"As a secondary question, If I buy a few good queens, and raise queens from them, and their progeny, would I be able to get 2 or 3 generations down (daughters, and grand daughters) and still retain much of the admirable traits and qualities? Or is it a one step down, and the second is a doozey?"
As with all things, it just depends. One thing you have to look at when trying to raise queens out of "good" stock, is that you have to also have equally good drones to mate those queens. If your doing it all in one yard, it gets difficult to do. It helps if you can set up another yard miles away from the home yard, in which to mate your queens.
You also need a line of drone mothers that are unrelated to the line that you are using to produce your queens. I see no reason why you couldn't produce, and continue to produce good, quality queens if you keep these things in mind when raising your queens.
"I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage