Titanic – unknown child mystery solved at last

Six days after the Titanic sank, the body of a baby boy was found and recovered from the North Atlantic waters by the recovery ship CS Mackay-Bennett.

The child was not identified and, as such, was buried in Nova Scotia with a tombstone reading simply ‘The Unknown Child’.

With the advent in recent years of DNA testing, a move was made in 2001 to identify the child and, to this end, researchers from Ontario exhumed the body and carried out tests. By consulting the passenger lists they had narrowed down the possible identity to one from four: Gosta Paulson (noted as Gosta Paulsson on the list), Eino Panula (Eina Panula on the list), Eugene Rice or Sidney Goodwin.

Initial tests concluded that the body was that of Eino Panula, but last week this was shown to be erroneous. Advanced testing carried out on a tooth from the body, when compared to the DNA of a surviving relative, confirmed that ‘the unknown child’ was Sidney Goodwin. A shoe recovered from the scene also ties in with the child having been British. 

Sidney Leslie Goodwin, previously ‘the unknown child’ was born in September 1910 in Melksham, Wiltshire.

Sidney was the youngest of six children born to Fred and Augusta Goodwin, all of whom were onboard. Neither his parents nor his other siblings’ bodies were ever recovered.

The family had been emigrating from Fulham to Niagara Falls, Fred having decided to join his brother in America and seek employment in a new power station opening near there. Initially booked on a steamer, the family was transferred to the Titanic due to a coal strike which prevented their planned sailing.

The family can be seen in the passenger list here:

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