Showing posts with label Inspiring Stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inspiring Stories. Show all posts

Friday, September 14, 2012

How To Use Facebook To Find Living Relatives

Facebook isn't just for Social Networking! In fact, this powerful platform with more than 900 million users has helped me to connect with many people, including distant cousins. Yes, Facebook is awesome for more than one reason!!

As I began on my family history adventure, I was learning more about my heritage than I could ever imagine. After only one year of extensive research, I traced my lineage back 7 generations, which was quite the conquest, considering that I didn't know my paternal grandfather (father's, father), or anything about him. After discovering that my Great, Great, Great Grandparents, George Washington Burnes & Sarah Walker Burnes had settled in Hope, Indiana I was anxious to get out there. So, I booked a flight to Indianapolis, Indiana and left on May 18, 2007. After a successful trip of meeting family and transcribing headstones, my knowledge of my heritage had increased, and I felt closer to my ancestors.

Many of my siblings have joined Facebook, but a few have not embraced the Facebook phenomenon. So I did a search for my brother JAMES BURNES, and the first person to show up was someone who resembled my brother, with the same name and spelling, but lived over 2,000 miles away; in Indianapolis, Indiana. The city he lived in was a clue that we could be related, so I wrote him a message and guess what I found out?

Here's the screenshot from our first conversation on Facebook:

As you can see, from our conversation above, we discovered we are 4th cousins, which means we share the same Great, Great, Great Grandfather; George Washington Burnes. From our connection, we have acquired many photographs and details about our ancestors that we never knew existed. More importantly, we have "CONNECTED THE DOTS" and our family continues to grow.

Give it a try!!
Start searching for distant cousins on Facebook!!

Find more BURNES info at

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Father's Day Tribute to Brady

I wanted to take a moment to give a formal tribute to the man in my life who has blessed me with 5 beautiful children. A Father who dedicates his life to serving his family and loves doing it. He has a great love for each of his children, and shares a deep relationship with all of them.
He has the ability to stay calm when the chaos hits! 
He has a sense of humor that the little ones can relate to and teenagers love.
He can make anyone feel like they're the most special person alive.
He's smart. He's dedicated. He's handy. He's Patient.
But above all, he's the greatest father I have ever known.
Happy Father's Day Brady!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Genealogy Proved The Truth - Correcting False Truths

I felt the impression to get a little personal in this entry because of my struggles with the "false truths" in my own family. There were a lot of details in my Family History that didn't quite add up.

Here's what I mean:

My father was an only child to William Emry Burnes & Ruth Imogene Adams. I was told my grandfather William Burnes was around 50 years old when he married my grandma Ruth when she was only 18 years old. I was told that grandpa most likely had a wife and children he left back in Iowa when he married my grandma. I was told they most likely eloped and "ran away" to California together. My father believed this to be the truth because everything added up that way. Does this sound like a small town scandal to you? Well that's what I thought too. My grandfather died from a heart attack at a young age of 62, leaving behind his only child, a son (my father) age 12, and his wife (grandma) age 33. Imagine losing your father at the age of 12 and not knowing the truth.

I knew very little about my grandfather, and what little information I did know, wasn't very charming. I too lived with this same knowledge of my grandfather, as my father did because of the family history that was tied to him through "false truths".

My quest for TRUTH:
My brother William Aaron Burnes was named after his grandfather; William Emry Burnes, and they both died on the exact day, March 13th, 50 years apart, 1956 & 2006.  After my brother's death, I would embark on something very unknown; the Burnes Genealogy & Family History. Many remarkable events unfolded, including the miraculous "Will Ball". I began tracing our lineage only to find how difficult and merely impossible it was. This is not the case with most people starting their genealogy, but that's how it was with me. At times I wanted to give up, but there is a power in all of us to "learn the truth" especially when it comes to our heritage.
It is who we are, why we are, and where we will go that kept me going.

As I began on this genealogy journey and started discovering the truth of our heritage, I had a dream of my brother William. In my dream he was beautiful! His skin, his eyes, his entire physical appearance was radiant. He walked up to me, looked at me in the eyes, hugged me (with great power) and said two words to me; "thank you". He turned and walked out the excessively large wooden ornate doors that he had walked in. I awoke the next morning in tears because of this encounter I had while dreaming. The dream was so intense, but more importantly I retained everything I had seen and heard so perfectly, and I knew it was the newly discovered TRUTH behind our family history that William was thanking me for; the truth about our grandfather. The same truth he was trying to discover before his passing.

