Genealogy in the Year 2364

Is this the future of genealogy? Actually, it doesn’t look much different from today.

This 1988 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode shows what family history research might be like in the 24th century. An ancient space capsule was discovered floating near the Starship Enterprise. It appears to be from Earth. On board are three humans who are in suspended animation, a form of deep sleep that can last for centuries. The crew of the Starship Enterprise wakes the humans who now find themselves 376 years in the future from their last memories.

One survivor misses her family and learns how family history is done in the 24th century. She also learns about her great-great-great-great-great-grandson.

Take a look at the pedigree charts on the computer screen. They don’t look much different from what we are seeing in today’s computers! That’s not bad for a television show created in 1988 when the most popular genealogy software was Personal Ancestral File version 2.1 for MS-DOS! The show’s writers obviously had a great vision of what genealogy could become.

You can watch the video here or on the YouTube web site at: https://youtu.be/IyY8j0iq6E8.

9 Comments

Remarkably prescient. The experience of researching and sharing family history doesn’t change!

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I thought I had watched all of the Star Trek TNG episodes, but this one apparently escaped me. What a find! For all of us who wish we could go back in time and speak to a distant ancestor, this Star Trek TNG story line offers a different variation in which the distant “ancestor” will go to visit her descendant. Oh what stories the young woman would be able to tell her distant progeny about the times she grew up in! Fascinating to contemplate. Thanks.

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OK, beam me up Scotty! The poor fools have learned nothing …

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I am a big fan of Star Trek. But I’ve always found that a little too easy, even for the 24th century. No name ambiguity, and seven generations later the one descendant they find has the same last name…

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    Star Trek Voyager did a genealogy episode where the character was trying to tract down information about an ancestor circa year 2000, but was having a lot of difficulty because of lost documents.

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    🙂 Chuck –
    Single surnames do track through male lineages for many generations, you know. I have maternal and paternal ancestors from colonial New England, Mayflower forward, and while a few of those surnames did undergo one or more spelling transitions, those have also been documented. Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the two “main trunks” of my maternal and paternal lineages is that the American spellings remained the same from the early 1600s through to when my gr-grandparents had them in the late nineteenth century, although a few lineages that married into the “main trunks” did have multiple (usually phonetic) spellings in some cases.
    I did, however, credit one 1910 census enumerator by name in my documentation when he got the spelling of one gr-grandfather’s name and surname correctly, but if I hadn’t already known the correct spellings for the names of is wife and children, I would have been lost since his “creative” spellings didn’t look anything like the correct spellings of their names, none of which were unusual. I suspect the enumerator was dyslectic by some of the odd spellings he came up with.

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Hey Dick. Good find. However, you didn’t mention Star Trek also predicted Siri, decades before it became available on the iPhone.

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Wow that was really interesting! Wouldn’t it be great to get all that info that fast?

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Look, genealogy existed well before 1988 and Startrek. My father in Germany was drawing family trees in the 1930s. tracing ancestors who emigrated to America and contacting them – by snailmail, of course because nothing else existed. The internet has speeded it up and moved paper records into electronic ones, but the basic concept is ages old. Probably Henry VIII got his court genealogist to look at the pedigrees of his wives before he made another choice.

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