What is genealogy? Historical origins

Primitive societies memorised the names of their ancestors over thousands of years and transmitted this knowledge to successive generations. In South Africa this oral tradition for the ancestors of certain rulers dates back to almost 1500 AD.
The Old Testament contains many examples of family registers.
Descent among European nobility was of great importance for the inheritance of titles and the use of a coat-of-arms. Great emphasis was placed on the ancestry and bloodlines of a couple wishing to marry.