Locate Finnish descendants of male child survivor


ewoitzel

Member
Sep 12, 2021
3
1
3
Sarasota FL
I am searching for any descendants of a very young male child survivor that settled somewhere in Illinois.
In 1940 as an adult, he would rent a Little Bowstring lake cabin and fishing boat from our Finnish grandparents near Deer River, Minnesota every summer for years.
This adult male survivor also spoke of his Titanic story to the local one room school there......it is very likely the survivor would have come from Finland.

Any information or suggestions would be appreciated.

[email protected]
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,594
982
388
65
The only Finnish male child survivor on the Titanic was second class passenger Wiljo (Viljo) Halalainen who was one year old at the time and survived on Lifeboat #10 with his mother Anna. But he cannot be your man; apart from the fact that Anna and Wiljo were headed for Detroit, sadly Wiljo never made it to childhood. He died of endocarditis soon after his 3rd birthday.

But I am fairly certain that the person you are looking for is thrid class passenger Harold Theodor Johnson, who was half-Finnish - his mother Aliina (Alice) Backberg who also was travelling with him and survived, as did his sister Eleanor. The three were already Americans and were actually visiting Finland due to a family bereavement at the time and returning on the Titanic. The Swedish-American father had remained behind in St Charles, Illinois, where they were living at the time. In fact, Harold was actually born there and so he really was a bona fide American himself, albeit with a Swedish-Finnish ancestry.

In 1940 Harold Johnson was still living in Illinois, in Elgin this time. He might easily have rented a cabin for fishing in Minnesota from your grandparents.

No other Scandinavian survivor comes close to fitting into your story. You can check Johnson out on the genealogy links to find his contemporary descendants.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

ewoitzel

Member
Sep 12, 2021
3
1
3
Sarasota FL
The only Finnish male child survivor on the Titanic was second class passenger Wiljo (Viljo) Halalainen who was one year old at the time and survived on Lifeboat #10 with his mother Anna. But he cannot be your man; apart from the fact that Anna and Wiljo were headed for Detroit, sadly Wiljo never made it to childhood. He died of endocarditis soon after his 3rd birthday.

But I am fairly certain that the person you are looking for is thrid class passenger Harold Theodor Johnson, who was half-Finnish - his mother Aliina (Alice) Backberg who also was travelling with him and survived, as did his sister Eleanor. The three were already Americans and were actually visiting Finland due to a family bereavement at the time and returning on the Titanic. The Swedish-American father had remained behind in St Charles, Illinois, where they were living at the time. In fact, Harold was actually born there and so he really was a bona fide American himself, albeit with a Swedish-Finnish ancestry.

In 1940 Harold Johnson was still living in Illinois, in Elgin this time. He might easily have rented a cabin for fishing in Minnesota from your grandparents.

No other Scandinavian survivor comes close to fitting into your story. You can check Johnson out on the genealogy links to find his contemporary descendants.
Dear Thomas......I am so excited to receive your information. Yes, this fits all parts so far. I am surprised this name did not come up on the lists I looked at but maybe missed it. I searched 36 male child survivors and he was not even in that list......in ET.org.

I would appreciate any suggestions on finding living relatives.....I did post for them on FB and next will do same on ET.org.

Again, you are my hero!!! Thanks, Evonne (Yoki) DeVold
[email protected] or text at 941-350-0915
 

ewoitzel

Member
Sep 12, 2021
3
1
3
Sarasota FL
Dear Thomas......I am so excited to receive your information. Yes, this fits all parts so far. I am surprised this name did not come up on the lists I looked at but maybe missed it. I searched 36 male child survivors and he was not even in that list......in ET.org.

I would appreciate any suggestions on finding living relatives.....I did post for them on FB and next will do same on ET.org.

Again, you are my hero!!! Thanks, Evonne (Yoki) DeVold
[email protected] or text at 941-350-0915
So sorry ARUN, I saw a comment name, not yours as the sender.....YOU are my hero, many times!!!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,594
982
388
65
Deer Lake, Minnesota appears to be a starighforward 8-hour drive from Elgin, Illinois where Harold Johnson lived in 1940. I suppose it could have taken a bit longer in those days but by 1940 the US was already a well "car orientated" country and so it seems quite possible, even probable, that Johnson used to drive over there for his fishing trips. Also, in another thread here and elsewhere, he is often referred to as a Finnish-American although he was born in the USA from a Finnish mother and Swedish father.

Now I am quite sure that Harold Theodor Johnson is the (4 year old) "Finnish" boy that you alluded to in the OP.
 
Last edited:

Similar threads

Similar threads