Sigrid Lindström

Jun 16, 2006
18
0
71
I find an astoundingly small amount of information regarding Sigrid Lindstrom, considering she was born as a countess in the Posse family.

She is supposed to have had daughters in both England and in the US, but I fail to trace them down.

And what happened to her after Titanic? She became a widow in 1917, but what else?

Does anyone have a photo of her or some relative of hers? Obituaries?

Anything to add to the picture of mrs Lindstrom would be deeply appreciated!
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
0
86
And it would be deeply appreciated by me too! I'd love to know more about this potentially fascinating woman.

Brian Ahern may know a little and might care to make a contribution to get the ball rolling...
 

Brian Ahern

Member
Dec 19, 2002
643
1
146
My research has thus far proved less than fruitful. There is info online regarding her uncle, the one-time prime minister, but not a lot (that I've found) on the Posse family as a whole.

I've done more research on the former Norwegian nobility than on Sweden's aristocracy. Once I really delved into it, there was a surprising amount of info (in English) out there. So I am sure the same will be true with Sweden's families, if I ever take the time.

Maritha - judging from your name, I'm guessing you know a thing or two about Scandinavian society. Would the daughter of a count actually be a countess, or would she have the Swedish equivalent of "lady" or "honourable"?

One interesting thing about Mrs. Lindstrom is that she journeyed to Cherbourg to board the Titanic when she could have caught a ship closer to home such as the Frederick VIII (Scandinavian American Line, I believe). Had she paid other calls in Europe? Had she gone shopping in Paris? Or did she just want to sail on a larger, more luxurious ship?

Another thing that I've often wondered about - and maybe "aloud" on another thread - is what life would have been like for her sister, an aristocrat living in the US and married to a red-blooded yank. I THINK I've tried researching her sister's husband (can't think of his name offhand) - will try again. I've only spent six days of my life in Sweden (and absolutely loved it!), but my impression was that it is a more class-conscious society than its socialistic international image would lead one to believe. I would think it could only have been moreso in 1912.
 

Brian Ahern

Member
Dec 19, 2002
643
1
146
I've just pasted in a whole bunch of links to info on the Posses, then hit the back arrow without thinking and lost it all. Shoot!!!!!

Do I feel like going through it again? Okay, here's the links, but I can't devote so much time on explanations.

Here's a link to a genealogy (in Swedish). Sigrid's (I can't be bothered to keep trying to spell her surname) paternal grandparents were Frederick Salomon Posse, landowner, and Magdalena Charlotta Bennet. The Bennet family, you will see, was originally Scottish but married into the Swedish nobility in the early 17th century.
http://web.telia.com/~u87534568/ant-627.htm

Here's a page in English on her PM uncle, Arvid:
http://www.answers.com/topic/arvid-posse

Here's a more extensive genealogy on the Posses:
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~corpusnobiliorum/posse.html
It has the following info on her parents (taken verbatim):
count Knut Lage Posse, orn 10 March 1821 at Hjälmshult, died 24 October 1900 at Ängelholm, buried Malmö old cemetery, married 12 November 1852 at Malmö Lovisa Aminoff (born 21 December 1829 at Stockholm, died 5 February 1880 at Ängelholm)
I confess I always have trouble navigating genealogies' complex numbering systems, but it seems Sigrid's siblings were Ebba, Arvid and Christer. It mentions none of them as being married to an American or living in New York. Maritha mentioned daughters - perhaps it was a daughter rather than a sister (as ET states) that Sigrid was on her way to visit? The page lists no children for her and Carl Johan, but then it is a Posse site.

Here's another genealogy that only mentions a brother, Arvid.
http://runeberg.org/adelskal/1923/0899.html

There is a great deal of info on all of these families on the web. The trouble is that a) it's mostly in Swedish and b) these families tended to reuse Christian names over and over again for centuries. Many Posse men had the names "Knut", "Lage", and "Arvid". Many Aminoff women were "Lovisa".

That's all the important stuff I posted earlier. It seems that, more recently, Sigrid's niece - Amalie Posse - was important as something or other. I THINK she was a writer and political figure.
 
Jun 16, 2006
18
0
71
Brian, thanks for sharing what you know.

Yes, in Sweden both the wife and the daughter(s) of a count actually get the title countess. (I'm Swedish but have been living in Finland for the past 4 years.)

