"A lively desire of knowing and recording our ancestors so generally prevails that it must depend on the influence of some common principle in the minds of men.
We seem to have lived in the persons of our forefathers; it is the labor and reward of vanity to extend the term of this ideal longevity.
Our imagination is always active to enlarge the narrow circle in which nature has confined us.
We fill up the silent vacancy that precedes our birth by associating ourselves to the authors of our existence."
Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) as quoted in The family of Early, which settled upon the eastern shore of Virginia and its connection with other families (1920)