Thursday, July 09, 2009


prosopography: Definition from

"As prosopographer Katherine Keats-Rohan puts it:

'Prosopography is about what the analysis of the sum of data about many individuals can tell us about the different types of connection between them, and hence about how they operated within and upon the institutions - social, political, legal, economic, intellectual - of their time.’. (Katharine Keats-Rohan, History and Computing 12.1, p. 2)

In this sense prosopography is clearly related to, but distinct from, both biography and genealogy.
Whilst biography and prosopography overlap, and prosopography is interested in the details of individuals' lives, a prosopography is more than the plural of biography.
A prosopography is not just any collection of biographies - the lives must have enough in common for relationships and connections to be uncovered.

Genealogy, as practiced by family historians, has as its goal the reconstruction of familial relationships, and as such, well-conducted genealogical research may form the basis of a prosopography, but the goals of prosopographical research are generally wider."

a new word for me which turned up in GENEALOGISTS' MAGAZINE volume 29 Number 10

Society of Genealogists - Genealogists Magazine


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