Encyclopedia Titanica

Karl Siegwart Andreas Olsen

Swedish/American Titanic Victim travelling with his young son Artur.

Karl Siegwart Andreas Olsen (Charles Olsen) was born 28 January 1870 in Holstveitveien, Trondheim, Norway to Sivert, b. ca. 1833, and Anna Caroline Marie (née Clemmetsen; born 1848) Olsen and was christened on 10 April the same year in Trondheim. His parents seem to have married 22 November 1868 in Trondheim.

After moving to the United States in 1894 he changed his name to Charles.

He married Ragna Nilsen (unknown when and where, presumably Norway), and they had a son named Artur.  Ragna died in 1906, Arthur remained in Norway with his grandmother.  Meanwhile Karl remarried to a woman named Esther.1,2

In 1912, he lived at 987 Hart Street, Brooklyn, New York, with his new wife. He had trained to become a ship's engineer. 

When Artur's grandmother died Karl returned to Norway to bring his son back to America. The two were returning to New York and were accompanied by their friend Fridtjof Madsen.

He had been back to Trondheim, Norway, to collect his small son Arthur and to settle some business ventures. They were returning on the Titanic.  

They boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers.

After the collision Karl Siegwart carried his almost sleeping son to lifeboat 13 and said to him that he should be a good boy, and that he would soon come back to him.  Frithiof Madsen made it into the lifeboat with Arthur so it is not known why Karl did not join them.  The last Artur saw of his father was when he was standing looking on while the boat was lowered. Karl's body was never found.

Madsen took charge of young Arthur on the Carpathia, and delivered him to his stepmother in New York whom he had not previously met.

The new Mrs. Olsen was pregnant and gave birth to a son, Charles Ernest, shortly before or just after the disaster. The child died, tragically, 16 May 1912, one month after his father died on the Titanic.

From the Red Cross files: 355. (Norwegian) The husband, a resident of this country twelve years, was drowned. His first wife had died, leaving a nine-year-old son, who was cared for by a grandmother in Norway. He had married again, his second wife being an American woman, and, at the time of the disaster, they had a boy eight months old.

He had gone to Norway, upon the death of his mother, to assist in settling her small estate and to bring back his older son. This boy was saved, and is at home with his stepmother. She is 24 years old and before her marriage worked in a factory. Her husband's death left her helpless, as the money which he had provided for her living expenses while he was gone was then exhausted. Immediately after the disaster, the baby died.

This Committee provided for funeral and other immediate expenses, and paid her a monthly pension until her husband's insurance, amounting to $2,000, became available. The husband carried a draft for $527, which was recalled by the bank in Norway that issued it and is now being held for his son. The boy is attending school and is bright and industrious. His stepmother has secured employment in her trade and is earning $10 a week. From other relief funds she received $543.72. Of the appropriation made by this Committee, $1,000 has been placed in trust fro the boy and is being held by the local Charity Organization Society, which will keep supervision of the affairs of the family. ($2,175)

Ester later remarried to William Reichart and together they had a daughter Alvira who was born in Booklyn.


  1. It is unclear if she was American or Swedish.
  2. Probably Esther Novell, married to "Charles S. Olsen" 27 June 1910 in Brooklyn, New York.

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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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Karl Siegwart Andreas Olsen
Age: 42 years 2 months and 18 days (Male)
Nationality: Norwegian
Marital Status: Married to Esther
Occupation: Engineer
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 4579, £8 8s 1d
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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