Ohio Tales of the Titanic

March & April 2014 programs in Mayfield Heights, Twinsburg and Akron


I’ll summarize here some of the programs of the last few months. I wanted to post these items earlier, but some health issues made it advisable for me to avoid doing too much work on the computer.

Members of the East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society braved a cold night to hear the stories of Ohioans on the Titanic.


Members of the East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society took time to read the stories of some of the Ohio passengers displayed on poster-size panels.

East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society

On March 3, I presented a program for the East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society in Mayfield Heights. I tried to intertwine the stories of Northeast Ohio passengers on the Titanic with the kinds of issues and problems that genealogists face, such as finding sources, long-ago news coverage, interviewing descendants, etc. As I pointed out, Janet’s and my project on the Ohio connections to the Titanic was like one huge genealogy project as we delved into the backgrounds and family histories of 55 passengers. A very nice and interested crowd showed up on a frigid night to hear the personal stories of some of the Ohio-bound passengers and how Janet and I tracked down information on them.

Mary Jo Knuth, left, and her mother, Joann Knuth, lent a personal perspective to the Twinsburg library program, talking about their ancestor, Shaneene George, a Titanic survivor who was headed to Youngstown.

Janet White displayed articles about Titanic survivor Shaneene George, along with some Titanic replica china, a blanket and other items, at the Twinsburg Public Library.

Twinsburg Public Library

On April 14 (the 102nd anniversary of the April 14/15 Titanic disaster), Janet and I presented a program at the library focusing on the Northeast Ohio people who were on board the ship. Joining us on this anniversary night were some special guests, Joann Knuth and Mary Jo Knuth, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Youngstown-bound Titanic survivor Shaneene George. They were able to answer questions from the audience and give a personal perspective on the passengers, especially the third-class passengers like Shaneene. I’m sure those in attendance were thrilled to be able to meet descendants of a passenger traveling to Ohio.

Akron Woman’s City Club

On April 22, I presented a program on Ohio’s Titanic connections to the women in the organization’s book section, focusing on those passengers with connections to Akron. We met in the beautiful Titanic-era home that was originally the residence of George Bertram Work and later George M. Stadelman. The craftsmanship of the original section of  the home, built in 1901 (it had some additions since that time), and style of the interior certainly evoked the era I was talking about.  A most appropriate setting. The club has been using this home since 1946. Check out the house on the club’s site. Because the book section often invites authors and enjoys hearing about how their books came to be written, I shared some “war stories” about how Janet and I pulled together our research and managed to self-publish our book in time for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking. The women were most interested and had some thoughtful questions about the writing process as well as Ohio and Akron’s ties to the Titanic.

—  Mary Ann