A Genealogy Quotes ‘How-To’ Guide: Ideas, Creating & Sharing

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary gives advice and provides free resources so that you can make your own genealogy quote graphics to share on social media sites like Facebook.

We’ve noticed that many of our blog readers share our affinity for inspirational, humorous and memorable genealogy quotes!

Some of the quotes on the GenealogyBank blog are serious, but others are funny or whimsical. When they touch our readers’ hearts, they tend to be shared across social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest.

If you haven’t yet tried making a quote graphic to share on your own social media page, I encourage you to try. There are dozens of free and easy sites where your can create genealogy quote graphics and unleash your creativity, such as Pinstamatic and Quozio.

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The hardest part will be choosing what to say—so if you’re stumped, here are a few suggestions.

Genealogy Quote Ideas

  • Quote a cherished family member. For instance, one of my Sesniak ancestors used to say: “You bet your boots,” indicating that he agreed with what had just been said.
Old saying: "You bet your boots!"

Quote graphic created on behappy.com

  • Select a quote from a celebrity or historical figure, such as Benjamin Franklin’s “A penny saved is a penny earned.” (See more ideas below.)
  • Start with an inspirational image and add an appropriate quote.
  • And don’t forget to search GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives for quotes. You might even find one from an ancestor, such as this one by Mary O. Stanton, published in an 1894 newspaper.
article about Mary Stanton, San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article 24 June 1894

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California), 24 June 1894, page 10

The San Francisco Chronicle created this illustration to accompany Stanton’s quote:

illustration to accompany an article about Mary Stanton, San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article 24 June 1894

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California), 24 June 1894, page 10

To see a more modern graphic design of Stanton’s quote, click here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/195977021259910167/.

Free Quote Graphics Sites

The following sites have free options and may allow you to connect by using your Facebook account. If not, create an account with the site itself and try out the features.

Some of these quote sites allow you to upload your own background image, while others provide sample graphics. Subscription services may be required for advanced features, but I was able to make appealing genealogy quotes on all of the tested sites for free.

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Each quote site is different, and I am not recommending one over the other. If you have a site that you prefer over these, please let us know in the comments section.

Inspirational Quotes for Genealogy

Try unleashing your creativity with these sample quotes.

  • “The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are.” —Maya Angelou
  • “I sustain myself with the love of family.” —Maya Angelou
  • “The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins.” —Clara Barton
quote from Clara Barton: "The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins."

Quote graphic created on Pinstamatic.com

  • “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” —Pearl S. Buck
quote from Pearl Buck: "If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday."

Quote graphic created at behappy.me

  • “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” —Sitting Bull
quote from Sitting Bull: "Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children."

Quote graphic created at shareasimage.com

  • “A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants."

Quote created at picteller.com

  • “Ever since I watched Roots, I’ve dreamed of tracing my African ancestry and helping other people do the same.” —Henry Louis Gates
  • “When you start about family, about lineage and ancestry, you are talking about every person on earth.” —Alex Haley
quote from Alex Haley: "When you start about family, about lineage and ancestry, you are talking about every person on earth."

Quote graphic created at Pinstamatic.com

  • “Develop a healthy skepticism. Accept nothing unreservedly until proven.” —Donald Lines Jacobus. Genealogy As Pastime and Profession. (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co, 1968)
  • “From time to time, the Tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.” —Thomas Jefferson
  • “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” —Poet Emma Lazarus, inscribed beneath the monument at Ellis Island
inscription from the base of the monument at Ellis Island

Quote graphic created at Quozio.com

  • “I come from pioneer stock, developers of the West, people who went out into the wilderness and set up home with nothing but a pair of oxen.” —Joni Mitchell
  • “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” —Harriet Tubman
quote from Harriet Tubman: "I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."

Quote graphic created on Quozio.com

Pinterest Genealogy Quotes Boards

Start your own Pinterest quote board and be sure to follow ours at:

Related Genealogy Quotes Blog Articles:

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More Genealogy Humor: Funny Quotes & Sayings for Genealogists

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary follows up on one of her earlier blog posts by presenting more of the funniest, quirkiest, or most touching sayings about genealogy that she’s encountered in her career as a family historian.

After the GenealogyBank Blog article Genealogy Humor: 101 Funny Quotes & Sayings for Genealogists was posted, we noticed many of you liked them so much that you shared the humorous quotes across social media sites such as Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest to spread the laughter around the genealogical community.

So here are a few more funny genealogy sayings to give you a chuckle and brighten your day!

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Funny Genealogy Expressions & Slogans

  • Definition of genealogy: When a step backward is true progress!
  • Don’t let your family tree suffer from root rot!
  • Finding a new ancestor is a blast from the past!
  • Genealogist’s favorite game: Ancestor Hide and Seek.
  • Genealogist’s favorite game show: Family Feud.
  • Genealogist’s hunting season: 12 Midnight 1 January — 11:59 P.M. 31 December.
  • Genealogist’s least favorite activity: Pruning the family tree!

funny genealogy saying: "Genealogists are always in a family way!"

  • Genealogists are always in a family way!
  • Genealogists are family tree huggers!
  • Genealogists are forebear hunters!
  • Genealogy is not done until the “past lady” sings!
  • Genealogy is simply TREEific!
  • Genealogy disease: Gensomnia.
  • How a genealogist greets a stranger: “Are you sure we aren’t related?”
  • How a genealogist greets another genealogist. “Would you like to join my famclub?”
  • How a genealogist introduces his children: “I’d like you to meet my descendants!”
  • How a genealogist introduces his parents: “Have you met my ancestors?”
  • I’m ancestrally challenged!
  • If you want to have some fun, say “Who’s your daddy?” to a room full of genealogists and watch the heads turn.
  • It’s hard to be humble with ancestors like mine!

funny genealogy saying: "Money doesn't grow on trees--but ancestors do!"

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  • Money doesn’t grow on trees—but ancestors do!
  • Murphy’s law of genealogy: After solving a dead end ancestor mystery that consumed your entire adult life, your sister reports, “I could have told you that!”
  • Murphy’s law of genealogy: Paying for a vital record and then finding it right under your nose!
  • Old genealogists never die. They just haunt archives.
  • Organization to help with genealogy addiction: AA (Ancestors Anonymous).
  • Popular sign in a cemetery: “Dead End.”
  • The best ancestors want to be found!
  • The “mother lode” of genealogy is discovering a great grandmother’s maiden name.

funny genealogy saying: "Time and genealogy wait for no man!"

  • Time and genealogy wait for no man!
  • To a genealogist, the expression “Mother Nature” takes on a whole new meaning!
  • Transcribers of headstones generally work the graveyard shift!
  • True genealogists wonder why the Academy Awards don’t have a category for best microfilm!
  • Ultimate success to a genealogist: Proving that Elvis isn’t dead!
  • What a genealogist should not say on a blind date: “Isn’t it great? I did your tree and we’re related!”
  • You know you’re a genealogist if you find the certainty of ancestral death and tax records exciting. (Paraphrased from Ben Franklin’s “Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”)
  • If you think Castle Garden is something out of a fairy tale, you’re probably not a genealogist!

More Family History Funnies from Our Readers

The following hilarious comments were shared by readers after the first funny genealogy quotes blog post went live. If you have some of your own humorous quotes and sayings for genealogists, please share them with us in the comments!

1) Here is an old epitaph bromide: On an old tombstone was the following quote,
“Pause stranger, when you pass me by, As you are now so once was I. As I am now, so you will be. So prepare for death and follow me.”
Below that epitaph someone scratched the following, “To follow you I’m not content, Until I know which way you went.”  —from David on 7 March 2014.

2) Headstone epitaph: “This is the damndest thing I’ve ever done.”  —from George on 26 January 2014.

3) “You know you’re a genealogist when you watch a movie that has a scene in a graveyard, and you’re distracted from the plot by trying to transcribe the tombstones.” —from Kay on 23 January 2014.

GenealogyBank’s Genealogy Quotes Pinterest Boards

If you’d like to laugh a little and enjoy more genealogy sayings and quotes, be sure to follow our GenealogyBank Pinterest boards listed below.

Genealogy Humor & Funnies

Follow Genealogy Bank’s board Genealogy Humor & Funnies on Pinterest.

Genealogy & Family Quotes

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Genealogy Humor: 101 Funny Quotes & Sayings for Genealogists

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary presents 101 of the funniest, quirkiest, or most touching sayings about genealogy that she’s encountered in her career as a family historian.

One thing I’ve noticed is that family historians have great senses of humor—and often come up with funny genealogy sayings.

So I searched high and low, and came up with my top list of 101 funny genealogy sayings. Most are similar to others that are displayed without attribution, so I’ve taken a few liberties in compiling what I consider the most humorous versions!

a screenshot of GenealogyBank’s “Genealogy Humor” Pinterest board

GenealogyBank’s “Genealogy Humor” Pinterest board

If I’ve omitted any funny genealogy quotes, be sure to add your personal favorites in the comments section so that we can all have a few more chuckles.

