About the Titanic disaster
The evidence gleaned from the reports and hearings of the two original inquiries fell far from giving us the picture we hoped to reveal the definitive account of how the Titanic sank. Judicious but agenda-driven they may be, they did prove, however, finding the full story behind her loss is, like all aspects concerning the Titanic, a very painstaking process to achieve. As thorough and official as two governmental inquiries, their findings failed to produce figures that matched. So, just how large a disaster actually was the Titanic disaster?
Passenger lists for ships was implemented by the British government during the early half of the 19th Century to monitor the movement of immigration, but even by 1912 such were not to be relied upon as accurate records. Indeed, following the loss of the ferry Estonia in 1994 the inadequacy of passenger records at sea has improved little even today.
Separately to this official passenger list, White Star would have compiled their own detailing the ticketing arrangements made through their numerous booking outlets and agencies; the Contract Ticket List. The information required on these lists was defined under the Merchant Shipping Act of 1906, but it did not stop such containing errors and omissions. Furthermore, the Aliens Act of 1905 detailed the approach which to monitor immigrants transferring though British ports to sail to onward destinations; these too, however, were not unknown for inaccuracy also.
Captain Smith would sign off the Board of Trade’s passenger list for the Titanic on April 9th, despite the ship not due to sail until the 10th. His list, however, contained only the names whom purchased tickets for the maiden voyage, but not necessarily those aboard the actual voyage. Anyone who cancelled their booking or did not show up for the departure was still included on this list.
The passenger list for the Titanic is known to contain discrepancies in the way its occupants were listed. For example, 22 people working on the Titanic during the maiden voyage were listed as second class passengers, not as members of the crew. Some passengers recorded twice, sometimes under different names, whereas others not even recorded at all. Thus it will never truly be certain to list the identities of all whom boarded her maiden voyage, let alone ascertain how many survived or died as no two lists of are the same.