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The word "generation" has two meanings relevant to genealogy. Derived from the Greek "genea," generation refers to the act of producing offspring. It also refers to people living at the same time or of approximately the same age. When people living in a particular age beget children, they are, in effect, producing the next generation. When we speak of generations, we are refering to this line of descent, parent to child, one generation to another or one age to another. Generations are often defined by historical events, social conditions, or unique characteristics: the Baby Boomer generation is one example.

Researching the generations, ancestors and their descendants, is the work of genealogy. The standard pedigree chart displays four generations, although many pedigree charts have been created extending back dozens of generations. A multi-generation household refers to members of different generations residing together. Families fortunate enough to have two or three generations of living grandparents often take four-or even five-generation photos to celebrate the generations.

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