Ebba, Arvid and Christer were her siblings, yes. Ebba's husband's name I believe was Sigfrid Dreilich. Arvid is a rather blank sheet for me at this point, but Christer I know went to Africa in 1883 to join a Stanley expedition. During that adventure he died (1886) and was buried in Congo. I am not aware of the cause of death. He was unmarried.

Sigrid, I found through Ellis Island, arrived in USA Oct 28, 1911, with S.S. Kaiserin Auguste Victoria. I think she boarded in Hamburg. According to that passenger list it was her first visit in the country and she was actually on her way to her daughter, a Mrs. Sitt...er. (I simply cannot figure out what the letters in between and last should be, I am not skilled enough in reading old writing yet). Destination address was Savoy Hotel in New York.

I have found a little more regarding Sigrid and her relatives (although not really anything about her whereabouts but mostly genealogy stuff) that I will translate into English and post in this thread as soon as I find the time.
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
0
86
Hi Maritha, hi Brian

Although I have no 'answers' to contribute to your consideration of Sigrid Lindstrom, I do have a few questions!

It appears that she was an aristocrat by birth - but how prestigious WAS the Swedish aristocracy in 1912? Brian has suggested that Sweden was an acutely class-conscious society during this period. Would Mrs Lindstrom have enjoyed an equivalent status to, say, Noelle Rothes in Great Britain? Nowadays, we tend to assume that a title automatically confers prestige on the man or woman who holds it but it is worth remembering that, in near-by Russia, 'noble' status did not guarantee wealth, prosperity or access to the smartest social circles. I imagine Mrs Lindstrom had some sort of private income and would have been easily identified as 'a lady' by her fellow first-class passengers aboard the 'Titanic'? I'm a huge fan of Swedish architecture and design (particularly Swedish neoclassicism) and, in social and cultural terms at least, see Sweden as being in no way either provincial or backward.

To what level were women of the Scandinavian gentry educated during this period? Would Mrs Lindstrom have been likely to speak English? German? French? As I've written on another thread, I can think of few things more terrifying than finding oneself on a sinking ocean liner in the middle of the Atlantic, in the middle of a freezing night, when you don't understand the orders or instructions (confusing at the best of times) being issued by the officers and crew! Do we know which stateroom Mrs Lindstrom engaged for the crossing? Or in which boat she made her escape? As far as I'm aware, there was one other well-born Swede travelling in first-class - Bjornstrom-Steffanson - and I find it inconceivable that he did not place himself at Mrs Lindstrom's disposal during the voyage and, even more so, during the sinking.

In his account of the disaster, Colonel Gracie mentions a friendship with Bjornstrom-Steffanson, which came about through a mutual acquaintance with relations of Mrs Gracie in Sweden. I wonder if the Colonel was introduced to Mrs Lindstrom at some point too? To the best of my knowledge, he never mentions her by name.

All the best to you both

Martin
 
Jun 16, 2006
18
0
71
Actually, I don't really know just how prestigious the Swedish aristocracy was at that point. But Sweden was, and I'd say still is, although in a lesser degree, a class-conscious society. The witnesses at her baptism were all nobility and other high classed people (countesses, baronesses etc.)

It does seems like she had some sort of income, since she appears to have been doing some travelling, in Europen countries, and at least once she went to USA (in 1911).

It is likely she spoke at least some other language, yes. English, German and French are all believable possibilites.

She did meet with Bjornstrom-Steffanson, and it was he who helped her into lifeboat 6.

Since she was an acquaintance of Bjornstrom-Steffanson, and he was an acquaintance of Colonel Gracie, I think they most likely at some point were introduced. However, no deeper contact is bound to come out of an introduction, so it may be they never got to know each other.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,046
57
208
UK
Mrs Lindstrom made the acquaintance also of Erik Lindeberg-Lind, a very interesting character who was traveling under an assumed name. On the night of the sinking he and Bjornstrom-Steffansson jointly escorted her to boat 6. Mrs Lindstrom was married to an army captain and had bought one of the cheapest 1st Class tickets, so was probably not notably wealthy. Sweden itself was a relatively poor agrarian country, only beginning the process of industrialisation in which Western European nations were far advanced. Thus the appeal of emigration to North America and even to countries closer to hand, like Denmark and Germany.
.
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
0
86
Thank you for your contributions, Maritha and Bob. Slowly, Mrs Lindstrom is coming into focus! Since she sailed first-class on prestigious ocean liners and stayed in a swanky hotel like the Savoy during her earlier visit to the States, I can't believe that she was THAT strapped for cash. Maybe not in the same league as Colonel Astor but by no means poor.

