Prosopography is an investigation of the common characteristics of a historical group, whose individual biographies may be largely untraceable, by means of a collective study of their lives, in multiple career-line analysis.

Prosopography is an investigation of the common characteristics of a historical group, whose individual biographies may be largely untraceable, by means of a collective study of their lives, in multiple career-line analysis.

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.

(From Wikipedia)