Funny Family Tree Sayings

  • If you shake your family tree, watch for the nuts to fall.
  • Some family trees have more sap than others (and mine certainly has more than its fair share).
  • Genealogists never fade away; they just lose their roots.
  • If you don’t tend your roots, the tree may wither away.
  • Family tree research is one giant step backwards and one giant step forward—usually at the same time.

Genealogy saying: "If you shake your family tree, watch for the nuts to fall."

Funny Genealogy Quotes & Definitions

  • Family history is all about recording “his story & her story.”
  • Definition of mythology: genealogy without documentation.
  • Genealogy is all about chasing your own tale.
  • Famous quote that applies (all too often) to questionable genealogy: “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” —Mark Twain
  • “Just the facts, Ma’am.” —(commonly, but incorrectly) attributed to Joe Friday of the TV show Dragnet.
  • “Genealogy: An account of one’s descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own.” —Ambrose Bierce
  • Genealogists are time travelers.
  • A great genealogist is a time unraveler.
  • Genealogy: In the end, it’s all relative.
  • A genealogist is someone who knows that all grandparents are great grandparents!
  • Genealogy is sometimes about proving that bad family traits came from the other side of the tree!

Genealogy saying: "Genealogy is all about chasing your own tale."

Funny Sayings about Cousins & Other Relatives

  • Can a first cousin once removed be returned?
  • A cousin a day keeps the boredom away.
  • A great party is when everyone joins in the gene pool.
  • An inlaw is someone who has married into your family; an outlaw is an inlaw who resists letting you do their genealogy!
  • If your family members won’t talk about a particular relative, a seasoned genealogist knows they are keeping mum about something very interesting.
  • Moment of Truth for a genealogist: discovering you are your own cousin.
  • If you don’t know who the family black sheep is, it’s probably you.
  • Enter Last Name

    Humorous Genealogy Quotes for Signs, Bumper Stickers and T-Shirts

    • Do you know where your great grandparents are?
    • After 30 days, unclaimed ancestors will be discarded or claimed by another family.
    • So many ancestors; so little time.
    • I brake for ancestors.
    • I chase dead relatives.
    • I’m ancestrally challenged.
    • Where there is a will, you’ll find a genealogist!
    • Genealogists do it in libraries or in trees.
    • Sign for a genealogist’s home office: Family research zone. Disturb at your peril.
    • I am addicted to genealogy.
    • Who’s your great great granddaddy?
    • I only research genealogy on days that end in “y.”
    a screenshot of GenealogyBank’s “Genealogy & Family Quotes” Pinterest board

    GenealogyBank’s “Genealogy & Family Quotes” Pinterest board

    Good Advice for Genealogists

    • Remember that when a family member passes away, they take a library of memories with them. It’s a genealogist’s duty to record them before that happens.
    • Genealogy is like a magic mirror. Look into it, and pretty soon, interesting faces appear.
    • The kind of ancestors you have is not as important as the kindness of their descendants.
    • If you are the last living link between your grandparents and your grandchildren—don’t break the chain.
    • If you don’t want your descendants to put a twisted spin on your life story, write it yourself!
    • If you’re the family photographer (and not showing up in photos), your family historian descendants will become upset with you.
    • To get your family tree done the fastest, run for political office. Your opponents will have it completed way before the election, and then you can resign if you really didn’t wish to run in the first place.
    • Many genealogists neglect telling their own stories, while in the midst of telling the stories about others. Don’t let that happen to your family.
    • Your children may not thank you, but if you preserve the family genealogy your great great great great descendants will remember you as super-great!
    • If someone’s picture looks like they don’t belong in the family tree, well, maybe they don’t.
    • Some think it’s best to grow a family tree one leaf at a time—but as with the spring, you may find that many buds can be produced at the same time.
    • Don’t take life seriously. Every genealogist knows nobody gets out alive.
    • If at first you don’t succeed, search, search again. That is why we call it re-search.

    Genealogy saying: "Genealogy is like a magic mirror. Look into it, and pretty soon, interesting faces appear."

