Mr Karl Alfred Backström

Karl Alfred Backström was born on 14 January 1880 in Kejtala, Loviisa, Finland, to parents Karl Gustav, b. 26 February (or June) 1842 at Kejtala, and Sofia Lovisa (nee Grundström; b. 10 March 1843 at Borgå) Backström.

He had two siblings, one of whom was Anna Sofia, b. 4 July 1875.

He was a carpenter and stood 5'7'', had brown hair and light eyes.

Karl had been in the USA previously, but returned about 1911 and married Mathilda Gustafsson. However, the following year he received an offer to be foreman for some construction work in USA and he and Mathilda decided to go. He wanted to work with people he knew and persuaded her brothers Johan Birger Gustafsson and Anders Vilhelm Gustafsson to accompany them. Mathilda was 6 months pregnant when they started. They travelled from Hangö to Hull on the Polaris and boarded the Titanic at Southampton, their tickets cost 618 Finnish Marks (£25.7s).

Karl, Johan and Anders were lost in the sinking and Maria decided to go back to Finland, where she arrived on 9th May 1912. She later received £325 in damages for her loss.

Karl Alfred's body was never found.

He had come to the USA in December 1906, bound for New York, and was listed as a 'labourer.' He had also been to San Francisco earlier on. He married Maria Mathilda Gustafsson 24 September 1911. She would survive the sinking. They were bound for New York. He had been to the USA before, but returned to Finland in 1911 and married Maria Mathilda that year. He had been offered a job as a supervisor at a construction firm in the USA. From the Red Cross files: 028. (Finnish) Husband drowned, while returning from a visit to Finland with his wife and her two brothers. The wife was saved, the two brothers were drowned. The wife was pregnant. She and her husband had lived in this country seven years. The wife returned home in April, 1912, to make her home with her mother. She was given $300 and clothing while in New York and was paid £100 from the English funds. (Referred to the English Red Cross)


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Peter Engberg, Sweden
Leif Snellman, Finland
Claes-Göran Wetterholm, Sweden

References and Sources

Claes-Göran Wetterholm (1988, 1996, 1999) Titanic. Prisma, Stockholm. ISBN 91 518 3644 0
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2020) Karl Alfred Backström Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #663, updated 13th January 2020 22:08:04 PM)