Brain function requires precise neural circuit assembly during development. Establishing a functional circuit involves multiple coordinated steps ranging from neural cell fate specification to proper matching between pre- and post-synaptic partners. How neuronal lineage and birth timing influence wiring specificity remains an open question. Recent findings suggest that the relationships between lineage, birth timing, and wiring specificity vary in different neuronal circuits. In this review, we summarize our current understanding of the cellular, molecular, and developmental mechanisms linking neuronal lineage and birth timing to wiring specificity in a few specific systems in Drosophila and mice, and review different methods employed to explore these mechanisms.