Encyclopedia Titanica

Anna Amelia Lahtinen

Anna Amelia Lahtinen
Anna Amelia Lahtinen

Mrs William Lahtinen (Anna Amelia Sylfvén), née Anna Amelia Sylfvén, is believed to have been born in Michigan 1 on 17 February 1878. She was the daughter of Oulu natives Juho Jakob Sylfvén (1851-1923) and Briita Elisabeth Seppanen (1849-1920) who had married in 1874.

Her known siblings were: Carl Albert (1875-1942), Johan Victor (b. 1876), Ellen (1881-1918, later Mrs Emil Heikkila), John Benhart (1882-1951), Lydia (1884-1931, later Mrs Emil Heikkila), Edward Elias (1887-1940), Kathryn Elvira (1888-1968, later Mrs Harry Trosin) and William Arthur (1891-1928).

Anna and her family emigrated to the USA around 1878, perhaps not long after her birth, initially settling in Michigan and appearing on the 1880 census as residents of an unspecified address in Hancock, Houghton County where her father worked in a foundry. They relocated in the mid 1880s to Meade, South Dakota where they worked a homestead. Anna would not be present at the family home by the time of the 1900 census when they were living at an unnamed address in Meade County. It appears Anna may have travelled to Finland before returning to the USA around 1903.

She was married circa 1905 to William Lahtinen (b. 1876), a Finland native. The marriage was without issue but they adopted a child, Martha Agnes who was born in St Paul, Minnesota on 29 September 1907. The family were shown on the 1910 census residing at their farm in Cokato, Wright County, Minnesota.                                                        

Anna, her husband and daughter returned to Finland for a visit around September 1911 and her husband had arranged with contractor Nels Hill of Cokato to have a new residence built in Minneapolis, with completion expected soon after their return.

Upon arrival in Finland their daughter Martha became ill, possibly with meningitis and she died on 10 March 1912.


To our dear friends in America, Finland and elsewhere, we notify that our beloved daughter, Martha Agnes, had the good fortune to early leave that land of many enticements of sin, of temptations and of troubles on March 10, at the age of 4 1/2 years. When we arrived at Kemi on our trip to Finland she became ill with brain fever, which in about 3 weeks destroyed her earthly tabernacle, freeing her glorified spirit to return to God who had given it. It was joyous and comforting to see now her heart was moved, even unto tears, when we spoke to her of the blessedness and joy of God's children before the throne of God with the angels and the elect.

Although her body was very weak at the end, and she had pains, she bore this her portion of worldly tribulation with contentment. But now she is free from all trouble; she is no longer in pain or sickness, nor is it difficult for her to breathe, as she lamented in her pain. No longer does her breast heave with sighing ...

Anna & William Lahtinen
Siionin Lahetyslehti (Journal of Zion, April 1912, photo: Minneapolis Star Tribune 21 April 1912)

Anna and her husband, for their return to the USA, boarded Titanic at Southampton as second class passengers (ticket number 250651 which cost £26) and they were joined by her relative Lyyli Silvén for the journey.

Ana Lahtinen

On the evening of 14 April 1912 Anna's niece had enjoyed a "dance" in second class but had returned to her cabin and was asleep at the time of the impact which later wakened her. After this she hastened to find the Lahtinens.

Lyyli seemingly remained with the Lahtinens during the evacuation and reported that Anna, despite appearing to be very nervous, refused to be parted from her husband.

Anna Lahtienen, as well as her husband, died in the sinking and their bodies, if recovered, were never identified.


  1. Birthplace unclear; the 1880 census states she was born in Michigan and the 1900 census states that the family had emigrated in 1877, a year prior to her birth; there are no identifiable birth records for her in Michigan during this period. On the 1910 census she stated she was born in Finland and some sources have suggested that she was born in Vaasa, Finland.

References and Sources

Star Tribune (Minneapolis), 20 April 1912; 21 April 1912

Research Articles

Peter Engberg-Klarström Titanica! (2018) Lost Ladies
Who were they and why did they die?

Newspaper Articles

Believed by a relative to be among those who went down with the Titanic
Cokato Enterprise (25 April 1912) MRS. WM. LAHTINEN DIES WITH HUSBAND



Claes-Göran Wetterholm (1988) Titanic, Prisma, Stockholm. ISBN 91 518 3644 0
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Comment and discuss

  1. Virginia Psick

    Virginia Psick said:

    To Donna Matson or anyone else who may have information on these people. I found a picture in my deceased grandmothers things. On the back it says, Rev. and Mrs. William Lahti and adopted daughter. Drowned in Titanic 1912. Thanks, ginny

  2. Kay Moloney

    Kay Moloney said:

    Would like any info on Anna Amelia and her husband William. Does anyone out there know if there are any photos of the couple,or any living relatives.Any info would be gratefully received.

