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BRANCH. This is a metaphorical expression, which designates, in the genealogy of a numerous family, a portion of that family which has sprang from the same root or stock; these latter expressions, like the first, are also metaphorical.
     2. The whole of a genealogy is often called the genealogical tree; and sometimes it is made to take the form of a tree, which is in the first place divided into as many branches as there are children, afterwards into as many branches as there are grand-children, then of great grandchildren, &c. If, for example, it be desired to have a genealogical tree of Peter's family, Peter will be made the trunk of the tree; if he has had two children, John and James, their names will be written on the first two branches; which will themselves shoot out as many smaller branches as John and James have children; from these other's proceed, till the whole family is represented on the tree; thus the origin, the application, and the use of the word branch in genealogy will be at once perceived.

References in classic literature ?
A stone might pos- sibly penetrate to us once in a while, but it wasn't very likely; we were well protected by boughs and foliage, and were not visible from any good aiming point.
With hot heart I took the green winding path, and presently came the little grassy glade, and the bubbling crystal well, and the hut of wattled boughs, and, looking through the open door of the hut, I saw a lovely girl lying asleep in her golden hair.
The Sun that light imparts to all, receives From all his alimental recompence In humid exhalations, and at Even Sups with the Ocean: though in Heav'n the Trees Of life ambrosial frutage bear, and vines Yeild Nectar, though from off the boughs each Morn We brush mellifluous Dewes, and find the ground Cover'd with pearly grain: yet God hath here Varied his bounty so with new delights, As may compare with Heaven; and to taste Think not I shall be nice.
The green boughs glittered with all their pearls of dew.
The youth saw with surprise that the soldier had two wounds, one in the head, bound with a blood-soaked rag, and the other in the arm, making that member dangle like a broken bough.
On the lowest green bough hung an abundant wreath of roses, some that had been gathered in the sunniest spots of the forest, and others, of still richer blush, which the colonists had reared from English seed.
After several little accidents, such as a torn robe, a lost shoe, and the entanglement of Hannah's hair in a bough, they reached the upper verge of the forest, and were now to pursue a more adventurous course.
It was a wood of beeches and limes, with here and there a light silver-stemmed birch--just the sort of wood most haunted by the nymphs: you see their white sunlit limbs gleaming athwart the boughs, or peeping from behind the smooth- sweeping outline of a tall lime; you hear their soft liquid laughter--but if you look with a too curious sacrilegious eye, they vanish behind the silvery beeches, they make you believe that their voice was only a running brooklet, perhaps they metamorphose themselves into a tawny squirrel that scampers away and mocks you from the topmost bough.
Send no lunge beyond thy length; Lend no rotten bough thy strength.
Such men, in other men's calamities, are, as it were, in season, and are ever on the loading part: not so good as the dogs, that licked Lazarus' sores; but like flies, that are still buzzing upon any thing that is raw; misanthropi, that make it their practice, to bring men to the bough, and yet never a tree for the purpose in their gardens, as Timon had.
A lifeless body fell from bough to bough, and hung about twenty feet from the ground, its arms and legs swaying to and fro in the air.
And as I watched him I felt in my own being, in my very muscles themselves, the surge and thrill of desire to go leaping from bough to bough; and I felt also the guarantee of the latent power in that being and in those muscles of mine.