ge·​ne·​al·​o·​gy ˌjē-nē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce genealogy (audio)
-ˈa-lə- How to pronounce genealogy (audio)
 also  ˌje-nē-
plural genealogies
: an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or from older forms
: regular descent of a person, family, or group of organisms from a progenitor (see progenitor sense 1) or older form : pedigree
: the study of family ancestral lines
: an account of the origin and historical development of something
genealogical adjective
genealogically adverb

Example Sentences

They've been researching their genealogies. has a distinguished genealogy that traces back to William the Conqueror
Recent Examples on the Web Word spread fast of the crime-solving potential of investigative genetic genealogy. Tom Nolan, WSJ, 2 Mar. 2023 As legal scholar Elizabeth Pollman notes in her genealogy of ESG, the concept emerged out of the defeat of left-leaning plans in developing countries to rein in transnational corporations. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 15 Feb. 2023 Identifinders helps law enforcement agencies and medical examiners to apply forensic genetic genealogy to solving violent crime cold cases and identifying unidentified remains. Robert Moran The Philadelphia Inquirer (tns), al, 7 Dec. 2022 The Rhode Island State Police Forensic Services Unit with the state Department of Health reexamined the physical evidence and requested genetic genealogy investigation to help find the suspect. Amanda Milkovits,, 17 Nov. 2022 Money raised through a GoFundMe campaign will go towards supporting a genetic genealogy investigation. Christine Pelisek,, 16 June 2022 Investigators identified Tucker through genetic genealogy, which has led to a growing number of breakthroughs in cold cases across the country. Travis Andersen,, 6 Mar. 2023 The historic building now houses a dizzying array of archives, artifacts, art, textiles, court records, genealogy, exhibits, a research library and more. Donna M. Owens, Baltimore Sun, 24 Feb. 2023 The case was solved through modern DNA and genealogy technology and the careful preservation of evidence from the crime scene in 1971. Lilly St. Angelo, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near genealogy

Cite this Entry

“Genealogy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


ge·​ne·​al·​o·​gy ˌjē-nē-ˈäl-ə-jē How to pronounce genealogy (audio) ˌjen-ē- How to pronounce genealogy (audio)
plural genealogies
: the line of ancestors of a person or family or a history of such a line of ancestors
: the study of family lines of ancestors
genealogical adjective
genealogically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on genealogy

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