The TRUTH was this:

My Grandfather, William Emry Burnes was an incredible man! A World War I Navy Hero, The city Sheriff,  a Free Mason, a violinist, a successful Business Owner, a Deep Sea Fisherman, an Honest man, Hard working & intelligent.

He was a young man who had carried the heavy load of supporting his mother and siblings through the death of his father during the time of the Great Depression.  He was the oldest of 8 children, and without hesitation,  he took on the responsibility to support his mother, brothers and sisters and their spouses through the painful years of the depression.  A second cousin confirmed this, stating “he even made sure his sisters and sister in laws had beautiful hats and shoes to wear.” At the age of 37, when all of his siblings were able to make it on their own, he married his first wife, Kathryn Fleig. The short marriage of 3 years ended when he noted in the divorce papers that he stayed faithful for the space of 3 years awaiting her return. The papers also stated this small but very important detail "no children were born to this marriage". For unknown reasons, she had left him and never came back. Heartbroken by this tragedy he removed himself from the "normal" way life should be, and focused on living an honest life as the local town Sheriff and Business Owner. It was eleven years later that he would meet Ruth Imogene Adams in Batavia, Iowa. He was 49 years old, she was 19, the perfect match separated by 31 years. They married a few months later and set off to start their lives far from home; in Napa, California. They had two children together, one son (my father) and a baby girl who died just a few hours after she was born. They lived a happy life together for 12 years, until his death in 1956. This was not the typical story for most of your grandparents, but this was mine, and one that I am very proud of.

The passion I have for doing genealogy is very personal to me. It defines the line between the truth and the unknown. It gives me hope, it gives me knowledge, but mostly it gives me the opportunity to link our ancestors together as one family. We live in a day in age, where we can learn the truth of our ancestors from many genealogical websites like;
Ancestry, Family Search , Findagrave , USGenweb , Google and so many more. My newly discovered lineage has impacted the way I view myself and every living and non living person. I know our loved ones who have passed on, are still here, just unseen to our earthly eyes. We can feel them close when we are in tune to them. We all have ancestors cheering for us, helping us daily, and strengthening us as we bear the burdens of this life. They have paved that rocky road so we can pay it back to them by keeping them alive, in us, and staying true to our family name and heritage.

I am so truly blessed to have corrected the "false truths" about my own family history. May we all be diligent in seeking for the truth to clear up those uncertain details and to give credit, where credit is due.

A Tribute to William Emry Burnes:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Prayer is a Gift from God >>

To me, prayer is a gift from God. We all have the privilege of communicating with our Heavenly Father through prayer which enables us to become more Christlike. I have overcome many challenges because of prayer. I cannot afford to go one day without the guidance of my Heavenly Father, for it is He, whom I trust to steer me back to Him. 
Here are a few of my favorites quotes on prayer: 
  • Matthew 7:7 ”Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will  find; knock, and it will be opened to you."
  • "Communication with our Father in Heaven is not a trivial matter. It is a sacred privilege. It is based upon eternal, unchanging principles. We receive help from our Father in Heaven in response to our faith, obedience, and the proper use of agency." -Elder Richard G. Scott
  • John 14:13-14 "Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If  you ask me anything in my name, I will do it"
  • Matthew 21:22 "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
  • Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will  be yours."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Numbers mean EVERYTHING!! 13-13-13

Numbers represent time, age, location, temperature, distance, weight and so much more. As I began my family history, I was astonished at how often certain correlate with our life history.
Here's what I mean:

My Grandpa William Emry Burnes, US Soldier, lucky number was 13, died on March 13, 1956
My Brother William Aaron Burnes, US Soldier, came from a family of 13, died on March 13, 2006 
Both were named William Burnes, Both were US Soldiers, Both were the oldest sibling. Both died on March 13th, exactly 50 years apart. Coincidence? I don't think so.

