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Ancestors of Forrest Gene PLUMSTEAD Sr

Genealogy Humor III

Honoring Our Ancestors
More Genealogical Quotes
by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Wow! Who knew there were so many fun and intriguing quotes relating to genealogy? In my last article, I shared some memorable quotations I found strewn around the Internet and invited readers to share their favorites. Many of you took me up on my invitation.

One of the first to catch my attention was from Alice McPhee Mombourquette of Canada. According to Kevin Estey, from an article in the December 2005 Aged to Perfection newsletter, "To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research." If that's true, the balance of this article is the result of extensive research!

Submitted by Diane W. Lawson:

The past is a source of knowledge, and the future is a source of hope. Love of the past implies faith in the future.
- Stephen Ambrose, 1936-2002

Submitted by Margaret Fortier, Nancy H. Settle, Julie Vincent, Rose Feldman, and Anthony Neal

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain perpetually a child. For what is the worth of a human life unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106-43 B.C.

Submitted by Kathleen A. Gutwein, Karen Stuart, and Connie Moretti:

People will never look forward to Posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.
- Edmund Burke

Submitted by William S. Fischer:

He that has no fools, knaves, or beggars in his family must have been begot by a flash of lightning!
- Thomas Fuller, 1608-61

Submitted by Barry Norton:

It's a poor family tree that doesn't have either a thief or madam hanging from its branches.
- Source unknown

Submitted by Tom Sharpe:

Human beings look separate because you see them walking about separately. But then we are so made that we can see only the present moment. If we could see the past, then of course it would look different. For there was a time when every man was part of his mother, and (earlier still) part of his father as well, and when they were part of his grandparents. If you could see humanity spread out in time, as God sees it, it would look like one single growing thing--rather like a very complicated tree. Every individual would appear connected with every other.
- C. S. Lewis

Submitted by Connie Moretti and Anthony Neal:

Those who do not look upon themselves as a link, connecting the past with the future, do not perform their duty to the world.
- Daniel Webster

Submitted by Lisa Bowman:

Found a Yankee in my family tree; will trade for horse thief or other black sheep.
- Author unknown
(Lisa explains that she can say this since she was born a Yankee with Southern maternal roots.)

Submitted by Marlene Post:

We live with a heritage from earlier generations and must seek to create positive legacies for those who follow us. When the old are not allowed to tell their story, the young grow up without history. If the young are not listened to, we have no future.
- Dr. Gunhild O. Hagostad

Submitted by Julie Vincent:

Family is everything. It defines you--the heart of your spirit, the heritage of your smile, not only the color of your eyes but how they see the world. You are bound by kinship. You add your own link to the chain, and that is where you strengthen or weaken what you have been blessed--or burdened--with. That is where you use the indefinable quality that belongs to only you, the bit of uniqueness you pass on to your children for good or bad, the part of you that will always be separate from those who share your name, your blood, and your past.
- Deborah Smith, from Blue Willow

Though the generations wander, the lineage survives, and all of us, from dust to dust . . . we all become forefathers, by and by.
- Dan Fogelburg

The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.
- Herbert Spencer

Submitted by Mary Wenzel:

The theory of relativity says that no matter what you do in life, your relatives will have a theory.
- Snapple bottle cap

Submitted by Ted Bastow:

I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule. Consequently, my family pride is something inconceivable. I can't help it. I was born sneering.
- Sir W. S. Gilbert from "The Mikado"

Submitted by Karen Stuart:

Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with.
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Submitted by Tammy Bloyd:

Family History: It is not just a hobby. It is a vitally important preservation mission for future generations of our family.
-- George G. Morgan (yes, one of our own!)

Submitted by Judith Mable:

The farther back you look, the farther back you see.
- Winston Churchill

What is research but a blind date with knowledge?
-- Will Henry

To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die.
- Thomas Campbell

If you want a place in the sun, you must leave the shade of the family tree.
- Osage saying

As the leaves on the trees is the life of man.
- Homer

There is something about a closet that makes a skeleton terribly restless.
- John Barrymore

The only thing wrong with immortality is that it tends to go on forever.
- Herb Coen

Genealogy taglines:

Only a genealogist regards a step backwards as progress.
Genealogists live in the past lane.
Genealogy is the marriage of a jigsaw puzzle to a Dungeons & Dragons game.
Genealogists are time unravelers.
Genealogists don't die, they just lose their census.
Genealogy: It' all relative in the end.
I'd rather look for dead people than have them look for me.
I'm always late; my ancestors arrived on the Juneflower.

Submitted by Alice L. Luckhardt:

If your descent is from heroic sires, show in your life a remnant of their fires.
- Nicholas Boileau, 1636-1711

Nothing is so soothing to our self esteem as to find our bad traits in our forebears. It seems to absolve us.
- Van Wyck Brooks, 1886-1963

None of us can boast about the morality of our ancestors. The record does not show that Adam and Eve were ever married.
- Edgar Watson Howe, 1853-1937

Hereditary honors are a noble and a splendid treasure to descendants.
- Plato, 427-347 B.C.

It is worthwhile for anyone to have behind him a few generations of honest, hard-working ancestry.
- J. P. Marquand, 1893-1960

More Genealogical tag lines:

I trace my family history so I will know who to blame.
Searching for lost relatives? Win the lottery!
Friends come and go, but relatives tend to accumulate.
Genealogy: A haystack full of needles. It's the threads I need.
Take nothing but ancestors, leave nothing but records.
Submitted by Cindy Blankenship:

Thank You!
Thanks to all of you who contributed to this collection and to those I wasn't able to squeeze in here (especially those who submitted poems). This is admittedly the easiest "research" I've ever done, but I hope there's a little something here for every genealogist!

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, co-author (with Ann Turner) of Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree (as well as In Search of Our Ancestors, Honoring Our Ancestors and They Came to America), can be contacted through and

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