Genealogy

“Whoever finds this, put the data to good use”

Another quote from Star Trek Voyager. They’ve found a space ship from way back in the past. The rest of the crew are all envious of the ones who get to go and have a look at it, because it’s a direct look at the past. Explorers are historians, and I guess historians are explorers.

The pilot died but recorded a message first, and that was what he said. He hoped his Dad would get the message, but no, it was Seven-Of-Nine, who has discovered empathy with people from the past that she didn’t know personally.

Ancestor Day on Star Trek Voyager

I just watched an old episode of Star Trek Voyager about genealogy. Star Trek Voyager was a spin-off series of Star Trek, the old series made in the 60s about “space, the final frontier”.

In the episode I watched (Episode 23, Season 5) Captain Janeway (a sort of Katherine Hepburn) was looking into the story of the ancestor who had inspired her to become a Star Fleet captain. As it turned out, the story wasn’t what she was told, and she was disappointed. She decided that the photograph her crew had found (nice to be able to get your crew working on your family history) had no place on her desk after all.

So her crew threw a surprise party for her and called it Ancestor Day, where we celebrate the lives of our ancestors and ponder their significance to us. Even if what she believed turned out not to be true, it still inspired her at the time.

I think it’s a good idea!

Genealogy research in other countries

I am constantly surprised by the differences in genealogy research in different countries (and Australian states). We tend to take for granted procedures and availability of records in our own patch and then get caught out when we start looking at another country. Well, I do!

I am off to New Zealand for three weeks in a week. I’m going to the AFFHO Congress in Auckland on the 16-20th January, and I’m going a week early to do some research on my own family. I’m trying to prepare for the research I hope to do. New Zealand is a small country and yet the records are so decentralised. Most of them, anyway.

I found the same thing in Victoria. The attitudes to some of the records that I take for granted in Sydney, the birth place of the country, are totally different in Melbourne, where a totally separate colony was established without having convicts as its reason for being. It’s no criticism of them, just something I wasn’t aware of. Although it can blind them to records that are based in Sydney from the period before the establishment of the separate Colony of Victoria.

I’ve seen similar attitudes in posts from Americans enquiring about English research. They expect things to be similar to them and find it confusing when it isn’t. I personally find US research more confusing, what with records in courthouses and attics and all. Of course, I’ve never actually down any on-the-spot US research so what do I know!