Monday, May 25, 2009

Family Tree Project to eliminate temple duplication

Detail from FamilySearch FamilyTree project For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without access to New FamilySearch (NFS), read-only access to the Family Tree project of FamilySearch Labs will eliminate duplication of temple ordinances of Church members’ ancestors. This according to recent public postings by FamilySearch in the Product Support pages of . One such post states,

The Family Tree project is replacing the International Genealogical Index (IGI) as a resource to verify that temple ordinances are complete. … At first, as the Family Tree project is made available to Church members along the Wasatch Front, those members will have read-only access…. Members will not be able to change data or clear names for submission to the temple using the Family Tree project.

(Members of the Church believe that families can be “sealed” together for eternity and actively research their genealogies for submission to the faith’s temples for posthumous execution of these ordinances. The Church teaches that after death spirits of the deceased can choose to accept or reject the ordinances performed on their behalf.)

While most areas of the Church are using NFS and Family Tree to submit ordinance requests, members in Idaho and Utah not on NFS continue to use an old system that relies on consulting the IGI to prevent re-submission of completed ordinances. Unfortunately, the IGI does not include ordinances submitted through NFS. (See “New FamilySearch and IGI are not talking.”) Since NFS and Family Tree include information from both the old and new systems, Family Tree can be checked to prevent duplicate ordinance requests.

Giving members in Idaho and Utah read-only access to NFS data via Family Tree is a clever way, it seems to me, of preventing duplication if the NFS rollout isn’t completed quickly. Somebody’s got their thinking cap on and deserves congratulations.

Re-tasking Family Tree as a tool to prevent ordinance duplication is a change from Family Tree’s original mission.

The Family Tree project is redesigning the look of the new FamilySearch Web site. You are invited to preview and give feedback on this new look while it is still being developed. (Source) When the Family Tree project is made available for full use to all Church members, it will become part of the new FamilySearch, and members will have full use of all features. (Source)

No indication was given for when read-only access to Family Tree will start. In an accompanying article, I show how to find the set of articles containing the posts quoted. That article shows indications that the set of articles was posted and updated within the month.


  1. I think this is fantastic news for those of us on the Wasatch Front. As a family history consultant, I have hated trying to teach newbies how to use PAF Insight and the old temple ready system to search for completed ordinances with newFamilySearch just on the horizon. I wonder, though, if we will have the capacity to combine duplicates, since the ordinance might show in some duplicates but not others; and since the current version of Family Tree will allow that function but not other corrections. Do you know if combining will be possible?

  2. Dear Doris,

    I would think you would not be able to combine, since combining is what is causing the problem that makes it impossible to roll out full access to NFS. Patrons will have to be taught to use Search to check all uncombined records for the truest picture of what ordinances have already taken place.

    -- the A.I.


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