At RootsTech 2015, Elder Neil L. Andersen expanded his previous challenge — which was for Church members to “prepare as many names for the temple as you perform baptisms in the temple”—to include teaching others to do the same.
With this extra focus on temples and family history, many Church members wonder what they can do to find family members’ names that they can take to the temple. Here are five FamilySearch hacks to help you find names successfully without becoming a family history expert first.
1. Look for “Opportunities”
The best place to look is usually the most obvious. FamilySearch has a built-in “Temple Opportunities” tool to help Church members identify direct ancestors within five generations who need temple ordinances.
After signing in to FamilySearch, look at the top navigation. Choices include “Family Tree,” “Memories,” “Search,” “Indexing,” and “Temple.” If “Temple” has a red star next to it, the system has identified temple opportunities. Click “Temple,” then click the green arrow next to the temple icon to reserve ordinances for an individual. If you need help, use this page.
Note that you should always check for possible duplicates before completing temple work for an ancestor.
2. Use Descendancy View
FamilySearch’s new Family Tree “Descendancy” view reveals temple opportunities that have historically been difficult to find. Navigate your family tree back a few generations and click on a person’s name. Once you see the person’s information, click “Family Tree” just below his or her name. Then, in the upper-left corner, change “View: Traditional” to “Descendancy.”
This screen displays all the descendants of a person, including those who are not your direct ancestors. These are distant aunts, uncles and cousins. Look for a green temple icon on the right, which signifies temple work is needed for an individual. Reserve ordinances by clicking on the green temple icon and following the instructions.
3. Use record hints
It might be tempting to skip over a person without a green “Temple” icon. However, other icons indicate that many more people may need ordinances. Especially if a person is listed as single, entire families may need to be added.
The yellow laptop-with-a-magnifying-glass icon in Descendancy View indicates that FamilySearch has “record hints” for a person. This means that FamilySearch has indexed records that may help you learn more about an individual.
The blue list-with-a-question-mark icon indicates that FamilySearch has “research suggestions” for a person. Usually, this means there is a person missing from FamilyTree (perhaps a spouse or child), and, by association, someone who may need temple work completed.
4. Research people with incomplete profiles
Sometimes, researchers identify a person on a census record but never get around to learning more about the person. These people may have marriage, death and family records available to help you learn more about them. If you’re not sure how to begin, look for people with no death date (just “deceased”) listed.
5. Find a spouse
Family trees stop when information about a spouse is missing. Find dead ends on your family tree and search for newly indexed records on your oldest known ancestor. Finding maiden names and parents’ names can expand your family tree through generations.
Another great way to identify family members is to find the spouses of people listed as single. If you can’t find a record of a certain woman past the age of 20 or so, it’s possible she got married and is listed under a different name. In order to be sealed, these couples must both be listed in the system—and they may have children in need of ordinances, too.