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Back the Future – A Movie that Plays Out a Genealogist’s Dream

Do you remember the movie franchise Back to the Future? There were three movies in this series and each one had it’s own underlying genealogy journey as we briefly discussed in this previous blog.

Let’s take a deeper look at this movie series and see just how much genealogy was written into each storyline.

back to the futureIn each of these movies, he encounters his family and has to protect and save them from situations that could alter his own present-day existence. However, he cannot let them know who he is. During his time travels, he notices family traits that are carried on in the generations such as how he has a striking resemblance to his second great grandfather and how the various men in the family do not like to be called chicken/coward.

  1. Back to the Future (1985) – In the first movie of the Back to the Future series, Marty travels back to the year 1955 and meets his parents and grandparents and has to ensure that his parents start dating. Marty must make sure that Biff does not interfere with this budding relationship. During this, Marty pays close attention to a photo of him with his two siblings. As time passed, his siblings faded away as if they didn’t exist which meant that he was failing at setting his parents up. If he faded, he knew his failed and would not exist in his own life.
  2. Back to the Future II (1989) – Marty travels into the future to the year 2015 and meets his children along with the confirmation that he marries his high school sweetheart, Jennifer. He must make sure his son doesn’t make a huge mistake without being noticed by himself as future Marty or anyone else that would recognize him. In this movie, they enter an alternate universe where Biff turns out to be Marty’s stepfather.
  3. Back to the Future III (1990) – In the final movie, Marty travels back to the year 1855 and meets his second great grandparents who were Irish immigrants. Marty also encounters the ancestors of Biff, his longtime nemesis of sorts that he’s experienced throughout his other time travels. Biff shares the same bullying traits as his ancestors.

In each of the movies, Marty quickly realized that the people were his family and, to some extent, excited to encounter them but remained very respectful of the situation as to not disturb the events that could alter history or the future which was a challenge all in itself.

While genealogy wasn’t the main focus of these movies, it was definitely an underlying tone. Can we say that Marty, even as fictional as it is, lived a genealogy dream that all of us wish we could have?

Credits to the Movie Production Companies

The Back to the Future movie series was written and produced by Zemeckis. These movies are available on DVD, Blu-ray and VHS. The movies series was produced by Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures.


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