Do you ever wish you knew more?
The older I get, the more I want to know about my past.
Who really am I?
On one side of my family is a history I’ll never be able to research properly but on the other I can, so I will.
I recently started looking into my family tree more at Ancestry.co.uk. Things floating around all of these years….
Was Granny Smith an adopted Jew?
Why was she adopted?
Did she have siblings?
Where is her real family?
What really killed my great aunt as a child?
Did we know more about the grandfathers that died so young?
All of these questions and no answers.
With such elderly great aunts, some give me answers. I have no grandparents left. They didn’t like to talk though, it was always quiet and forbidden.
Shouldn’t this be information to be passed down and never forgotten?
Today we went in search of a grave!
I’d found out that my great aunt was buried in Anfield Cemetery, the fourth oldest cemetery in the country, opening in 1896!
For more info, please see Anfield Cemetery
My family had lived in Aintree at the time of Mary Alicia Sawyers death, aged just 5. Over the years when trying to ask, I got told that she had contracted a virus off one of the servants. I was told she was given a vaccine but didn’t need it so was killed by the vaccine itself. I’ve not had this confirmed. Mary’s sister was only 18 months old at the time and I don’t think she fully knew what happened. Sadly my grandfather who was Mary’s older brother is no longer with us.
No one ever got over Mary’s death.
When we arrived at the cemetery today, we were blown away by the grand scale of it. We spoke to a man who was out walking when we arrived and coincidentally someone he knew was passing and he called him over to give us advice. This man gave tours of the cemetery in his spare time. Bob was his name and he’d actually rescued all of the records being destroyed some years back and stored them in his house. He told us we wouldn’t find Mary’s grave because we had little information and because of how big the place was.
He did tell us some interesting facts! ‘Jack The Ripper’ was buried in the grounds and he walked us over to the grave. The headstone was cracked in half and he said it had been vandalised and repaired many times. He explained that this man was killed by his American wife in the end by accident but she served 16 years in prison for his murder. He was accused of the murders because of his link to white chapel and that he went to London on business often.
For more information on the vile crimes committed by the Ripper please see Here
Bob pointed out that the grave behind this one was family of those who owned the Titanic.
We said our farewells to Bob who gave us his number should we want his help with finding our families grave. He had offered us to go to his house and see the records.
We were just desperate to look around the cemetery and by some miracle find the grave.
We did know the family was wealthy and that the grave had multiple family members in. My Aunty could tell me that the tomb stone was black granite. We had in our heads that it would be a larger grave stone and that it may have withstood the elements better.
How do you feel about graveyards?
My husband does not like them. I do like them and I strangely feel safe in them. It’s beautiful, peaceful and I feel the history bouncing through the air as I wander around. It was nice to be walking around with my mum and my children scouring the headstones looking for clues. There was so much beautiful wildlife around us.
Mum and I ended up separating slightly as the paths drifted in all directions. Then my phone rang. Mum had found it!!! The feeling was magical!!
We quickly made our way over and she was crying. There’s a strong connection to this beautiful little girl that we never got to meet. An unkept grave with a beautiful headstone. The headstone next to it had fell apart and was on the grave so we moved it. We got to learn more family history by the details of other family members on the grave. The grandfather who died so young of typhoid after only being married for 6 months.
Finding this grave today means the world to us. It’s like finding a missing piece to a puzzle. Finding a connection and a place we can go to connect in some way to family we can only imagine. Today was a good day and if you’ve ever wondered about your past, go research it whilst you can and pass it down and down ❤️