Mr Henry Margido Olsen

Henry Olsen
© Steinar Sletbak, Norway

Mr Henry Margido Olsen was born on 22 March 1884 in Trondheim, Norway.

He was the illegitimate son of Ole Rørosgaard (1846-1923) and Eva Gustava Søderholm (b. 31 October 1864); his father was married to another woman and had a family of his own.

His mother Eva was married on 21 March 1886 to Ulrik Rist Johansen (b. 1856), a house painter. The couple had a child, Henry Svera in May of that year before emigrating before advent of 1887, leaving Henry Margido back in Norway where he was raised by foster parents.

His mother and her new family settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She went on to have a further four children whilst in America: Lillian (b. 1888), Ardella (b. 1890), Arthur Ulric (b. 1891) and Roy (b. 1898). By 1910 the family were living on Prince Street in Cambridge.

Henry later worked on the steamers. He was married on 14 August 1909 to Bergen-native Larsine Magdalena Nilsen Toppe (b. 7 September 1884), known as Sina, who worked as a laundress. The couple had two daughters: Mathilde (b. 1909) and Solveig (b. 1911)


Solveig and Mathilde c. 1913
(© Steinar Sletbak, Norway)

Because Henry and his wife had very little money, Henry Olsen had to borrow to money in order to study for his engineer's exam and had to work in an engineering workshop by day. After passing the exam in March 1912 Henry gained a position as a donkeyman on the N. K. Nordgren company's S.S. Edda under Captain Meidell which was berthed in New York.

He boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third class passenger together with Albert Andersen and Johan Holten who were also going to join the Edda. They all travelled on the same ticket, 4001 which cost £22, 10s, 6d.

None of the men survived the sinking.

Olsen's body was later found by the MacKay Bennett (#173) and he was buried at sea on 24 April 1912. The effects were returned to his widow.

NO. 173. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 27. - HAIR, FAIR.

CLOTHING - Blue suit; green shirt.

EFFECTS - Pipe; silver watch; gold chain; gold ring; purse; memo book.

THIRD CLASS.

NAME - OLSEN.

The Mansion House Fund paid 1817 NKr (£100) to his wife and children on 19 February 1913. Of this 1017 NKr went to Sine Olsen and 800 to the children. 2205 NKr ($625.75) damage claims were paid 16 May 1916, and 607.50 NKr ($168.75) paid 25 January 1917 with a further payment of 25.41 NKr made on 18 January 1928.

His widow Sina never remarried and later ran her own knitting business. She died in Oslo on 26 January 1964.

Both his daughters married and raised families; Mathilde (later Mrs Peter Klausen) died in 1992 and Solveig (later Mrs Lars Sletback) died in 2000.

His mother and step-father were still living in America by the time of the 1930 census, by now residents of Quincy, Massachusetts. What became of them is not certain although it seems they possibly returned to their native Norway.

Credits
Gavin Bell
Claes-Göran Wetterholm
Per Kristian Sebak
Leif Snellman
Steinar Sletbak

Notes
  1. The younger daughter, Solveig, died in the Summer of 2000.
References and Sources
Per Kristian Sebak (1998) Titanic: 31 Norske Skjebner, Genesis Publishers
Claes-Göran Wetterholm (1988, 1996, 1999) Titanic. Prisma, Stockholm. ISBN 91 518 3644 0
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