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

The identity of the Golden State Killer was discovered using a genealogy database, investigators said. John Herrman, New York Times, "Is a Dumber Phone a Better Phone?," 16 May 2018 Investigators cracked the case by feeding the killer's DNA into GEDmatch, a genealogy database, which linked the DNA to distant relatives. Justin Jouvenal,, "Golden State Killer suspect charged with four more murders," 11 May 2018 DeAngelo was arrested April 24 at his home after Sacramento investigators matched crime-scene DNA with genetic material from a distant relative in a public online genealogy database. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, ""Golden State Killer" suspect Joseph DeAngelo charged with 4 more decades-old murders," 10 May 2018 Investigators pinpointed DeAngelo after testing DNA preserved from decades-old crime scenes against online genealogy databases. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Cyber Saturday—Why I Refuse DNA Testing," 28 Apr. 2018 Over the years, investigators compared the DNA to profiles on one or more undisclosed genealogy databases. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Genealogy websites identify rape suspect who eluded police for 40 years," 27 Apr. 2018 Corbin's influence spreads well beyond members of the history and genealogy-minded DAR. Cristina Corbin, Fox News, "Where is Margaret Corbin? Hunt on for Revolutionary War hero's grave," 5 July 2018 But, according to Stedman, that changed when the DNA sample was matched to a relative of Rowe who had uploaded their DNA to a database on genealogy website GEDmatch – the same site which was involved in the Golden State Killer’s arrest. Alexia Fernandez,, "Wedding DJ Arrested for the Brutal 1992 Rape and Murder of School Teacher Christy Mirack," 26 June 2018 Representative Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, on Thursday called on the genealogy website 23andMe to provide DNA tests to help identify migrant children separated from their parents by the Trump administration. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The perils of using DNA tests to reunite migrant children with their parents.," 22 June 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

21 Sep 2018

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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