Quotations about ancestors – literal or figurative ancestors, those who came before us and contributed to making us who we are today.

Goto page: 1 2

I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.

— Abraham Lincoln

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 for ever 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

I love Christmas. At this very special time of year, when the sun appears only fleetingly to those of us living in the northern hemisphere, I feel a deep connection with ancient ancestors.

— Alice Roberts

To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves…We remember them because it is an easy thing to forget: that we are not the first to suffer, rebel, fight, love, and die.

— Alice Walker

And I saw for the first time how, despite the isolation of our own lives, we are always connected to our ancestors; our bodies hold the memories of those who came before us, whether it is the features we inherit or a disposition that is etched into our soul.

— Alyson Richman

Our ancestors derived less from life than we do, but they also expected much less and were less intent on controlling the future. We are of the arrogant generations who believe a lasting happiness was promised to us at birth. Promised? By whom?

— Amin Maalouf

All kids of all races need to understand, not just about black history but their own history. It’s something that will help you in the future, just in terms of moving on in life, understanding the things your ancestors had to go through.

— Andre Gray

I feel the nights stretching away thousands long behind the days till they reach the darkness where all of me is ancestor.

— Annie Finch

Our ancestors are totally essential to our every waking moment, although most of us don’t even have the faintest idea about their lives, their trials, their hardships or challenges.

— Annie Lennox

She was the cornerstone of our family and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances.

— Barack Obama, with his sister, on the death of his grandmother Madelyn Dunham just before the November 2008 election

Yes, I am a Jew and when the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.

— Benjamin Disraeli

Every Black person you meet is a miracle… We are valuable because of our humanity and declared valuable because our ancestors declared our worth when they fought for us to live.

— Brittany Packnett

What I call my ‘self’ now is hardly a person at all. It’s mainly a meeting place for various natural forces, desires, and fears, etcetera, some of which come from my ancestors, and some from my education, some perhaps from devils. The self you were really intended to be is something that lives not from nature but from God.

— C. S. Lewis

Suppose your father… walked into this room at the ordinary human pace of walking. And suppose just behind him was his father. How long would we have to wait before the ancestor who enters the now-open door is a creature who normally walked on all fours? The answer is a week.

— Carl Sagan

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.

— Crazy Horse

Juneteenth reminds me of Black freedom dreams, my freedom dreams. In 1865, the port city of Galveston, Texas, or the land formerly known as Mexico as I call it, where so much blood, Indigenous blood, Mexican and Tejano blood, Black blood had been shed, there was a freedom ring that was heard across the world. I hear that ring still and it is a reminder that I stand on others’ shoulders and I, like my ancestors—my Mascogo, Afro-Seminole, African and Black ancestors—who honor Juneteenth with me, will have to prepare a place for the generations that come after so they may experience more joy, more rest, more freedom; so they may experience liberation. Juneteenth represents liberation and it belongs to us. It is a constant reminder that Black freedom is predestined, that only we can tell our stories and that there is no freedom, without Black freedom.

— Dannese Mapanda

For most digital-age writers, writing is rewriting. We grope, cut, block, paste, and twitch, panning for gold onscreen by deleting bucketloads of crap. Our analog ancestors had to polish every line mentally before hammering it out mechanically. Rewrites cost them months, meters of ink ribbon, and pints of Tippex. Poor sods.

— David Mitchell

In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors, to put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow, they know and approve. To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one.

— Della Joann McGinnis Johnson

Lucy brought with her an image of our human ancestors that you don’t get when you find a jaw or an arm bone or a leg bone. Here was 40 percent of a single skeleton.

— Donald Johanson

Not knowing the DNA we carry in our bodies, hearts, and minds. does not negate it. We are an accumulation of many people, even more so when unaware of it. Once aware, we can choose what to carry and what to relegate to history.

— Donna Goddard

Earthmen are not proud of their ancestors and never invite them round to dinner.

— Douglas Adams

People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.

— Edmund Burke

Many mathematicians derive part of their self-esteem by feeling themselves the proud heirs of a long tradition of rational thinking; I am afraid they idealize their cultural ancestors.

— Edsger W. Dijkstra

The rich world of his ancestors set the standards for Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s own life. It gave him a certainty of judgment and manner that cannot be acquired in a single generation.

— Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

No self is of itself alone. It has a long chain of intellectual ancestors. The “I” is chained to ancestry by many factors… This is not mere allegory, but an eternal memory.

— Erwin Schrödinger

I say, the Self is not so much linked with what happened to its ancestors, it is not so much the product, and merely the product, of all that, but rather, in the strictest sense of the word, the SAME THING as all that: the strict, direct continuation of it, just as the Self aged fifty is the continuation of the Self aged forty.

