Monday, June 7, 2010

Titanic: Pålsson (Paulson): A mother and four children forever lost

Alma Cornelia Berglund Pålsson and her children made the journey in third class leaving Gruvan, Sweden headed for Chicago, Illinois. It is alleged that she took too long to prepare her children and missed the lifeboats, and that another passenger attempted to save two of them, but lost his grip on them. Neither of these allegations has been corroborated.

Nils Pålsson had emigrated to Chicago first, to set up a home and to work, earning enough money to bring his wife Alma and their children to the United States. The journey to Titanic was a long one; Alma and her children left Gruvan, Sweden travelling first to Malmö, Sweden, then to Copenhagen, Denmark, finally boarding Titanic in Southampton, England.

I think it is interesting to note that, on both the gravemarker and in the account offered, the family name Pålsson has been anglicized.

The following account of Mr. Pålsson's search for his family is provided by Encyclopedia Titanica :

"Paulson looked pale and ill when he leaned hungry eyed over the desk and asked in broken English if his wife or children had been accounted for. Chief Clerk Ivar Holmstrom scanned his list of third class passengers saved. He failed to find there any of the names enumerated by Paulson. "Perhaps they did not sail," he suggested hopefully. Then he looked over the list of those who sailed third class on the Titanic...The process of elimination was now complete. "Your family was on the boat, but none of them are accounted for," said Clerk Holmstrom."

"The man on the other side of the counter was assisted to a seat. His face and hands were bathed in cold water before he became fully conscious. He was finally assisted to the street by Gust Johnson, a friend who arrived with him. Paulson's grief was the most acute of any who visited the offices of the White Star, but his loss was the greatest. His whole family had been wiped out."

Grave marker photograph Copyright ©Jennifer Geraghty-Gorman
Encyclopedia Titanica:
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