A History of the Burns Family

Guy and Ada Burns


Napoleon once called history "a fable agreed upon," and my ancestral wandering has taught me the wisdom of his words.

What follows is my fable, laid out in over a hundred stories. These are based as much as possible on fact, but fleshed out with best guesses and imagination.

The tale begins with the April Fools Day1904 meeting of my grandparents, Ada and Guy Burns, at a community dance, a pivotal piece of family lore. We then back up to explore the fateful twists and turns that led to this chance encounter. Some of these happy accidents are quite ancient ones, beginning with the eighteenth-century arrival of our earliest immigrant, John Burns, who sailed from Northern Ireland at the age of 55 to settle on 100 acres on the Pennsylvania frontier, thanks to proceeds he received from handing over two indentured servants to the colonial governor.

Then we move forward in time to follow the family Guy and Ada created in the twentieth century.

The portrait that emerges across eleven generations in America is of a clan of hardy, hard-working strivers.

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