In 2002, Canadian researchers identified him as a 13-month-old Finnish boy, Eino Viljami Panula. In 2007, though, DNA testing determined that he was a 19-month-old English boy, Sidney Leslie Goodwin, who died with his entire family, including five siblings, as they were sailing to a new life in America.
The child's headstone remains among the nameless ones at Fairview Lawn, each inscribed: "Died April 15, 1912." The bodies were numbered as they were picked up; the numbers appear on the headstones of the known and unknown victims.
That the J. Dawson buried here is not the character in the movie did not stop the flow of mourners, said cemetery tour guide Blair Beed, a Halifax historian and grandson of an undertaker's assistant at the funeral home.
"After the movie, I saw fathers with their daughters standing here crying," he said. "For two or three years, that lasted. Instead of spring break, fathers would bring their daughters here to see J. Dawson."
The real J. Dawson, or Joseph Dawson, shoveled coal in the bowels of the luxury liner and didn't win a Titanic ticket while gambling, as DiCaprio's character did.
"It wasn't until after the movie came out that we found out that there was a J. Dawson gravestone," said the film's producer, Jon Landau.
Whoever J. Dawson was, "He received more notoriety decades after his death than he ever would have had in life," said Lunn, curator of maritime museum, which saw its attendance more than double, to 250,000, in the year after the film opened.
The headstones are assembled in the shape of a ship. Among them is that of John Law Hume, violinist in the band that played on as the Titanic sank. Somebody recently left a little replica of a violin by his gravestone.
Beed said it's not just teenage girls who choke up in the cemetery.
"All of a sudden, seeing the names on the stones, they are emotional -- men and women," he said. "It's like 'I've heard this story all my life, and here are the remains and here are the names.' It's 121 in this cemetery, and it's four rows -- and all of sudden, the story is real."