I wonder where I might be able to find source material in English which might paint a picture of life for the Swedish aristocracy during the early twentieth century? I am acquainted with the biography of Karen Blixen, who was a member of the Danish aristocracy, and imagine there might be some parallels between her life and that of Mrs Lindstrom.

It is interesting to note that, in 1912, the Crown Princess of Sweden was actually English - Princess Margaret of Connaught, the daughter of Queen Victoria's third (and favourite) son, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught. She died tragically in 1920, when eight-months pregnant with her sixth child.
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
0
86
A little light Googling from me has turned up the following information...apologies if I'm merely going over the same ground as Brian and Maritha!

The barony of Hebensund was created by Queen Christina in the seventeenth century and was ceded to Sigrid Lindstrom's ancestor, Knut Posse. Following the German model, every member of a Swedish aristocratic family was entitled to hold the title of either count (or countess) or baron (or baroness). In 1809 an 'Instrument of Government' reformed the hereditary system and, as in Great Britain, titles could only be held by the head of house. However, as this restriction applied only to those ennobled AFTER 1809, Sigrid Lindstrom could legitimately have styled herself as 'Countess' aboard the 'Titanic'.

I confess myself a little confused on this point - Maritha and Brian, you seem to agree that Sigrid WAS a countess. But her family estate was created as a barony. Would that not in fact have meant that she was a baroness? Or did the family receive an 'upgrade' at some point?

Regarding the situation and position of upper-class women in Sweden in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, I've run across a potentially fascinating and very revealing article by Angela Rundquist, published in 'Anthropology Today' in 1987, but - frustratingly - I can only open the first page on the Web! However, Rundquist DOES make the very interesting point that aristocratic rituals - receptions, presentation of debutantes etc - assumed an ever greater importance in royal courts across Europe from the end of the eighteenth century onward. The fact that a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, a niece of Edward VII, had married the heir to the Swedish throne in 1905 suggests to me that a strong English influence may have exerted itself on the court in Stockholm during the period in question. Whether Sigrid Lindstrom herself moved in Court circles is debatable - we'd need to know more of her personal circumstances - but I'd say that it is highly likely, if Sweden was as class-conscious as both Maritha and Brian have implied.
 
Jun 16, 2006
18
0
71
Martin (and Bob, of course),

Yes, she must have had some sort of income/fortune. Probably not even remotely close to Astor or similar, but a sum decent enough to make her able to travel around as much as she appears to have done.

The Posse family can indeed seem to be a bit confusing. It was indeed - as you say, Martin - created as a barony in 1651 as Posse of Hedensund. However, that lineage became extinct 1689. In 1673 another branch of the family had also recieved a barony, which is still alive today as Posse of Säby.

The branch that Sigrid descends from became a barony 1696 and was 'upgraded' in 1706 - so after that they were counts and countesses.

I don't know much in detail about the reformation from 1809, but I'd say what you wrote is likely; that it applied only to those ennobled afterwards. But, if it really DID apply to all titles, then I must revise my notes about her. I'm in a lack of time right now, otherwise I'd dig deeper into this interesting subject immediately. If not someone else already has knowledge about this and might clear things up, I'll try to research it as soon as possible.
 

Brian Ahern

Member
Dec 19, 2002
643
1
146
It's exciting to see details emerging about a long obscure passenger.

My guess would be that her husband's position did shove her into court circles. My guess would be that etiquette dictated that she could call herself "Countess Sigrid Lindstroem" but not "Countess Lindstroem"; just as Lady Helen Taylor isn't "Lady Taylor". And perhaps, after her marriage, it wouldn't have been thought in good taste for her to be too tenacious about having her title recognized, except on formal occasions.

I never assume that aristocrats are rich. So when there's evidence of money, I'm always curious as to where it comes from. The fact that her husband was an army captain with, I assume, a fairly modest income, might indicate that he had wealth from other sources. And I assume he was of gentle birth.
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
0
86
Hi Brian

'...my guess would be that etiquette dictated that she could call herself "Countess Sigrid Lindstroem" but not "Countess Lindstroem", just as Lady Helen Taylor isn't "Lady Taylor"...'

