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

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 Years went by before authorities discovered the DNA matches, and more years passed before investigators fed the DNA information into a genealogy website. Sam Stanton, sacbee, "He was a teen chasing a prowler in 1977. He ended up being shot by the East Area Rapist," 8 June 2018 Earlier this year, police tracked him down by comparing genetic profiles from genealogy websites to crime scene DNA, according to investigators. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "DNA that led to Golden State Killer suspect's arrest was collected from his car while he shopped," 2 June 2018 The documents don’t shed new light on the use of a genealogy website that led investigators to Mr. DeAngelo’s doorstep. Zusha Elinson, WSJ, "Secretly Collected DNA Led to Suspect’s Arrest in Golden State Killer Case," 1 June 2018 Together with her cousin, Luella Marshall, Joyce was instrumental in helping track the genealogy of more than 5,000 members of the Starratt family who migrated from Scotland to Nova Scotia in the 1700's., "Joyce A. Grinold," 13 July 2018 At Midnight Rambler, for instance, a drink with a rich genealogy involving the maple and birch sugaring traditions of the Ojibwe tribe, is reduced to a list of ingredients: Texas Rye Whiskey, Pippali Birch, Maple, Angostura. Elizabeth G. Dunn, WSJ, "My Cocktail’s Smarter Than Yours: A Guide to the World’s Brainiest Bar Menus," 12 July 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

7 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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