Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Tribute to William Emry Burnes

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 his family 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 18, 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.

A Tribute to William Emry Burnes:



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