Sunday, January 15, 2023

The Difference Between Genealogy and Family History?

I asked the Artificial Intelligence bot ChatGPT to explain the difference between genealogy and family history. The AI system wrote three sentences of explanation, as shown above. 

Did the AI get it right? Let me add two more perspectives on this distinction: 

  • The Society of Genealogists notes that genealogy focuses on building an accurate family tree, showing how one generation is connected to the next, whereas family history is broader--incorporating genealogy.
  • Family Tree Magazine columnist Paul Chiddicks wrote a 2021 blog post that continues to generate discussion about the differences between a genealogist and a family historian. 
IMHO, genealogy is narrower than family history. When I began tracing my family tree in 1998, learning about my grandparents' siblings/spouses and going back further in time, I was doing genealogy. 

Once I had the basic branches of my tree in place, I could begin to analyze and understand my ancestor's lives, relationships, and movements within a societal and historical framework--the bigger picture of family history.

What do you think? 


  1. Yes, I agree entirely with the difference between genealogy and family history. All good family history is built on sound genealogy. But the real fascination is in taking the research further.

    1. Absolutely must agree with you...digging deeper is the real fun and fascination! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Yes, I agree with you. Most genealogists become family historians at some point...