The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Julia O'Shaughnessy


Julia O’Shaughnessy’s age was given as fifty eight at her death on RMS Leinster in 1918, giving a year of birth of 1860. However, in a subsequent court cases over Julia’s will it was stated that “all the parties [to the will] were born before Compulsory Registration of Births became law (in 1864), and there was only family tradition as to their relationship.” It was established in court that her parents were John and Margaret O’Shaughnessy, but both had died before the 1901 census so no family group has been found. The first names of her siblings, mentioned in court, Margaret, Mary Anne, James and Thomas, appear too frequently to confirm any relationship.

A baptismal record for a Judith O’Shaughnessy born to John and Margaret née Byrne on 3 September 1859 has been found in St Catherine’s Parish, Meath St. in Dublin city. The address given was 1 Tenter Gardens. This may have been Julia O’Shaughnessy. Little more is known of the family life, but Julia was buried in an unmarked O’Shaughnessy grave in Glasnevin cemetery. The grave records also show the death and burial of a Margaret O’Shaughnessy in 1891 who may have been Julia’s mother. These records give Margaret’s age as 60, while her official death record states 50, either being valid. She was given as a Carman’s/Car Owner’s wife. In 1899 John O’Shaughnessy, widower and Car Driver, died in the North Dublin Union Workhouse, aged seventy six, but he does not appear in the cemetery records.

Julia O’Shaughnessy is recorded as living in 1918 at 32 Upper Baggot Street in Dublin and her occupation was nurse, though it is not known where she was working. In court in 1926 a Patrick Carroll stated that “in 1914 the deceased had handed him a will on her departure for India to keep it for her in safe custody. He retained the will for two years and then returned it to the deceased”. Nothing is known about her two years in India.

In 1919 Margaret Magee, Julia’s sister, returned from New York and took out a Grant of Administration of Julia’s assets, which amounted to £451. She believed that this protected all her rights to the deceased’s property, but it was challenged by another sister, Mary Anne. The case went to court in 1923 and 1926 and was only finally settled in 1934 when the judge decreed that the assets should be distributed “according to the statute”.



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