Earlier this month, Mark Tucker at Think Genealogy blogged about Family History in the Year 2364, referring to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). In the episode, after being cryogenically frozen for 300 years, a couple of simple questions to the computer revealed the entire family tree of one character, displaying a picture of a living relative who was the spitting image of her husband.
My initial thought was that there was a better episode from Star Trek about genealogy. In 1999, Star Trek: Voyager brought us on a journey into the ship’s captain’s ancestor at the end of the year 2000 in the episode titled 11:59.
For the uninitiated, Voyager is the story of a starship that got pulled into a distant part of the galaxy and spent it’s seven year run headed back to Earth. This particular story began with Neelix taking an interest in Earth history. Neelix was a Talaxian, an alien they picked up in the pilot episode. Quizzing Captain Janeway a bit on Earth’s history, she shot a question back at him and began telling the story of her ancestor, Shannon O’Donnell, who helped build The Millennium Gate. Much of the episode is spent in a flashback from 27 December 2000 at 5am until 31 December 2000 at 11:59pm.
Even in this fictional story, I had to do a little nitpicking. It’s amazing that the ancestor in question was the last in her particular line to have a surname besides Janeway. (Isn’t it always like that on TV?) She mentioned watching the moon landing at age 11, so born about 1957, in 2000 she would have been about 42. They found a picture of her from 2050 with her family. I guess she got married and had a couple kids quickly, unless she adopted Henry’s son and Captain Janeway is not a blood descendent.
Unlike the TNG episode, when asking the computer for information, they were slightly more realistic with what they had to do and what was found. There are some sound bites worthy of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? and mentions of real genealogy records and disproving family stories.
It was kind of worrisome that on TNG, they were able to find so much information so quickly but that Voyager only had fragments of it. Even in this digital age, how much information will not be available in the future? Shannon was making an analog recording at the beginning, but she believed in technology. Could there really be almost no record left in 300 years?
And so I’ve created my first video and posted it to YouTube. (So be nice. Sorry if the audio is low; it kept weakening every app it ran through.) It highlights the genealogy and family history parts of the episode. BosnianTrekker has posted the entire episode to YouTube in five parts, beginning from here, if you’re interested in seeing the rest of it.
Happy Ancestors’ Eve!