I really enjoy researching my biological genealogy but also think it could be interesting and fun to trace one's intellectual and educational genealogy. In a sense, one's intellectual and educational genealogy is as personal as one's biological origins. Taken together, these two streams of our history really make a person who and what he is.
It is clear that educational systems are set up to bring knowledge and learning to a group of people, a class, sometimes with 20 or more people. The educational system is generalized. Of course we have common "intellectual role models": Aristotle, Socrates, etc. but there are really so many writers, thinkers and historians that once you get past the group common to everyone, there are very great differences amongst people to the extent that each person's intellectual genealogy is as unique and interesting as the biological history that gave them their physical shape, form and capacities.
Part of my exploration of any of my relatives is to see what period they lived in and to paint the picture and landscape of their times. Who were the politicians? Who were the writers? What were the historical events? If we take Edmund Burke's assertion that history is the story of our greatest men and women, who lead us all, part of our historical inquiry should be devoted to knowing who did what, said what and wrote what, during the period in which our ancestors lived.