As mentioned in our column in the Mormon Times this week, we have been in England and most especially in Liverpool. Since so many of the families in the Salt Lake Valley hail from pioneer stock who left for the port at Liverpool, we thought it might be interesting for you to see some close-ups of what we found there. From the time I (Linda) was a child I have heard about our ancestors’ longings to come to America in the middle to late 1800s. Some made it in better condition than others. The most horrendous story was referred to in the column as my dad Jacobson’s ancestors left from Denmark and somehow got to Liverpool to join their fellow saints on their journey to “Zion”. Their oldest daughter had died suddenly just before they left their home in Denmark but regardless, they packed up their five other children, sold most of their belongings and embarked for America.
Little did they know, after waiting in squalid conditions at the Liverpool port that some passenger would carry the measles onto the ship. During the journey four little Jacobson children died in a measles epidemic on board. Three were buried at sea and one little son died just as they sighted land. He was carried through Ellis Island and buried in an unknown grave in New York City.
That’s just one story of the countless (over 9 million immigrants in all–the largest immigration point in the history of the world) families that passed through Liverpool, but it is our story, so needless to say it was truly a thrill to be there at the spot where they and so many of our others embarked for their new lives.
Never in their wildest dreams would any of our forefathers have been able to envision their great great grandchildren coming back to that place and being able to get a bird’s eye view of where they left from the Liverpool “Eye”! What a grand time we had in that giant ferris wheel circling three times to get a good look from the air of where our great great grandparents had given up everything from their former lives to travel at great cost to America.
One building we know was there for sure when they were was the Liver Building, complete with two Liver birds at the top. Legend has it that because the birds aren’t facing each other, one is looking out to sea to guard the seafarers and the other is watching over the progress of the city. Here is what it looked like from the air:
The actual docks are amazing! They have been completely refurbished and painted but they are the same ones that would have been there when they left. These docks were used mostly for receivng and sending out goods. At one time Liverpool sent out forty percent of all the clothing products in the world!:
There is an enormous museum there with an Immigrant Museum downstairs where you could hear the sounds and see the sights and get a taste of what those great grandparents must have experienced on those perilous journeys.
There is a life-sized re-creation of one of the sailing ships. This one however was probably the Taj Mahal compared to the ones our ancestors could afford:
Trunks like this were filled with everything precious and lovely this family owned. So much was sold or left behind!
This magnificent newly refurbished building above was standing over the Liverpool ports where they left.
With the hustle and bustle of a now thriving, modern town, Liverpool in the 1800s must have been quite a site to those great ancestors who, because of their faith, determination and courage have changed our lives and the lives of our children and on and on and out of sight…forever!