Definition of genealogy in English:


nounPlural genealogies

  • 1A line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor.

    ‘the genealogies of the kings of Mercia’
    • ‘Mormons are strongly taught that they have a religious obligation to trace their own genealogies and perform temple ordinances for their ancestors.’
    • ‘Members of the caste keep family records and can trace a genealogy to a clan's mythical ancestors.’
    • ‘In tracing the genealogy of his name, he found virtually no historical basis for Dudleytown's cursed reputation - no genealogical link to Edmund Dudley, no mysterious illnesses or deaths.’
    • ‘It is hoped that these images will help families to trace their genealogies.’
    • ‘In his introduction to that landmark book, he traces a surprising genealogy.’
    • ‘If you missed it we have started an initiative to allow people who are tracing their genealogy in and around York to pool their information.’
    • ‘In ordinary conversation, Maltese do not often refer to family units larger than those descended from a particular grandparent or grandmother unless they are tracing their genealogy.’
    • ‘Segments that pick the same parental segment are said to coalesce; if their genealogy is to be traced farther back in time, only the single segment needs to be followed.’
    • ‘Here, ancestral Brahmin priests give blessings with holy water and fill in records of family genealogies.’
    • ‘The earliest surviving poems in old Irish are also praise poems, called fursundud, which trace back the genealogy of the kings of Ireland to Golamh or Mile Easpain, whose sons landed in Ireland at the end of the second millennium bce.’
    • ‘These chants often tell of genealogies (family lines) or the exploits of ancestors.’
    • ‘They trace their genealogies through the male line.’
    • ‘There will even be an area where visitors can trace their genealogy and Irish roots.’
    • ‘Nothing is more distressing than discovering uncomfortable ancestors in the genealogy of one's own beliefs.’
    • ‘Tracing the musical genealogy of any given nationalistic genre is no easy task, particularly when there are many influences brought to bear upon it.’
    • ‘The hip-hop ethos can trace its genealogy to the emergence in that decade of a black ideology that equated black strength and authentic black identity with a militantly adversarial stance toward American society.’
    • ‘They would sing in praise of royalty and trace their genealogy.’
    • ‘Many return to trace their genealogy but Butler wants to increase this on a permanent basis.’
    • ‘This general interest evolved from my active pursuit in mapping my family's genealogy, most specifically my paternal grandfather's branch of the family.’
    • ‘Diligently, he lists the contents of albums, notes chart placings and traces the genealogy of bands.’
    pedigree, ancestry, descent, lineage, line, line of descent, family tree, extraction, derivation, origin, heritage, parentage, paternity, birth, family, dynasty, house, race, strain, stock, breed, blood, bloodline, history, background, roots
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1mass noun The study and tracing of lines of descent.
      • ‘An unknown origin place and ancestors without names are meaningless: they frustrate any effort to write genealogy or history.’
      • ‘This is literature as genealogy, characters as blips on the historical radar.’
      • ‘He had a wonderful ability to retain old stories and legends and was a great source of information when it came to local history, folklore and genealogy.’
      • ‘Christine has published and lectured extensively on various aspects of Irish history and genealogy.’
      • ‘When she delves into formal genealogy, she maintains this wide focus.’
      • ‘Like the swarms of people who flock to Web sites devoted to the study of genealogy, company owners who fall into their life's work through happenstance or inheritance may feel rootless, even disaffected.’
      • ‘Women's historical writings were often trivialized or marginalized, considered not truly history but memoirs, genealogy, or gossip.’
      • ‘After retirement he pursued his love of rose cultivation, music, history, and genealogy.’
      • ‘His meticulous character suited his outside interests of coin and stamp collecting, chess, genealogy, and Scottish history.’
      • ‘Betty was also an avid reader and became an authority on Irish and local history, and family genealogy.’
      • ‘In recent years he published books and articles on genealogy, family and local history.’
      • ‘There was some concern expressed during the discussion about the fact that only old people seem to get interested in family history, genealogy, and local history generally.’
      • ‘Since then, the British monarchy, past and present, along with my broader interest in history and genealogy, has become less of an avocation and more of a part-time vocation.’
      • ‘Like the heritage movement and the study of genealogy and local history, which underwent a similar boom, the new museums reflected a desire, not merely to learn about the past, but to re-enter it imaginatively.’
      • ‘In January 1998, I started to get interested in genealogy and family history.’
      • ‘It is the force behind biography, genealogy, history and literature - it is the necessity behind our constant search for the child of possibility.’
      • ‘At a still greater distance are cousins and research on the family history and genealogy.’
      • ‘Now with the success of the trails organisers they have their eyes on another huge and virtually untapped heritage tourist market - genealogy.’
      • ‘A debate on Radio Five this week focused on the incredible growth in the popularity of genealogy - the study of family trees.’
      • ‘His work on transcribing tombstone inscriptions was highly valued by students of history and genealogy.’
    2. 1.2 A plant's or animal's line of evolutionary development from earlier forms.
      • ‘However, theory predicts that in rapidly speciating taxa gene genealogies will vary between loci.’
      • ‘Shallow intraspecific gene genealogies characterize many marine fishes although sister taxa often show considerable genetic divergence.’
      • ‘The quest for humanity's genetic genealogy began in the early 1980s, when researchers were just starting to decipher the genetic code.’
      • ‘More precisely, the gene genealogy is not a parameter but another manifestation of the evolutionary process under study.’
      • ‘Gene genealogies can be used to understand the evolution of specific DNA sequences and relate sequence variation to plant phenotype.’
      • ‘However, many viruses readily recombine, which implies that no single phylogenetic tree describes the genealogy of the sampled sequences.’
      • ‘And there's a suggestion that there are some aspects of the genealogy of life on earth that might be explained by this.’
      • ‘Other statistics can be estimated by simulation of genealogies, under a variety of evolutionary and demographic scenarios.’
      • ‘In this context, the brown trout is an appropriate organism to study the utility of nuclear gene genealogies for evolutionary inferences.’
      • ‘Most importantly, if mutations have no effect on organismal fitness, the genealogy of a sample can be separated entirely from the mutational process.’
      • ‘All these methods assume that there is no recombination, and they rely on the existence of a single simple coalescent history or genealogy for all sites in the locus.’
      • ‘The search wound down on Tuesday evening, although there was still some doubt over the genealogy of an animal captured on amateur footage.’
      • ‘We suspect that this correlation, presumably due to common underlying genealogies, exists even under neutral evolution.’
      • ‘The possibility of uncovering conflicting gene genealogies in taxa that were separated a long time in the past but whose speciation has occurred close in time has already been discussed.’


Middle English: via Old French and late Latin from Greek genealogia, from genea ‘race, generation’ + -logia (see -logy).