Sunday, 17 March 2013

Titanic Party Ahoy!

Happy St Patrick's Day to all my Irish chums!

And in the spirit of all things Irish, here's an interesting thing - I've been invited to International Colgan Day in September. Yes indeed, on September 14th, the doors of the Spa Hotel, Lucan, Co. Dublin (prop. Frank Colgan) will be thrown open for Colgans from all over the world to meet, greet and be utterly reliant on name badges. The event is the brainchild of one John Colgan, a genealogist who has spent years constructing the most accurate and complete history of the family. I'm going - hotel and flight booked. What larks!

The surname Colgan isn't all that common. It originates in the North of the Republic of Ireland and is an Anglicised form of Irish Ó Colgáin meaning ‘descendant of Colga’, a personal name based on colg ‘thorn’, ‘sword’. There aren't many famous Colgans; there's Jenny the novelist, of course, and there's US politician Chuck Colgan who founded Colgan Air Inc (which was bought out in 2012). I love the idea of a plane with my name on it.

I've met very few other Colgans who aren't immediate family so it will be great to pop over there in September and meet a whole bunch more.
Interestingly, through John, I discovered that I had a distant relative who travelled on the Titanic ... and survived.

E Joseph Colgan, 33, was born in Dublin around 1879. When he signed-on to the Titanic as a scullion (assistant cook), on 4th April 1912, he gave his address as 27 West Street, Southampton, and was due to receive a monthly wage of £3 10s. His previous ship had been the Majestic which was in service between 1890 and 1914 (Curiously, the White Star Line's replacement for the Titanic was also called Majestic, re-named from Bismarck). Unfortunately I can find very little more about him.

There were 421 men and women assigned to the Victualling Department on the Titanic. Of those, 322 were stewards who performed over 57 different functions in each class's dining saloon, public rooms, cabins and recreational facilities. Around 60 of them survived. Joseph was one of them and was rescued in lifeboat 13. Lucky for some, eh?

I shall raise a pint of the black stuff to him this evening.

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