Encyclopedia Titanica

Gunhilde Oline 'Lena' Jacobsen

Lena Jacobsen Solvang was born Gunhilde Oline Johannesdatter on 21 December 1848 and christened 31 December in Skaare (Haugesund), Rogaland, Norway.

She was the daughter of Johannes Torstensen Fedjedal/Teigadahl, a farmer and fisherman b. 1813 at Skaare and christened 3 April 1814, and Gonnel/Gunnild Christine Hansdatter, b. 7 February 1817 at Avaldsnes, who had married 11 April 1844 at Avaldsnes, Rogaland County, Norway.

Her siblings were Berthe Christine, b. 18 June 1844, Osmund, b. 12 April 1846, Anna Henrikke, b. 6 September 1851, and Marthe Mallene, b. 4 April 1854.

She seems to have had four children, a son Ole, two daughters Berthe and Ragna, and a step-daughter Elizabeth1,2,3

In 1875, Lena (listed Gonnel Oline Johannesdatter) lived at Feidjedal, Skåre, Torvastad, Utsira, Rogaland County, Norway, with her parents and two daughters, and she was listed as being unmarried.

At some point she married Rasmus Jacobsen, a general labourer b. 14 April 1833 at Udsire/Utsira Torvastad, Rogaland.4 

In 1900, she lived at Sørhaug, Skåre, Norway, with her husband Rasmus Jakobsen, b. 1833, son Ole, b. 1881, and daughter Ragna, born 11 January 1895 at Skaare.5

Her husband passed away between 1900 and 1910, for in 1910, she still lived at Sørhaug, now a widow and her occupation noted as a seamstress, with her daughter Ragna. 

Lena Jacobsen Solvang was travelling to her married daughter Berta Berg in Centerville, South Dakota, when she perished in the sinking of the Titanic. It is reported that Bernt Johannesen, a survivor who knew her, helped her to the boat deck and escorted her to a lifeboat on the port side of the ship, purportedly No. 10 or No. 12, but left her there, thinking she would enter the lifeboat. For reasons unknown she stayed on the ship and was lost. It is not known why she went by the name 'Solvang' in the White Star Line passenger list.


  1. According to the lawsuit filed after the disaster, Lena had three children: Bertha Berg of Centreville, South Dakota; Mike Dahl of Reedley, California, who was a miner born 21 February or 21 March 1881 in Norway who had come to the USA in 1901; and Mrs B. Norman of North Bend, Oregon. She also had a step-daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Wilhelmine Larsen (nee Jacobsen;  she had been born 25 March 1860 in Haugesund, the daughter of Rasmus Jacobsen and Karen Elisabeth Israelsdatter, who had married 10 June 1855 at Haugesund.  Mrs. Jacobsen passed away at some point after 1875, leaving Rasmus Jacobsen a widower.
  2. or, at least, he was a son to either Mr. or Mrs. Jacobsen. An Olai Rikard Michal Nilsen had been born 22 March 1881 and christened 28 March in Haus, Hordaland, Norway. He was the son of Rasmus Nilsen and Aase Oline Pedersdatter (his date of birth matches but the mother's name is a bit far away from Gunhild Oline Johannesdatter, aka Lena Jacobsen Solvang; it is possible he was Rasmus' son rather than Mrs. Solvang's. To add to the confusion, he stated his father's name was Dahl when he came to the USA, and so did his sister Thomine) and died 5 December 1953 in Fresno. In 1917/1918, when he enlisted in the US Army, he still lived in Reedley, and he stated that his closest relative was Mrs. F. O. Norman of Hopewell, Oregon. This was Mrs. Frank O. Norman, Thomine, born in Norway 15 April 1871, who passed away 23 March 1951 in Tacoma, Washington. Her birth name was Johanne Thomine Nilsen, born 15 April 1871 and christened 29 May the same year in Skaare, (Haugesund) Rogaland, Norway, the daughter of Niels Theodor Nielsen and Gunhild Oline Johannesdatter.
  3. Bertha Kristine Berg was born Berthe Christine Mortensen 20 September 1873 and christened 19 October the same year in Haugesund, Rogaland, the daughter of Jens Edvard and Gunhilde Oline (nee Johannesdatter) Mortensen. Lena's two daughters were subseqently born out of wedlock and had different fathers.
  4. The Norwegian Foreign Department (?1912) stated she was the widow of R. Jacobsen
  5. This daughter is not mentioned in any official document and she may have emigrated to the USA around 1911 (or passed away at a young age).
  6. According to the Norwegian Foreign Department Lena Jacobsen (Solvang) had two stepgrandchildren who in 1912 lived at an orphanage in Haugesund; Karen Larsen, 13 years of age (b. 2 May 1898), and Torine Larsen, 11, (b. 24 August 1900 in America), also mentioned as Kristiansdatter. Karen was Karen Ragnhild who had been born 2 May 1898 and christened 3 July the same year in Haugesund and was the daughter of Hans Kristian and Lisabet Vilhelmine (nee Rasmussen) Larsen. Mrs. Larsen had passed away, purportedly in or around 1903, aged about 43, and the two daughters were subsequently placed at the orphanage.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Gunhilde Oline 'Lena' Jacobsen (Solvang) (née Johannesdatter)
Age: 63 years 3 months and 25 days (Female)
Nationality: Norwegian
Marital Status: Widowed
Last Residence: in Skåre, Norway
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 65305, £8 2s 3d
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)
Per Kristian Sebak (1998) Titanic: 31 Norske Skjebner, Genesis Publishers
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Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Per Kristian Sebak, Norway