ge·​ne·​al·​o·​gy | \ ˌjē-nē-ˈä-lə-jē also -ˈa-lə- 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 , ˌje-​nē-​ \ adjective
genealogically \ ˌjē-​nē-​ə-​ˈlä-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē , 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

While many types of DNA tests utilize probabilities of hereditary markers, none of these are accurate enough to determine region, tribe, or a family or individual in a person’s genealogy. Rory Taylor, Teen Vogue, "DNA Tests Are Not An Indicator of Native Identity," 19 Oct. 2018 Literary misogyny lives on in the genealogy of characters and plots and dialogue and denouement. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Hemingway’s Last Girl," 12 July 2018 Her 4th great-grandfather was Clayton Durham, who worked with Allen in founding the AME church, and through genealogy research learned that his son James Durham was buried at Bethel, as well as other relatives. Washington Post, "Historic black burial site under playground to get memorial," 5 July 2018 Historical Research Forum COLCHESTER — Nathan Liverant and Son will present its final forum of the spring season, sharing how its 900-plus volume reference library and genealogy research brings to light the stories behind the inventory. Courant Community, "Community News For The Colchester Edition," 19 June 2018 Besides productions, the center offers genealogy services. Laura A. Hobson,, "Columbia Tusculum center celebrates Irish arts, culture," 26 June 2018 The sheriff’s office said Talbott is the first murder suspect to be arrested using results from Parabon’s genetic genealogy service, which became generally available less than two weeks ago. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "DNA leads to arrest in Washington cold-case murder of young couple," 20 May 2018 This open-source system allowed investigators to avoid the need for a warrant, which genealogy services typically demand before handing over genetic information. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "How the Supreme Court Could Rewrite the Rules for DNA Searches," 30 Apr. 2018 The largest genealogy services, 23andme and, conduct DNA tests for paying customers but largely shield their findings from other parties. Paige St. John,, "Cracking the Golden State Killer case: Clever detective work or a violation of privacy?," 28 Apr. 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.

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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

12 Jan 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 \
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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Comments on genealogy

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a complex dispute or argument

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