Monday, September 09, 2013

A Big Surprise! - My GG-Grandfather Served in the Civil War!!

This morning, as I was working on my family history, I found a BIG surprise; my great, great grandfather's Civil War draft registration record. I never knew he served in the Civil War; this changed everything. You can only imagine how excited I was. So, how did I find this? It was on accident while I was researching another ancestor (isn't that how it usually happens?) I just happened to notice one of those little green leaves, "Ancestry hints" on I clicked on the leaf next to his name and it brought me to the original Civil War draft record. As I looked through this record, I noticed these few but very important details:
  • James Burnes
  • white
  • 24
  • Farmer
  • Married
  • Indiana
  • Haw Creek township
  • August 5, 1863. 
Here's the record that changed everything. My great, great grandfather, James Burnes is #14.   Photo credit: . Click the photo to enlarge.

Here's the zoomed in verson of the above picture. Photo Credit:

So, the story does not end there. On the record, right above his name, was his older brother, William Henry Harrison Burnes (#13), who was drafted at the same time as him. My excitement grew even more. I knew very little about William H.H. Burnes. I had never seen any record about him because he died in his early thirties. I wondered, did he die in the war? Was this the reason why he never married or had any children? This opened the door to further my research and this changed my family history quite a bit.

I am grateful for the knowledge I have of my ancestors. To have the Internet to give us "hints" and to educate us about our heritage, is truly a modern day miracle. To continue this family history is a gift for them and us, and many generations.

Meet my great, great grandfather,

James Jay Burnes:

21 December 1838 in Washington, Shelby, Indiana.

Married: 17 November 1859 in County Line, Jefferson, Iowa.

Civil War: Drafted on 5 August 1863.

Children: 11

Widowed: Age 40. 
Never Remarried.

Entered into heaven:
17 Decmeber 1905, (age 66).

"The reward of great men is that, long after they have died, one is not quite sure that they are dead." -Jules Renard

A huge thanks to this little, but very important leaf icon

It's amazing how one small "hint" can change the whole story.

Let's keep connecting the dots!! -Sarah :)


  1. Congratulations on your exciting find! Definitely time for a genealogy happy dance!

    1. Thank you Jana!! I agree. It's great to share this excitement with many others who love family history, as much as I do.

    2. Sarah,

      I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

      Have a wonderful day!

    3. Jana,
      What an honor to have my blog listed in Today's Fab Finds! This means so much to me. #7 has always been my lucky number ;)

      Thank you!!
      -Sarah :)

  2. Congrats! I too am the (great-great) grand daughter of a Union soldier, as well as the (great-great-great) grand daughter of two others! Dwight Clarkson Jaquay served with Company D, 189th NY, while Giles Olonzo Main and Orlando Ceperley also served with the New York Infantry. As such, I am a proud member of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and would be glad to send you information about the organization!

    1. Ann, I would be very interested in learning more about the organization. This new discovery means unchartered waters for me. Feel free to send any information to
      Thanks for everything!!

  3. I am also descended from Civil War veterans and would love to learn more. I have both Union and Confederates in my family - one my mother's maternal side, the other her paternal side. Congratulations on finding the information!

    1. Debi,
      That's great that you have so much family history from the Civil War!! Great work! Thanks for your kind words.
      -Sarah :)