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.
IN MEMORY OF MARTHA LAHTINEN
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 (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.
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.
Articles and Stories
Cokato Enterprise (1912)
Juho Peltonen, Finland
Leif Snellman, Finland
Claes-Göran Wetterholm, Sweden
- 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.