ge·​ne·​al·​o·​gy | \ ˌjē-nē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce genealogy (audio) also -ˈa-lə- How to pronounce genealogy (audio) 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 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 process, known as genetic genealogy, has been widely used in recent years to prosecute decades-old cold cases. Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post, "A coffee cup tied him to a 1972 murder. He killed himself hours before he was convicted, police say.," 10 Nov. 2020 Dunbar also compiled a genealogy of his wife’s family. John Pope,, "Prescott 'Scottie' Dunbar, historian and arts patron in New Orleans, dies at 78," 10 Nov. 2020 But with genetic genealogy, that same DNA evidence can be put into the free website GEDMatch, which then shows a list of extended family members who are related to the perpetrator. Andy Rose, CNN, "Suspect in 1972 cold case killing believed to have died by suicide shortly before he was convicted," 10 Nov. 2020 It’s a noncirculating reference book housed in the genealogy section of many local libraries that still provides key details about the former cemetery. Kori Rumore,, "‘Dead people always seem to get in the way of the living.’ Facing death with Chicago’s ‘Cemetery Lady’ Helen Sclair.," 1 Nov. 2020 Along with many others, my wife has become driven to reconnect with her past and is an avid researcher of our family’s history and genealogy. New York Times, "Spirits of Grandfathers Past," 31 Oct. 2020 Closer to home, William Brian Blankenship of Southgate, Kentucky, was arrested Jan. 23, 2020, after a genealogy database matched his DNA with that collected from rape cases in 1999 and 2001. Amber Hunt, The Enquirer, "Backstory: 42 years after Cheryl Thompson's murder, hope remains in coed's case," 27 Oct. 2020 The same genetic genealogy technique has been used to solve other cold-case rapes and murders, including that of the Golden Gate Killer. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "DNA links dead man to cold case murder of 5-year-old Montana girl," 27 Oct. 2020 FamilySearch, the genealogy database service owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced Tuesday that the online RootsTech Connect 2021 conference will be set for Feb. 25-27. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, "RootsTech genealogy conference will be online only, and free, in 2021," 1 Sep. 2020

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

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Genealogy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 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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