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Some Serious and Wacky Genealogical Sayings

Family Walking OutsideYou have worked for hours, weeks and months on the family tree.  The pedigree chart is slowly taking shape, but there are still many blanks, with no clues to learn further.  Patience is the most important aspect of family history research.  That is one reason it can take a very long period of time before you feel you have made a dent in unraveling the ancestral lineage.  Being patient can also offer its own rewards, like making that great ‘find’ and locating the elusive ancestor for which you have now started to uncover details.  The thrill and the ‘rush’ of adrenaline are wonderful when you can make a discovery.

One fun aspect of doing genealogical is the numerous witty sayings and profound quotes that have evolved over the years.  A few of those phrases, sayings and comments are even to the point of being strange, but also with a large streak of truth.  These might give you some perspective of how family history has been viewed over the centuries.

Here are some quotes from famous individuals:

President Abraham Lincoln certainly understood the importance of history and genealogy.  At a December 1862 speech before Congress he stated; “…we cannot escape history.”  Lincoln best summed up his feelings with: “I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.”

From English writer, William Shakespeare was; “All his successors gone before him have done it; and all his ancestors that come after him may.”

America’s Senator Daniel Webster said; “Those who do not look upon themselves as a link, connecting the past with the future, do not perform their duty to the world.”

From the columnist at the Boston Globe, Ellen Goodman stated; “…it’s the family stories that are worth the storage.”

Coming from poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson was the following; “Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests, and mines, and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.”

Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke the following; “Our forebears labored with wages. They made cotton ‘king.’ And yet out of a bottomless vitality, they continued to thrive and develop.”

From musician Miles Davis: “When kids don’t learn about their own heritage in school, they just don’t care about school … But you won’t see it in the history books unless we get the power to write our own history and tell our story ourselves.”

From President Jimmy Carter comes: “We’ve uncovered some embarrassing ancestors in the not-too-distant past. Some horse thieves, and some people killed on Saturday nights.

One of my relatives, unfortunately, was even in the newspaper business.”  Stated by literary critic Van Wyck Brooks: “Nothing is so soothing to our self-esteem as to find our bad traits in our forebears. It seems to absolve us.”

Spoken by author and poet Maya Angelou: “We need to haunt the house of history and listen anew to the ancestors’ wisdom.”

The poet, Carl Sandburg said: “When a society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found, they forgot where they came from.”

Stated by lecturer Helen Keller: “There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his.”

General and humorous sayings – authors unknown:

We are not responsible for our ancestors, we just collect them.

A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots.

Friends come and go, but relatives tend to accumulate.

Documentation  … The hardest part of genealogy.

A pack rat is hard to live with, but makes a fine ancestor with everything left behind.

Let the family information be known before … It is lost.

Theory of relativity:  If you go back far enough, we’re all related.

Life is lived forwards but understood backwards.

People have been known to overcome the bad things done by earlier ancestors.

Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.

Genealogy is the search for the greatest treasures — our ancestors.

Our ancestors did what?

It is hard to believe … but one day you will be an ancestor.

Doing genealogy  … You can’t be fired from and you can’t quit.

Ancestors are just people!

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