be her last voyage, as it sunk in the wee hours of April 15th after hitting an iceberg.   The lives of 1,497 of the 2,209 onbaord perished making it one of the most deadly peacetime disasters in history.

Two Halifax-based ships, the MacKay-Bennett and the Minia, were part of a recovery fleet. The ships' crews recovered 328 bodies, with 209 being returned to Halifax. The badly damaged or deteriorated bodies were buried at sea. Of the 119 buried at sea, 60 were unidentified at the time and 49 remain unidentified today. 

A child, believed to have been around 2 years old at the time, was recovered by the MacKay-Bennett.   The unidentified child was buried in a Halifax cemetery where the crew of the Mackay-Bennett had a headstone dedicated to the "unknown child" placed over his grave.

An article describing the genetic analysis, that led to the final identification of the unknown child's remains, is scheduled to be published in the June 2011 issue of the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics and is already available online. 
According to that article, researchers say the unknown child was 19-month-old Sidney Leslie Goodwin, from England who was traveling with his parents, Frederick and Augusta, and five siblings on the ill-fated Titanic.

The shoes above, which can be seen in the Halifax Maritime Museum of the Atlantic's extensive exhibit Titanic: The Unsinkable Ship and Halifax,   played a role in keeping the quest for the child's identity alive.  Those shoes caused the researchers to question the previous identification.  The unknown child was incorrectly identified twice before, but researchers believe they have now conclusively determined the child was Goodwin

Thanks to DNA evidence, researchers are confident that they have finally identified the unknown child.   

Read the entire story on Live Science website:
Titanic's Unknown Child Given New, Final Identity

If you are interested in the history of the Titanic, be sure to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic when you visit Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.   Next year marks the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic.   I'd suspect that there will be special attention called to the historic event, so be sure to stay tuned as we bring you updates.

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