Quotations about genealogy, the process of documenting one’s family tree with all ancestors and descendants.

… the pursuit of origins is a way of rescuing territory from death and oblivion, a reconquest that ought to be patient, devoted, relentless and faithful.

— Amin Maalouf

Genealogists: they’re just grad students without the Pell Grant funding or a degree waiting for them at the end.

— Buzzy Jackson

I was once again struck by the key to genealogy: stick-to-itiveness. Yes, it takes creative thinking and knowledge of available resources, etc., but basically it takes a willingness to just keep at it and never give up. Being an optimistic idiot helps.

— Buzzy Jackson

Words have a genealogy and it’s easier to trace the evolution of a single word than the evolution of a language.

— Daniel Dennett

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

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

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

— George Bernard Shaw

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

If you share a common ancestor with somebody, you’re related to them. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to invite them to the family reunion, but it means that you share DNA. I think it’s fascinating.

— Henry Louis Gates

[S]keletons in the closet can be found everywhere. They may seem shocking initially, but they will be a colorful addition to any welcomed genealogist.

— Jacquelyn Nicholson

The thing that interests me most about family history is the gap between the things we think we know about our families and the realities.

— Jeremy Hardy

History remembers only the celebrated, genealogy remembers them all.

— Laurence Overmire

Why waste your money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponent will do it for you.

— Mark Twain

We don’t own our family history. We simply preserve it for the next generation.

— Rosemary Alva

History is the essence of innumerable biographies.

— Thomas Carlyle
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