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The Titanic Connection

Tomorrow marks the 114th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic which, as everyone knows, was the largest, fastest and most luxurious steam ship built up until that time. Built at the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast, Ireland, the Titanic was one of three massive Olympic class luxury liners ordered by the White Star Line.

Several months ago, while emailing back and forth with a first cousin of my maternal Grandmother, I heard the story of another cousin who, as family lore goes, was a young pianist who had dreams of stardom and was on her way from New York to London on board the Lusitania when it was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland. While I haven't been able to substantiate that story, I have since found a family link to the Titanic tragedy.

John Jacob Astor IV and his wife, Madeleine Force Astor, both died that fateful night 114 years ago. The Astors were relatives of a distant cousin of mine, Irene Violet Fresia Janet Haig, who married Gavin Astor, 3rd Baron Astor of Hever. Gavin Astor is a descendant of the Astor family and a Great nephew of John Jacob Astor IV.

I never fail to be impressed by how much my family has been involved in the history that we all grew up with. Researching my family history and new discoveries of people I did not know or did not know were related to me, continues to bring new surprises and brings history to life.

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