Jacob Osterman was born in St. George of the East, London in 1881, the son of Levy and Hannah Osterman, and one of eleven children. His parents had emigrated from Holland and his father was a cigar maker. In 1915, he lived at 19, Ainsworth Street, Liverpool, Lancashire.
He was a professional seaman in the mercantile marine and engaged as a waiter in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania at New York, on 30th April 1915, just in time for her final trans-Atlantic crossing. His monthly rate of pay, as a waiter, was £4.05s.00d, (£4.25).
He was lucky enough to survive the sinking, and although nothing more is known about him, he continued to serve as a steward on board trans-Atlantic liners for many years after his ordeal on board the
Register of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, Cunard Records, UniLiv. D92/6/1, PRO BT 348.