  3. Brian J. Ticehurst

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Kay - Here is mt printout on the above couple I hope that it helps? Lahtinen, Mrs. Anna Amelia (nee Sylvan). Missing. Wife of Reverend William Lahtinen (see below). 26-years-old. En route from - Kemi, Finland. Going to Minneapolis. Minn. USA. Mrs Anna Lahtinen, aged 26 years. Anna was born in the USA and was visiting her husband's family. After the accident William calmly smoked a cigar whilst Anna clung to him in mortal terror. Her name at first appeared on the list of survivors, but in fact she was drowned. Mrs Lahtinen's daughter Martha died on 10th March 1912 while the family was... Read full post

  4. Dennis Foley

    Dennis Foley said:

    Hi Kay: There are photos of a very-striking (in my opinion) Anna holding her baby, and of her husband, in one of the Titanic Commutators which featured an article on "Finns on the Titanic". I have it boxed away somewhere and would be glad to share it with you if I should come across it. Regards, Dennis Foley

  5. Maritha Boström

    Maritha Boström said:

    I would be very interested in seeing that photo and reading that article if it would still be possible! I am currently doing a lot of research on the Finnish and Swedish passengers and some seem just impossible to get any grip on.

  6. Lester Mitcham

    Lester Mitcham said:

    Maritha, Nothing on the Lahtinens, but have you seen this book? - I'm Going to See What Has Happened: The Personal Experience of Third Class Finnish Titanic Survivor Mrs. Elin Hakkarainen, including the stories of Miss Laina Heikkinen and Miss Anna Sofia Turja by Gerald E. Nummi and Janet A. White.

  7. Maritha Boström

    Maritha Boström said:

    Lester, Thank you very much, I had not seen that book. I was aware of some book by Janet A. White that has been referred to in other threads concerning Finnish passengers, but I never noticed the title of it. Perhaps this was the one. Thanks!

  8. Hildur Panula-Heinonen

    Hildur Panula-Heinonen said:

    Does any one know when baby Martha was born? And are you sure it is'nt spelled the Finn way Martta? They were living in a Finn populated area, after all.

  9. Maritha Boström

    Maritha Boström said:

    Martha was born 1907 (don't have month or day, though). Of course it is possible it was spelled Martta, but many other immigrant parents gave their children names familiar to them from their home countries but did indeed spell them in an American way. Perhaps that was a way to "retain the old country" and at the same time make it easier for their children to grow up in the new country, with names that "fit in".

  10. Hildur Panula-Heinonen

    Hildur Panula-Heinonen said:

    Is she child was born in 1907 and died in 1912, she would hardly be considered an infant now.I wonder why she died? I am interested as well to that picture od the family and that book. I have never heard of it before.

  11. David FIlpus

    David FIlpus said:

    Anna Lahtinen's maiden name was spelled Silfven. Lyyli Sylven was a cousin of Anna's. There is a quite large Silfven family in the United States. Roy Silfven contributed to the Lahtinen family entries in the Encyclopaedia Titanic. He published a Silfven family tree at Lyyli's entry is at... Read full post

  12. Hildur Panula-Heinonen

    Hildur Panula-Heinonen said:

    Oh, my go, thank you so much! This helps alot! A question though, i am 100% Finnish, born and raised in Finland, but i notice that Silfven is not Finnish. It looks if anything to be, typically, Swedish or possibly (far-fetched) Russian. Did Anna have Swedish or Russian in her history?

  13. David FIlpus

    David FIlpus said:

    Anna's grandfather Karl Jacob Silven, added the "f" to Silvén, changing the family name to Silfven, according to Karl's father, Mickel Sipola, adopted the surname Silven, possibly from an occupation change.

  14. Hildur Panula-Heinonen

    Hildur Panula-Heinonen said:

    Mayhaps Anna's grandfather changed his name due to possible immigration?

  15. David FIlpus

    David FIlpus said:

    Quote: Mayhaps Anna's grandfather changed his name due to possible immigration? Perhaps, my sources are vague on when the name was changed from Silven to Silfven. Karl Silfven came to America with his family, so all of the Silfvens have lived in America. However, there is a family gravestone in Tornio Finland with a Silfven family name on it. The gravestone is for Titanic survivor Lyyli Silven's parents, Nikolai Alexanteri and Anna Karolina, her brother and his wife, Johan Ferdinand and Anna Ester and her nephew, Eino Johannes. All of the records, except this gravestone, and all of the... Read full post

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Anna Amelia Lahtinen (née Sylfvén)
Age: 34 years 1 month and 26 days (Female)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 250651, £26
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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