Miss Velin Matilda Öhman was born in Eks, Mariestad, Västergötland, Sweden on 14 March 1890.
She was the illegitimate child of Johanna Sofia Öhman (b. 1863)1 and she was fostered at a young age by Peter and Matilda Johnson of Eks, Mariestad.
Velin boarded the Titanic in Southampton, Hampshire, England as a third class passenger (ticket number 347085 which cost £7, 15s, 6d) and she was travelling to Chicago, Illinois to a Henry Forsander who, she claimed, was her uncle (he was in fact her fiancé). She was reportedly travelling with a woman and her child but their identity is not certain (possibly Elna and Telma Ström?).
On the night of the sinking Velin was rescued in collapsible C with her acquaintance Hilda Hellström who shared a hipflask of brandy in the lifeboat to settle their nerves and keep them warm. It was related that she was clad only in her nightdress and slippers.
Upon reaching New York City Velin continued to Chicago and later Anglicised her name to Vivian. She was married to Henry Forsander (b. 19 May 1883 in Sweden), who had emigrated in 1910. The couple had only one child, a daughter named Elsie who was born on 13 September 1916 (later Carson, 1916-2009). Henry worked as a pattern maker before becoming a watchman for a clothing and furniture manufacturer.
Around 1918 the family were living at 2736 Lincoln, Chicago. They were shown on the 1930 census living on Foster Avenue, Chicago and on the 1940 census at 5056 Balmoral in the same city. Henry's 1942 military draft shows the family at the same address and lists his place of employment as 6600 Pontchartrain Boulevard, Chicago.
Velin was widowed when Henry died on 24 July 1963 and she later lived with her daughter. Suffering from a heart ailment in later years Velin died in the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Chicago on 19 November 1966 aged 76. She had, according to her obituary, only watched the 1953 film Titanic the previous Sunday on television but was unable to view until the end of the film before going to bed.
Velin and her husband are buried in Chapel Hill Gardens Cemetery in Chicago.
Articles and Stories
Chicago Tribune (1966)
Claes-Göran Wetterholm, Sweden
Phillip Gowan, USA
Greg Koci, USA
Leif Snellman, Finland
- Her death certificate gives her parents' names as Per and Matilda Ohman, her adoptive parents. No father's name was listed on her birth record.
References and SourcesState of Illinois Medical Certificate of Death
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Claes-Göran Wetterholm (1988, 1996, 1999) Titanic. Prisma, Stockholm. ISBN 91 518 3644 0