When I was very young, I loved the number 7. When I played sports and especially soccer, my number was 7.  It wasn't until I started doing genealogy that I pieced my own life of numbers together. My lucky number was always 7, and I was the 7th child born to my parents.

If we all take a look at our own timeline, we will be amazed at how often certain numbers correlate with our life history. Since this discovery, my mind has given more attention to the fact that numbers mean everything.

As you can see, today is March 13, 2012, and I am honoring these two amazing men by telling their story on their special day. To read more about these men, click on the image below. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Favorite answer from Grandma during our interview.

Before my Grandma's passing, I had the honor of talking with her in hopes to gain a better knowledge of her as I wrote her life history. I felt compelled to ask certain questions about her life, about the grandpa I never knew and about her hopes and dreams. Some of these questions were planned and some came into my mind on the spot, one in particular was when I asked this question:
Question:  Have you ever had an encounter with Grandpa after his passing?

Answer:  “I had a few. One time was when I was listening to a live concert. The performer was singing love songs and I could feel the presents of William on my right side and Carl on my left. The other time was when your brother William passed away. Grandpa was there that day in my room to take William home with him, I could feel him there, but I couldn’t see him.”

I was astonished by her comment because she had encountered life after death. She was not a Christian woman, and did not belong to any Religious Denomination, but she gained a knowledge that her husband was still with her. The human eye could not see, but the heart and spirit could feel those loved ones who passed beyond the veil. 

Tip : Ask the question above to your parents or grandparents before their passing. Many elderly people have encounters, but are too afraid to talk about it. Make sure you write or record their responses.

Ruth Imogene Adams Burnes - February 22, 1923 - April 2, 2011

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The "Will" Ball - How it all Started!

My brother William Aaron Burnes lost his battle to cancer on March 13, 2006.  He was a Commercial Fisherman in Alaska for 10 years. I give you this information for a reason, please read on!!

My husband Brady and our daughter decided to go golfing one day at the Cedar Hills golf course, just 3 months after my brother passed away. While on the course, Brady takes a few practice swings and is about to tee off on the first hole when a guy about 18 years of age who worked at the golf course said...
"hey, do you need a golf ball?" 
Brady said "no I have plenty."
The 18 yr old responded, "here have this one",
and without further hesitation, the 18 yr old threw the golf ball to Brady. As Brady caught it, he saw the word "WILL" professionally printed on the ball. As he turned the ball around he saw a picture of a bear with a fish in it's mouth with the word "Alaska" printed below the image. Brady was speechless and overwhelmed at that moment because he knew that my brother Will was still with us, and he wanted it to be known.  

I often wonder who that boy was, and why he felt so impressed to give the ball to Brady even though he refused his offer. I also wonder where that ball came from in the first place. Was this a ball my brother had professionally designed while in Alaska and somehow through his hands, it made it back to us? I wish I knew. Someday I Will.

When Brady returned home from golfing, he placed the golf ball in my hand and relayed this miraculous encounter to me and I knew what I was suppose to do; I needed to find our ancestors and continue Will's work. At first I thought "this is impossible", but realized "with His help, I can do this", and began to mend my thoughts of  inadequacy and started researching. It was very difficult at first, in fact, the only form of genealogy I had was a restaurant napkin that Will wrote a few notes on before his passing; something I will treasure forever!  I knew nothing about my ancestors, how to begin, or how to build our family tree, but I knew I had a responsibility, and Will would guide me; I knew this!

For the past 7 years, the "Will" Ball has been in my office with an assurance that my brother is close by.  Today, we have over 7,000 BURNES CLAN ancestors that we are proud of and feel a strong connection to because of Will.  I picked up where he left off in his research and I am honored to be the vessel for his great work.

More Burnes Info can be found at

William Aaron Burnes 

May 29, 1967 - March 13, 2006
Semper Fi  (Always Faithful)

William Burnes - US Marines - 3rd Recon Battalion 

William Burnes  as a Commercial Fisherman in Alaska for 10 years.

William Burnes and long time girlfriend, Joell Sweeney. She stayed by his side, every second, until the end.

My favorite picture of us. Brady & Sarah Heiner on the Left, 

William and Joell on the Right. September 17, 2003.

William Aaron Burnes' Obituary