What is ancestry?

A scientific paper on this topic, with this precise title, got me to thinking about the word.

Ancestry. Besides being a big corporate conglomerate hoping to suck as much money as possible out of grandmothers everywhere, it is a word created long before predatory capitalism became an idea.

I wonder what the dictionary definition is. It is a three-syllable word, an·​ces·​try. Merriam-Webster has the following:

Definition of ancestry
1: line of descent : LINEAGE
especially : honorable, noble, or aristocratic descent
2: persons initiating or comprising a line of descent : ANCESTORS

I prefer the more straightforward and simplistic:

: a person’s ancestors : the people who were in your family in past times

I am always looking for background, so here is what Douglas Harper says. It comes from French and before that Latin, dating to around the year 1300.


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