The term genealogy and family history are often used interchangeably. As both these words are used for seeking information about ancestors even many professors and researchers tend to confuse with these words. There is a lot of difference between these words and it is important for people who use these terms to understand the real meaning of these words.
Genealogy is the study of ancestors and decedents where researchers study about the descendants and ancestors of people when your pedigree is a single direct line. Basically, it is two parents, four grandparents and eight great-grandparents and so on. Genealogy is where one learns about how one family is connected to the other.
Previously genealogy was only used by the rich who used to study their genealogy in order to get their inheritances. It is said that they had so much free time that they visited physical archives to learn about their ancestors so that they can receive their right inheritance. Genealogy is something which helps understand where our ancestors were at a certain period. These can be supported by various documents and other events which serve as proof that they lived in a particular time and place. Some of these documents are death certificates, birth certificates, graduations, immigration, property ownership etc.
Now we have something called the genetic genealogy where DNA is tested in combination with traditional and historical genealogy records to bring about the difference among individuals.
Family history on the other side is more of genealogy coming alive. Family history is something which takes genealogy to the next level. Unlike genealogy family history not only brings the details about birth dates, places lived etc., but it also provides information about the lives of the ancestors and the other family stories that would have happened in each generation.
Family history talks about how the family lived, what was their occupation, where all they travelled and all such details. Family history is taken to understand the environment of the past and the legislation they had followed back in their days.
So genealogy is all about the study of the dates and places of your ancestors. But studying genealogy a person will only get a rough idea of where his or her ancestor had lived and in what period they had lived. At the most, they will get an idea of where they studied if they find any graduation certificate but to get a detailed description one has to study the family history where individual family stories and various other things are told in detail. Thus if you are only interested in getting a rough idea about your ancestors, you can take up a genealogy study, but if you want to go really deep, you need to study the family history.