This blog is dedicated to my parents, brothers, sister, and cousins who are descendants of Johannes (John) Gutke and Johanna Mork Gutke (pictured above). I am in the process of posting everything I have, so that I can back up documents/photos and also access the info from any location. There are likely to be mistakes, so check back often and feel free to comment if you have corrections!


Deniane Gutke Kartchner


Truth to Titanic story?

Growing up I reveled in the story that our great-great grandfather Andrew Frederick Gutke was scheduled to sail on the ill-fated Titanic and yet had a premonition to not board the ship. He was returning home from an LDS mission in Europe.

A few years ago I learned that LDS missionaries were indeed scheduled to sail on this ship and did not, so I began more earnest research to prove or disprove the story.* In the process of researching I contacted an archivist at the LDS Church Archives, and he answered my questions with the following:

"According to our records, Anders F. Gutke was set apart on 10 March 1910 for a mission to Sweden. He arrived there on 3 April 1910 and was assigned to work in Goteborg. Later, on 2 November 1911 he was assigned to the Norrkoping Conference. He sailed for home from the port of Liverpool, England, on either 1 or 2 May 1912 aboard the ship Corsican in company with Elder Carl O. Peterson of Murray, Utah. They apparently arrived in Salt Lake City on 19 May 1912. The Titanic sunk on 15 April 1912."

So, did he, or did he not at one time plan to board the Titanic?  I still don't know. We don't have any records (journals, etc.) to recount the story, and the research assistant "could find no information in the missionary records that shed any light on the story about Elder Gutke and his forewarning about the Titanic's demise."**

*Lorin, our kids and I visited the Titanic exhibition when it came to Salt Lake City. One of the displays mentioned the name of a missionary as "Alma Sonne", so I started my research there. The Church History departed responded that Alma Sonne was a missionary in England who was scheduled, along with several other missionaries to sail home on the Titanic. "One elder, Fred Dahle, was unable to arrive at port on the scheduled departure date, so Elder Sonne canceled the missionaries' bookings for the Titanic and rebooked them for the Mauretania that left a day later. The story of the episode involving Elders Dahle and Sonne is recounted in the book A Man Named Alma: The World of Alma Sonne by Conway B. Sonne (Bountiful, UT: Horizon Publishers, 1988). Alma Sonne was born in 1884, so he would have been 28 years old at the time of his return home from the British Mission in 1912. He was sustained as a Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1941 and to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976. He died in 1977."

**Most of the information extracted for me came from the Missionary Record Index, 1830-1971, Missionary Registers, and the unpublished "Manuscript History of the Swedish Mission." Next time I go to the Church Archives I am going to read through these indexes and see what I can learn about his mission. 

Photo of Elder Gutke and a companion. Would this companion by chance be Carl O. Peterson of Murray who traveled home with him on the Corsican?

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