ge·​ne·​al·​o·​gy | \ ˌjē-nē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce genealogy (audio) also -ˈa-lə- How to pronounce genealogy (audio) also ˌje-nē- \
plural genealogies

Definition of genealogy

1 : an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or from older forms
2 : regular descent of a person, family, or group of organisms from a progenitor (see progenitor sense 1) or older form : pedigree
3 : the study of family ancestral lines
4 : an account of the origin and historical development of something

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Other Words from genealogy

genealogical \ ˌjē-​nē-​ə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce genealogy (audio) , ˌje-​nē-​ \ adjective
genealogically \ ˌjē-​nē-​ə-​ˈlä-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce genealogy (audio) , ˌje-​nē-​ \ adverb

Examples of genealogy in a Sentence

They've been researching their genealogies. has a distinguished genealogy that traces back to William the Conqueror
Recent Examples on the Web Plenty of people research their genealogy, or undertake local history projects. Jennifer Schuessler,, "Uncovering lost Black history, stone by stone," 26 Dec. 2020 Currently, no states restrict police use of genetic genealogy. Megan Molteni, Wired, "Cops Are Getting a New Tool For Family-Tree Sleuthing," 16 Dec. 2020 Classes include exercise, history, genealogy, language, book discussion and yoga. Staff Reports,, "Toy giveaways, tree planting in Algiers and more metro community news," 16 Dec. 2020 In the wrong hands, this kind of genealogy turns into a simple catalog of errors, where an errant snowball of an idea — say the nominalist heresy — rolls downhill through history, collecting yet more errors until the resulting avalanche crushes us. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Why Identity-Politics Pushers Are Winning the Culture Wars," 30 Nov. 2020 The case was unsolved until the recent emergence of genetic genealogy, which is a combination of traditional DNA evidence with the type of genealogic analysis made famous by companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry. Andy Rose, CNN, "Suspect in 1972 cold case killing believed to have died by suicide shortly before he was convicted," 10 Nov. 2020 The case went unsolved for decades until the use of genetic genealogy and DNA testing identified Miller as a suspect. NBC News, "Suspect on trial for 1972 murder dies by suspected suicide hours before guilty verdict," 10 Nov. 2020 Other forms of genealogy should be used to find specific countries or cities of origin. Michael Pollick,, "The best DNA ancestry kit of 2020," 7 Nov. 2020 The mystery of what happened to Baby John Doe appears to be the latest cold case cracked with the help of genetic genealogy, a DNA linking method that became famous for helping authorities nab the Golden State Killer. Megan Cassidy,, "Woman charged with murdering her son, Baby John Doe, in 32-year-old Castro Valley cold case," 3 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'genealogy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of genealogy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for genealogy

Middle English genealogie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin genealogia, from Greek, from genea race, family + -logia -logy; akin to Greek genos race

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Time Traveler for genealogy

Time Traveler

The first known use of genealogy was in the 14th century

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Statistics for genealogy

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Genealogy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for genealogy


How to pronounce genealogy (audio) How to pronounce genealogy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of genealogy

: the study of family history
: the history of a particular family showing how the different members of the family are related to each other


ge·​ne·​al·​o·​gy | \ ˌjē-nē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce genealogy (audio) \
plural genealogies

Kids Definition of genealogy

1 : a line of ancestors of a person or family or a history of such a line of ancestors
2 : the study of family lines of ancestors

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