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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from genealogy

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

Anne Marie Schubert did not identify Manteueffel’s relative or say which genealogy website was used to obtain the sample because the investigation is ongoing. Colleen Shalby,, "DNA analysis identifies suspect in series of rapes from early 1990s," 1 July 2019 Now, the site has a rudimentary privacy policy, which states: GEDmatch exists to provide DNA and genealogy tools for comparison and research purposes. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "GEDmatch, a tiny DNA analysis firm, was key for Golden State Killer case," 27 Apr. 2018 In 2008, her case was put into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System and on April 9 — almost exactly 37 years after she was found — investigators discovered her ID, thanks to genetic genealogy tools. Jamie Spain,, "37 Years After Young Woman's Mysterious Slaying, She Is Finally Identified — But Who Killed Her?," 12 Apr. 2018 South Dakota Rapid City: The murder of a pharmacist who was raped and strangled in her home in a South Dakota city more than half a century ago has been solved with the use of DNA technology and genealogy databases, police said. USA TODAY, "‘Lorax’ tree legend, butter Elmo, meth squirrel: News from around our 50 states," 19 June 2019 Her case went cold for 37 years, until DNA evidence and genealogy experts helped solve the puzzle: The victim was her friend Mary Silvani. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "She was killed 37 years ago — and her friends just found out: 'She was my bridesmaid'," 7 June 2019 From cooking demonstrations to tips on travel and genealogy, from the Chopin Youth Piano Competition to traditional dance, and from vodka tastings to fireworks (at 10:30 p.m. Saturday), there's plenty of rich Polish tradition to immerse yourself in. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "6 things you should be doing in Milwaukee this weekend, from Father's Day on the cheap to Polish Fest," 12 July 2018 Interest in Pilgrim genealogy is surging with the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's 1620 arrival in the New World fast approaching. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Was one of your ancestors on the Mayflower? You can find out now," 13 June 2018 The researchers used the patterns to draw a sort of genealogy, linking each neuron first to its close cousins and then its more distant relatives. New York Times, "Every Cell in Your Body Has the Same DNA. Except It Doesn’t.," 21 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about genealogy

Statistics for genealogy

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for genealogy

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for genealogy



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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on genealogy

What made you want to look up genealogy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!