If there were parallels between the Swedish and English hereditary systems, then you are quite correct. Sigrid would have occupied the same position as the daughter of a marquess or an earl, holding a title by courtesy only. 'Countess Lindstroem' (rendered WITHOUT her Christian name) would have implied that she was married to the head of house. Nevertheless, I do find it difficult to believe that she would have dropped her title so casually on occasion. Perhaps the foreign style proved a little too much for the printer of the first-class passenger list?

'I never assume that aristocrats are rich'

Too right - some were, and are, noticeably strapped for ready cash! I like your speculation about the finances of her late husband. If he were an army officer, even a senior ranking one, then the chances are that he was independently wealthy. I too would automatically assume that he was of gentle birth...unless Sigrid married 'out of caste' in which case her story could be even more intriguing!

All the best

Martin
 

Mike Poirier

Member
Dec 31, 2004
1,472
0
106
I vaguely recall that Edith Russell said in one account that on the train to the Titanic she talked with some American and Swedish ladies. Perhaps, if she was correct in saying that, one of them was Mrs. Lindstroem.
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
0
86
Thank you. Was there any first-class passenger Edith Russell DIDN'T chat to at some stage during the voyage? She really seems to have got around! On another thread, Bob has contributed the fascinating information that Mexican Manuel Uruchurtu shared the same train compartment as Mrs Lindstroem on the journey to Cherbourg.

Although not directly relating to Sigrid Lindstroem, I've been doing a little bit of background reading to help set her class and country in a historical context. Interestingly, Queen Alexandra travelled to Scandinavia in the spring of 1908, visiting relatives in Norway, Sweden and her native Denmark. On 26th April, the royal party arrived in Stockholm, where Alexandra was greeted by Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf and his English wife, Crown Princess Margaret.

The visitors were dazzled by the opulence and splendour of the royal palace, which was beautifully furnished with fine furniture and Sevres porcelain from the collection of Napoleon's controversial Marshal Bernadotte. Evidently, the court in Stockholm in no way lagged behind those in London, Berlin, Vienna or St. Petersburg!

During their short stay, the British visitors were entertained at a gala performance of a German opera and at a state banquet, where they dined off consomme printaniere, rissoles de homard a la Italienne, filet of beef, pate de foie gras, sorbet and bombe a la Napolitaine.
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
0
86
Regarding the question of Sigrid Lindstroem and whether she would or wouldn't have used her title...I've this very afternoon been chatting with a Swedish friend of mine. She assures me that, in modern Sweden, it is really not the done thing to make to much of your title if you have one. The only people who DO insist on 'countess' or 'baroness' are perceived as either horribly pretentious or very old-fashioned. In conversation, the familiar style is adopted - even when addressing a member of the Royal Family. This is markedly different from the attitude which still prevails in the UK - it would be regarded as anything from a mere embarrassment to a heinous crime to address a marchioness as 'Mrs'.

Whether this democratic attitude had emerged by 1912, or is of more recent development, is open to debate. Certainly, my friend tells me that Sweden still contains the same petty snobberies as any other country.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,046
57
208
UK
This very morning in a well-known tabloid we read of Tony Blair at a soiree in Holland, where he was introduced to 'Beatrix'. "Hi, Beatrix," said our Tone, "And what do you do?" "I'm Queen".
 
Jun 16, 2006
18
0
71
That's a great one, Bob!
happy.gif


I'm certain that Swedish people back in 1912 would indeed use their titles and that it was not at all as democratic then as it is now!
 
Apr 3, 2008
1
0
31
I have read this thread so first: Sigrid was i Paris so that is why she took Titanic in Cherbourg.

As to the Sweds ant titles, it is true that one does not use them in every day situations.. The "You-revolution" it was called, it came in the 60's to make people more equal. BUT there are some people who this does not comply to. And that is the royal family. To the king it is "your royal highness" or "your majesty" or similar, still today;)
 

Arne Mjåland

Member
Oct 21, 2001
213
0
146
Claes Goran Wetterholm wrote in his book "Titanic" that Sigrid Lindstrom was in 1912 on her way to her sister Mrs Norbert in New York.
The Norbert family, if it is possible to trace them, might be able to supply more information about Mrs lindstrom?