— Erwin Schrödinger

I have just as much right to stay in America — in fact, the black people have contributed more to America than any other race, because our kids have fought here for what was called “democracy”; our mothers and fathers were sold and bought here for a price. So all I can say when they say “go back to Africa,” I say “when you send the Chinese back to China, the Italians back to Italy, etc., and you get on that Mayflower from whence you came, and give the Indians their land back, who really would be here at home?”

— Fannie Lou Hamer

To understand and reconnect with our stories, the stories of the ancestors, is to build our identities.

— Frank Delaney

There is no escape – we pay for the violence of our ancestors.

— Frank Herbert

The conviction reigns that it is only through the sacrifices and accomplishments of the ancestors that the tribe exists–and that one has to pay them back with sacrifices and accomplishments; one thus recognizes a debt that constantly grows greater, since these forebears never cease, in their continued existence as powerful spirits, to accord the tribe new advantages and new strength.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Our cautious ancestors, when yawning, blocked the way to the entrance of evil spirits by putting their hands before their mouths. We find a reason for the gesture in the delicacy of manner which forbids an indecent exposure.

— George H. Mead

My old grandmother always used to say, Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever.

— George R. R. Martin

There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his.

— Helen Keller

The Greeks had just one word for ‘economize.’ Our New England grandmothers had twelve: ‘Eat it up; use it up; make it do; or do without.’

— Helen Lyon Adamson

Snobs talk as if they had begotten their own ancestors.

— Herbert Agar

If you know whence you came, there is no limit to where you can go.

— James Baldwin

Many African societies divide humans into three categories: those still alive on the earth, the sasha, and the zamani. The recently departed whose time on earth overlapped with people still here are the sasha, the living-dead. They are not wholly dead, for they still live in the memories of the living, who can call them to mind, create their likeness in art, and bring them to life in anecdote. When the last person to know an ancestor dies, that ancestor leaves the sasha for the zamani, the dead. As generalised ancestors, the zamani are not forgotten but revered. Many … can be recalled by name. But they are not the living-dead. There is a difference.

— James W Loewen

And, you know, the fact is, if you believe in evolution, we all have a common ancestor, and we all have a common ancestry with the plant in the lobby. This is what evolution tells us. And, it’s true. It’s kind of unbelievable.

— Jeff Hawkins

Much of the oxygen we breathe comes from plants that died long ago. We can give thanks to these ancestors of our present-day foliage, but we can’t give back to them. We can, however, give forward. When we are unable to return the favor, we can pay it forward to someone or something else. Using this approach, we can see ourselves as part of a larger flow of giving and receiving throughout time. Receiving from the past, we can give to the future. When tackling issues such as climate change, the stance of gratitude is a refreshing alternative to guilt or fear as a source of motivation.

— Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone

The hero draws inspiration from the virtue of his ancestors.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Gentility is what is left over from rich ancestors after the money is gone.

— John Ciardi

Cookery means the knowledge of Medea and of Circe and of Helen and of the Queen of Sheba. It means the knowledge of all herbs and fruits and balms and spices, and all that is healing and sweet in the fields and groves and savory in meats. It means carefulness and inventiveness and willingness and readiness of appliances. It means the economy of your grandmothers and the science of the modern chemist; it means much testing and no wasting; it means English thoroughness and French art and Arabian hospitality; and, in fine, it means that you are to be perfectly and always ladies — loaf givers.

— John Ruskin

When we build … let it not be for present delights nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think … that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor, and the wrought substance of them, See! This our fathers did for us!

— John Ruskin

I admire our ancestors, whoever they were. I think the first self-conscious person must have shaken in his boots. Because as he becomes self-conscious, he’s no longer part of nature. He sees himself against nature. He looks at the vastness of the universe and it looks hostile.

— John Shelby Spong

Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.

— Jonas Salk

What we owe to our ancestors is not worship but work. Not didactic eulogies upon the courage, the daring, the dreams that are dust, but dreams of our own sprung from that dust to show that their vision still lives in us.

— Laura Goodman Salverson

All of our ancestors give us the precious gift of life. Do we use it wisely? Do we use it well? Do we make a name for ourselves and for our children of which we can be proud?

— Laurence Overmire

DNA opens an even more mysterious door to understanding the human condition: all of our ancestors live within each one of us whether we are aware of it or not.

— Laurence Overmire

I united myself with my forefathers: the father, mother, and grandparents I loved. They and all my predecessors believed and lived, and they produced me.

— Leo Tolstoy

We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.

— Liam Callanan
Goto page: 1 2
, , , , , ,
Related
Latest Posts from Wisdom Quotes