    Hilarious Observations about Genealogists

    • Genealogists don’t get Alzheimer’s, they just lose their census.
    • Eventually, all genealogists come to their census.
    • Housework avoidance strategy: Genealogy!
    • There’s a fine line between a packrat and a serious family historian.
    • A home with everything in its place, and a place for everything, means you’re not well suited for genealogy!
    • Can’t find enough ancestors? No problem. Let me adopt you. I’ve got more than enough to share.
    • Does your family coat of arms have too many or too few sleeves?
    • Taking your children to meet family at a reunion is often an effective form of birth control.
    • Genealogical paydirt is discovering the ancestor who was the family packrat!
    • Heredity might be better spelled as heir-edity.
    • I can’t find my ancestors, so they must have been in a witness protection program!
    • Motivated genealogists scan once—and then share across the Internet!
    • A genealogist’s bad heir day is when you can’t find what you are looking for.
    • A genealogist’s filing system usually incorporates the floor.

    Genealogy saying: "There's a fine line between a packrat and a serious family historian."

    Oxymorons, Enigmas & Theories about Genealogy

    • Oxymoron: “I love history, but I dislike genealogy.” Don’t you want to tell these people that genealogy is family history?
    • Genealogical enigma: How so many published trees record people who died before they were born.
    • Genealogy theorem: There is a 100% chance that those elusive ancestors weren’t interested in genealogy.
    • Genealogy theorem: The odds that you are related to yourself are probably not less than 100%.
    • Theory of relativity: If you go back far enough, we’re all related.
    • Murphy’s Law of Genealogy: Your ancestor’s maiden name will be recorded on the one record page that is missing.
    • Enter Last Name

      Funny Cemetery Quotes

      • A genealogist is a person who leaves no stone unearthed.
      • A cemetery is a marble garden not to be taken for granite.
      • Selecting a tombstone is usually a monumental task.
      • Go ahead and honk your horn in the cemetery. It’s not possible to wake the dead.
      • A cemetery is where “down under” takes on an entirely new meaning.
      a screenshot of GenealogyBank’s “Our Ancestors Said...” Pinterest board

      GenealogyBank’s “Our Ancestors Said…” Pinterest board

      You Know You’re a Genealogist if…

      • You know you’re a genealogist if the top item on your Christmas list is a genealogy subscription!
      • You know you’re a genealogist if your email contact list contains more distant cousins than immediate family.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you’ve ever tried to inspire the next generation by whispering in a newborn’s ear, “Genealogy is fun.”
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you evaluate the surnames of acquaintances (along with complete strangers) to see how they might be related.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you know all the maiden names of all your female friends—and if you don’t, you surreptitiously try to discover them.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you secretly celebrate a forebear’s birthday.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if the highlight of your last trip was a cemetery visit.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if no family member is ever treated as a black sheep (everyone is welcome).
      • You know you’re a genealogist when you realize your collection of DNA results is more important than your nick knacks.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you immediately understand these abbreviations: BC, DC, MC and VR.
      • Answer the first associated words that come to mind: Ellis, family and vital. If you answered Island, history and record, you know you’ve become a genealogist.
      • You might be a genealogist if you think family history is an ancestral game of hide and seek.
      • You might be a genealogist if dead people are more interesting to you than the living.
      • You might be a genealogist if you love living in the past lane.
      • You might be a genealogist if the phrase “relatively speaking” holds a truly unique meaning.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if a scanner and archival storage containers are more exciting gifts than jewelry (female) or football tickets (male).
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you know what inst. and ult. stand for.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you’ve ever repurposed your dining room table, and panic at anyone going near it.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if your vacation bucket list includes Fort Wayne, Salt Lake City, and Washington, D.C. (hopefully all in the same year).
      • You know your friend is not a genealogist if he/she doesn’t understand why these are top vacation destinations.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if there is a courthouse programmed into your GPS.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you’ve ever had your photo taken in front of a tombstone and you were actually smiling!
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you know more about the past than the present.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you know what a GEDCOM and an ahnentafel are.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you have no problem substituting your great great grandmother’s maiden name for your mother’s (in answer to a security question).
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you can name the county for most major cities in the United States! Admit it—many of you can assign these cities to their correct county: Atlanta, Cleveland, Newark, Houston, San Francisco…
      • If you think your family is normal, you probably aren’t a genealogist!
      • You know you’re hopelessly hooked on genealogy if you say “Honey, I’ll just be a few minutes on the computer,” and then find yourself awestruck by the sunrise.

      Genealogy saying: "If you think your family is normal, you probably aren't a genealogist!"

      I’d like to leave you with my favorite saying: “Genealogy isn’t just a pastime; it’s a passion!”

      GenealogyBank’s Pinterest Boards

      If you’d like to laugh a little and enjoy more genealogy sayings and quotes, be sure to visit these Pinterest boards.

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