Anna Youssef was born in 1875 to the Thomas family. Through tradition, the children would obtain the father's middle name as a last name until married. Anna was living in a small village and was one of about five Christians in the whole village. She married Darwin Youssef when he was 29 and she was 14. At that time, it was a custom in Lebanon to be eligible for marriage after puberty. They lived in the village of Tibin where there were mostly Muslims in the region.
Darwin decided that instead of being paid little and having to do bible study in secret, that they would go to America where you could be free and be paid a decent wage. Darwin saved up for weeks before he and his brother, Abraham. By this time, they had children: George born in 1905 and Maria born in 1899. When Darwin went to America, they had to wait a long time before he and his brother found employment. The money came slowly. Every month, he sent a letter and a little bit of money. It had been seven years and Abraham had enough money so he sent the money and wanted to surprise his brother. Abraham also sent a paper indicating where they lived and on it said Dowagiac, Michigan U.S.A. They and other villagers whom saved up on their own traveled by camel for six days too. Then, they took a ferry for five days to France where they were to meet the TITANIC at Cherbourg.
They boarded the TITANIC as 3rd class. To them, it was very lavish and grand. The children explored the 3rd class sections (much to Anna's dislike) and used dormant cabins for playing. On the night of April 14, 1912 it was 11:30 and Maria was missing and George was almost ready for bed and Anna was speaking with a fellow Arab when the iceberg struck. This caused a small jolt which caused her cabin door to slam shut injuring her finger. A few villagers went up on deck to see what happened while Anna went to the infirmany. Anna came back with a bandaged hand . the villagers came back and told her to go back to her cabin and pray. She wanted to know what to pray for so she went with George to investigate. She went up on deck and made it to the top deck where she saw the boats being lowered. She decided to be safe. She told George to stay there and she went back down to the bowels of the ship. She found Maria napping in her cabin and woke her up and grabbed her money and her precious note that had where she was supposed to go. As they were going up some stairs, she looked behind her and saw the crew locking the gates. They found George right where she left him and got into Collapsible C. Anna put her shawl over the children so that they would not see the ship sink. It also muffled the cries of the hundreds in the water. They were the only people left form those who came with them from their village of about 10 that survived in their village. Anna however, would remember everything she saw and heard. Later, they rode the train to Michigan where they were joyously reunited after seven years.
Maria died of disease in 1921 and George lived to have 4 children. She later went to live with her grandson and her grandson wrote down her story. The story was made into a book called "Grandma Survived the TITANIC" (pictured above). She became weak and was moved to the nursing home. As she was leaving, she gave him an 1871, 91.7 gold coin which was given to her by the purser on the TITANIC. As a coin collector, I'd price that coin at auction to about $12,000. She died in 1978. George became owner of a grocery store and attended TITANIC conventions and interviews. He died in 1991.