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 Farrelly also knows someone trying to capture more than 100 beekeeping groups, and someone passionate about genealogy and adoption support circles. Hannah Knowles, Washington Post, "These crusaders want to preserve ‘human culture’ online. Their latest target: Yahoo Groups.," 11 Dec. 2019 The increases come at a time when millions of Americans are discovering a passion for family genealogy, spurring the growth of websites and services that cater to them., "Trump administration plans huge fee hikes for immigration records regarded as vital by genealogists - The Boston Globe," 8 Dec. 2019 Authorities in the Milwaukee area solved the 35-year-old murder and rape of Traci Hammerberg by connecting a DNA profile to a second cousin registered in a genealogy database. Doha Madani, NBC News, "35-year-old cold case murder in Wisconsin solved using DNA and genealogy, police say," 22 Oct. 2019 Over 92 million account details from genealogy and DNA testing service MyHeritage were found on a private server, according to a release made by the company on Monday. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "MyHeritage breach leaks millions of DNA account details," 5 June 2018 Over the past two years, a growing number of law enforcement agencies have turned to genetic genealogy to identify human remains and solve other crimes. Heather Murphy, New York Times, "Headless Body in Cave Is Identified as 1916 Ax Murder Suspect," 3 Jan. 2020 Investigators asked DNA Doe Project — a nonprofit volunteer organization that helps to identify deceased people using forensic genealogy — for assistance earlier this year. Jason Duaine Hahn,, "Headless Torso Found in Idaho Grave ID'd as Outlaw Accused of Murdering His Wife in 1916," 2 Jan. 2020 In September, the Department of Justice introduced guidelines for how law enforcement should use genealogy. Wired Staff, Wired, "WIRED's 7 Big Science Stories That Shaped 2019," 23 Dec. 2019 The lab uses genetic genealogy to help find possible matches to DNA from crime scenes. Darran Simon, CNN, "A single mother was killed in 1981. Her son's youth football coach is now a suspect," 20 Dec. 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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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

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Genealogy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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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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