My name is Ally and I've been interested in the Titanic since my dad used to tell me that my grandfather was one of the men who built the Titanic. I never really quite believed him - my grandfather was born and lived in Sunderland and I couldn't understand how he might have come to be working on the Titanic in Belfast.
However, when the 1911 England and Wales census was made available, there was no sign of my grandfather on it. I found many of his family, but not him. It occurred to me to look on the 1911 Irish census, out of interest - and there he was, living as a boarder in Belfast along with 3 other men, who were all described as working at the shipyard and all from England. Two of the others were rivetters and my grandfather and the other were "Plumbers". I know from my dad that my grandfather worked as a plumber/engineer on ships' engines in Sunderland. So my grandfather really was there in the right place at the right time.
I still don't know how he came to be there - whether he was contracted individually, or whether Harland and Wolff sub-contracted the building of the engines to a Sunderland-based company or in some other way. And I don't know how I can find out more about it.
If anyone can give me ideas on how to find out more, I'd be very grateful.