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

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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

The case is the second this year to be cracked by investigators using the relatively new field of genetic genealogy, which uses DNA to create maps of potential relatives of an unknown suspect, narrowing the investigative path. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Oregon man arrested for teen’s murder in 41-year-old Anchorage cold case," 4 Sep. 2019 Venture Smith’s family genealogy and artifacts and crafts from Ghana and other regions of Africa will be on display., "Community News For The Colchester Edition," 26 Aug. 2019 Prior to StubHub, Jones was senior vice president at Ancestry, the world’s largest genealogy website, serving as general manager of international and also overseeing the company’s Global Content function. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "StubHub Names Dan Jones VP of International," 20 Aug. 2019 The defense could have challenged the use of genetic genealogy on privacy grounds, or as a violation of people’s right to control their personal data. Heather Murphy, New York Times, "Genealogy Sites Have Helped Identify Suspects. Now They’ve Helped Convict One.," 1 July 2019 But while this information is protected by medical privacy laws, internet genealogies are not. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "A DNA Site Helped Authorities Crack the Golden State Killer Case. Here’s What You Should Know About Your Genetic Data Privacy," 27 Apr. 2018 Her love of genealogy guided her in her career as well. Linda Gandee/special To,, "Local woman began researching genealogies at only 12 years of age; now teaches classes at Avon Lake Library," 12 Feb. 2018 But decades-old DNA that authorities ran through a genealogy website matched to Joseph James DeAngelo 42 years after the attacks began. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "A woman woke up to a stranger assaulting her in 1983. A DNA match finally led to an arrest," 18 Aug. 2019 The implications of privacy around genetic information came into full view when police used a genealogy website to track down a suspect in the decades-old case of the Golden State Killer. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Ancestry CEO on Genetic Data Privacy: ‘Consumers Need to Think About Who They Do Business With’," 15 July 2019

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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Statistics for genealogy

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for genealogy

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

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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

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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