Encyclopedia Titanica

Kalle (Karen) Marie Kristiane Abelseth

Kalle (Karen) Marie Kristiane Abelseth
Kalle (Karen) Marie Kristiane Abelseth

Miss Kalle (Karen) Marie Abelseth, was born on 14 September 1895 in Örskog, Nilsgård, Romsdal County, Norway, and was christened 6 October the same year1.

Her parents were Iver Kristian Martinus, b. 31 December 1863 at Örskog, and Nikoline Petrine Asmundsdatter Nilsen (b. 19 November 1866 at Örskog), who had married 25 April 1887 in Örskog. Her brothers and sisters included Lisa Petrine, b. 18 February 1891 (she may have died young), Nils Peter, b. 14 January 1897, Bergitte Andrea Nilsine, b. 26 February 1899, Lisa Olivia, b. 3 November 1900, and Anna, Louise, and Laurits.

Anna, Lisa, and Bertha emigrated to the USA. The brothers remained in Norway.

Miss Abelseth was travelling with Olaus Abelseth (who, being a family friend, accompanied her but apparently was no relation), Anna Salkjelsvik, Peter Søholt, Sigurd Hansen Moen and Adolf Humblen. They all set sail from Ålesund to Newcastle via Bergen and boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third-class passengers. Karen's destination was 848 East Adams Street in (Inglewood) Los Angeles, California. where her sister Anna lived.  She shared a cabin with Anna Salkjelsvik and some Swedish girls.

She slept through the collision but was woken up by Adolf Humblen. When she went out in the corridor the people had risen "and came dragging their trunks". She became very scared. Sigurd Moen had to hold on to her because she was shaking with fright. Up on deck she was escorted by Olaus, Moen and Søholt to a lifeboat (possibly lifeboat 16). Moen said to her to be brave, all would be well in the end. Then the boat was lowered.

Karen was some time at St. Vincent Hospital before she was able to continue to Minneapolis.

Karen married to Harry Sylvester Little and had two sons Norman and Francis and three daughters, Phyllis, Wanda and Iris. In 1956 she was living in Los Angeles. She died in Inglewood, California on 27 July 1969.  She was buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery, California.


  1. Her last name was listed ''Nilsen.'' The name Abelseth, which refers to the place they lived, seems to have been added later.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Miss Kalle (Karen) Marie Kristiane Abelseth (Nilsen)
Age: 16 years 7 months and 1 day (Female)
Nationality: Norwegian
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: in Sondmore, Norway
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 348125, £7 13s
Rescued (boat 16)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Cause of Death:
Buried: Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, California, United States

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References and Sources

Inglewood Daily News (California), 28 July 1969, Death Notice
Bygdebladet, 21 March 1992 [Photo]
Claes-Göran Wetterholm (1988, 1996, 1999) Titanic. Prisma, Stockholm. ISBN 91 518 3644 0
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Names and Descriptions of Alien Passengers Embarked at the Port of Southampton, 10 April 1912 (PRO London, BT 27/780B).
List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB 85 T715 Vol 4183
Find a Grave (Nils M. Solsvik. Jr)
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912

Newspaper Articles

Chicago Daily News (24 April 1912) TITANIC RESCUED HERE
Five Left of Party of Ten from Sweden Arrive on Way to Pacific Coast
Los Angeles Times (4 December 1958) Titanic Survivors meet Titanic film producer
Inglewood Daily News (28 July 1969) Karen Little (Abelseth) Death Notice


(2004) Karen Abelseth
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Comment and discuss

  1. Holly Tomren

    Holly Tomren said:

    Thank you for showing the human side of this tragedy. I was able to find information about my relative, Karen Marie Abelseth (3rd class passenger). I am searching for her descendants and more information on her. If anyone can help me, let me know. Holly Tomren Long Beach, CA

  2. seedygirl

    seedygirl said:

    I am one of Karen's grandchildren. She was the best grandmother anyone could ever ask for. As children, we were instructed to NEVER ask about Titanic, it was too distressing to her. There is a letter, sent to her father shortly after the sinking, which explains her experience.

  3. Gygantor92

    Gygantor92 said:

    Not to be too nosy, but did you ever get to read the letter yourself, or only heard about it? I was just reading about the Abelseth family today. I could imagine it being very distressing, and unfortunately unforgettable for her in the worst way. In a way it's... Read full post

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Gavin Bell, UK
Trevor Baxter, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Claes-Göran Wetterholm, Sweden
Dan Martin
Arne Mjåland, Norway
Per Kristian Sebak, Norway
Leif Snellman, Finland