Family Tree Quotations

Family Tree by Rockwell

The following is a collection of some of my favorite quotations about family, family trees, and history. Do you have any you'd like to add? E-mail me.

Chris Whitten, webmaster
chris — at — wikitree.com (replace the spaces, dashes, and "at" with "@")

Quotations on Family History

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African saying 6:

"When an elder dies, it is as if an entire library has burned to the ground."

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Dolly Berthelot 6:

"There's a world of wisdom in our personal stories. Your life is a legacy, a gift that only you can give. Why waste something so precious?"
"Too many Americans have ignored their ancestors and family history and not bothered to examine their own life stories, much less share them with others. They too rarely share much of their past lives with friends, or pass them on to their progeny. And yet we desperately need to do all that..."

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Ashleigh Brilliant 2a:

"Keep some souvenirs of your past, or how will you ever prove it wasn't all a dream?"

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Gail Lumet Buckley, writer 2b:

"Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future. We make discoveries about ourselves."

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George H. W. Bush, State of the Union Address, 1990 6:

"You are our living link to the past. Tell your grandchildren the story of the struggles waged, at home and abroad. Of sacrifices made for freedom's sake. And tell them your own story as well — because [everybody] has a story to tell."

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Deuteronomy 4:9 2c:

"Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your children's children."

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Deuteronomy 32:7 7:

"Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you."

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Linda Goetsch 7:

"Remember me in the family tree
My name, my days, my strife;
Then I'll ride upon the wings of time
And live an endless life."

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Alex Haley 2d, 3:

"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage — to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness."
"In every conceivable manner, family is the link to our past, bridge to our future."

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Spencer W. Kimball 2e:

"I promise that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us and as our posterity reads of our life's experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted."

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Madeleine L'Engle 2f:

"If you don't recount your family history, it will be lost. Honor your own stories and tell them too. The tales may not seem very important, but they are what binds families and makes each of us who we are."

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Anonymous 3:

"Genealogy without documentation is mythology."
"The grandson wants to remember what the father wished to forget."
"A pack rat is hard to live with, but makes a fine ancestor."

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Quotations on Family Life

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Anthony Brandt 1:

"Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family."

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Joyce Brothers 1:

"When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses."

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Pearl S. Buck 1:

"The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit. No two people — no mere father and mother — as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child. He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born."

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George Eliot 1:

"What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life — to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories."

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Kendall Hailey, The Day I Became an Autodidact 1:

"The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you."

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Jane Howard 10:

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."

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Lee Iacocca 1:

"The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works is the family."

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Thomas Jefferson 1:

"The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family."

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Marge Kennedy 1:

"The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us to become our best while looking our worst."

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Margaret Mead 5:

"No matter how many communes anybody invents, the family always creeps back."

Margaret Mead 1, 5:

"Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation."

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Paul Pearshall 1:

"Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted."

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Letty Cottin Pogrebin 1:

"If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable — each segment distinct."

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Marquise de Sévigné 1:

"We cannot destroy kindred: our chains stretch a little sometimes, but they never break."

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Spanish Proverb 1:

"An ounce of blood is worth more than a pound of friendship."

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Heidi Swapp 2g:

"Generations pass like leaves fall from our family tree. Each season new life blossoms and grows benefiting from the strength and experience of those who went before."

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The Talmud 10:

"As my family planted for me, so do I plant for my children."

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Quotations on Living History

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Cicero 11:

"Those who have no knowledge of what has gone before them must forever remain children."

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Ralph Waldo Emerson, in Essays: First Series, 1841 9:

"There is properly no history, only biography."

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John W. Gardner 11:

"History never looks like history when you are living through it. It always looks confusing and messy, and it always looks uncomfortable."

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Job 8:10, LB 2c:

"But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you from the wisdom of former generations."

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LaRae Kerr, genealogist and author 8:

"The history of the world is not complete until it includes yours."

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Carl Sandburg, US poet and author 11:

"When a society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found: They forgot where they came from."

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Lynn White, Jr. 11:

"History is a means of access to ourselves."

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Quotation Sources

1: Quote Garden: Quotations about Family. Last modified January 5, 2008.

2: Scrapbook.com: Family History Quotes. 2a: submitted by user "Tonya Wilson643" on February 25, 2006. 2b: submitted by user "Jill" on December 4, 2003. 2c: submitted by user "goodbyegirl" on February 28, 2006. 2d: submitted by user "ydoom30" on October 8, 2006. 2e: submitted by user "bekahj" on January 25, 2006. 2f: submitted by user "McKane" on December 4, 2003. 2g: submitted by user "pieces of me" on March 10, 2006.

3: Family Tree Expert. Copyright 2006.

4: ThinkExist.com: Quotes about Family History. Copyright 2006.

5: Wisdom Quotes: Family Quotes. Copyright 2006.

6: Family History Products: Quotes on Memories. Copyright 2008.

7: Family Tree Magazine. Submitted by user "Tj12761".

8: It's All Relatives. Copyright 2007.

9: Wikipedia Portal: Biography/Quotations. Last modified on July 25, 2007.

10: Wisdom Through the Ages: A Collection of Favorite Quotations by Helen Granat. Trafford on Demand Publising. Copyright 2003.

11: Quotations on History compiled by Robert Blackley. 1996.

For quotations on other topics, see Mark's Quotes.