17    Aug 20102 comments

Family Proverbs (Part 2)

Following on from last week’s part 1, here is our second collection of quotations from famous and not-so-famous individuals on family and genealogy. Again, there’s a mix here: some are positive, some are funny, and some are a little strange. We hope you enjoy the second and final part of this collection.

"Why waste your money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you." (Mark Twain)

“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)

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

“The farther back you look, the farther back you see.” (Winston Churchill)

“There is no such thing as fun for all the family.” (Jerry Seinfeld)

“We are linked by blood, and blood is memory without language.” (Joyce Carol Oates)

“He who has one eye on the past only has one eye on the present. But he who has no eyes on the past is blind.” (Unknown)

“Mules are always boasting that their ancestors were horses.” (German Proverb)

“There is a certain class of people who prefer to say that their fathers came down in the world through their own follies than to boast that they rose in the world through their own industry and talents. It is the same shabby-genteel sentiment, the same vanity of birth which makes men prefer to believe that they are degenerated angels rather than elevated apes.” (W. Winwood Reade)

“A man is his own best ancestor.” (Emperor Tiberius)

“He that has no fools, knaves, or beggars in his family must have been begot by a flash of lightning!” (Thomas Fuller)

“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.” (CS Lewis)

“If your descent is from heroic sires, show in your life a remnant of their fires.”
(Nicholas Boileau)

“If you want a place in the sun, you must leave the shade of the family tree.” (Unknown)

“Distinguished ancestors shed a powerful light on their descendants, and forbid the concealment either of their merits or of their demerits.” (Gaius Sallustius Crispus)

“The reverence for the deeds of our ancestors is a treacherous sentiment. Their merit was not to reverence the old, but to honor the present moment; and we falsely make them excuses of the very habit which they hated and defied.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“Not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but also clouds their view of their descendants and isolates them from their contemporaries. Each man is forever thrown back on himself alone, and there is danger that he may be shut up in the solitude of his own heart.” (Alexis de Tocqueville)

“If you are lucky enough to be a genealogist, you are lucky enough.” (Ruth Padilla)

“I trace my family history so I will know who to blame.” (Unknown)

“The past is not dead. It isn't even past.” (William Faulkner)

“You live as long as you are remembered.” (Russian proverb)

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Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. These sayings are both humbling and encouraging especially: "If you are lucky enough to be a genealogist, you are lucky enough."
  2. How about regional or even local sayings; my Derby (city) mother would say, "If wishes were horses, beggars could ride".

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