Uncovering stories: Miss Banks and the Titanic

Last week I discovered the photo of Miss Banks and her colleagues at Opawa School in the 1890s. Using three main resources to research her life it became evident she was a committed and lifelong teacher who remained close to her family.  

Following a story by undertaking family history research is like going down a rabbit hole and along the way there may be a fascinating tale to tell. The research on Miss Banks certainly proved this point.

Going back to Ancestry Library Edition and looking more closely at the New Zealand Cemetery Records proved helpful. This entry displayed all family buried with her at Linwood Cemetery in Christchurch

cemetery record
New Zealand Cemetery Records from Ancestry

This entry got me thinking. What sort of headstone would have been erected for the family?

Wondering about the family plot took me to the website  Find a Grave. Searching here with her name the photo showed a large headstone for the Banks family.  

Hmm, quite a substantial burial plot.

At times, family history research can be mind boggling. There are hundreds of resources and websites to search and it can be daunting for any researcher, especially a beginner. Luckily for us Christchurch City Libraries have superb resources that don't display on a Google search yet provide valuable insights. Hidden away on our website is a real gem that helped make the connection between Miss Banks and the Titanic.

Richard Greenaway, librarian extraordinare and now retired, compiled Cemetery Tour Guides for our local cemeteries. His tours during Heritage Week / Month are legendary. These guides hold a treasure trove of family history stories.

The Linwood Cemetery Tour Guide is attached as a PDF and can be easily missed. Opening the document and undertaking a ctrl + F search with Banks, the result took me straight to page 26. Here's the gem...

Miss Banks sister Ada Florence was married to William Murdoch the officer in charge of the bridge of the Titanic when it struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage. No wonder she remained close to family. They needed to support each other during this devastating time. 

Miss Banks died in 1932 and left her house and land at 30 Salisbury Street, a short stroll from North Hagley Park, to her sister Ada. She included all household effects, jewellery (including watches), books and pictures. Hopefully this gave Ada some solace until she died, aged 65, in 1941.

Charlotte Maud Banks was a kind and thoughtful sister to the end. 

Further reading:

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