“I Have a Question,” Ensign, July 1999, 65–66
Paul E. Koelliker, managing director of the Temple Department.
The TempleReady system allows members of the Church to process and clear names themselves, but it also requires them to make sure the names are accurate. As members of the Church use the TempleReady system, they may find the following guidelines helpful:
Concentrate on getting the temple ordinances completed for your own ancestors and their families. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said: “The Spirit of Elijah will inspire individual members of the Church to link their generations rather than submit lists of people or popular personalities to whom they are unrelated” (“The Spirit of Elijah,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 86). Doing work for those who are not our own progenitors may needlessly duplicate efforts and ordinances or distract us from the work we should be doing for our own ancestors.
It is wise to check the names you are submitting, including names found on Ancestral File™, against the Ordinance Index™. This index, a part of FamilySearch®, gives the dates of ordinance work already performed for deceased persons. Though TempleReady completes a duplication check, that check often fails to detect duplication when there are slight differences in the records. Thus, check the Ordinance Index first.
Please do not submit the names of deceased celebrities and historical personalities, including those of royal or noble lineage or early LDS Church leaders and their families, or of persons born in European countries prior to A.D. 1500, regardless of your relationship to them. Though the names may not yet appear on the Ordinance Index, temple work for most of the people in these categories has already been done. Sometimes when we study about such people, we feel a spiritual affinity to them, but we should not submit their names for temple work. If names are sent in counter to this policy, they must be cleared by the Temple Department.
Do not “invent” ancestors by adding Mr. and Mrs. to the surname of the person at the end of their family line simply to fill in the spaces for the next generation of ancestors. This practice produces ordinance work and associated records for persons who are not uniquely identified and usually results in duplication of ordinances.
Make sure descriptions and titles are not included with names submitted for ordinance work. For example, descriptions and titles boy, girl, child, widow, Miss, Mr., Jr., Dr., Judge, Reverend [Rev.], Colonel [Col.], General [Gen.], should not be included with names or submitted as if they were names. Because the identity of a woman can be derived from the name of her husband, the use of Mrs. is an exception.
Research notations or explanations, such as “twin,” “no name,” “unknown,” “died young,” “unmarried,” or “wife,” should not be included in the name space, even if the name is unknown. When a name is unknown it is best to leave the name space blank, because anything entered there will be treated like a name.
Instead of putting names, nicknames, or aliases in parentheses or quotation marks, use the word or. For example, write William or Bill rather than William (Bill). This will help avoid confusion of names at the temples as well as on the International Genealogical Index® (IGI) and the Ordinance Index.
Please do not use estimated dates and places if exact dates and places can be obtained with reasonable effort. Imprecision produces inaccurate records on the IGI and Ordinance Index.
The number of family names you submit at one time should normally be limited to as many as you can easily manage or as many as you, your family, and your friends can complete within a reasonable time. Names of those not in your direct ancestral families should usually be placed in the temple file rather than cleared as family names (see letter from First Presidency to all members of the Church, 16 June 1995).
Records of people for whom ordinances have already been completed should not be resubmitted in an attempt to get their ordinance dates.
It is a good idea to consult with relatives before you submit names. If you have relatives in the Church, they may already have ordinance dates or know where those dates can be obtained.
Carefully proofread records before you submit them. It is much easier to make needed corrections before a name is submitted than it is afterwards.
It will help to keep a record of the names you submit for temple work so that you do not submit them again. Most ordinance duplication is caused when members submit the same records more than once.
Please be considerate of the feelings of close family members when submitting names of recently deceased relatives. It is a good practice to seek consent before you proceed. Close relatives who are members of the Church may wish to do the ordinances themselves, and close non–Latter-day Saint relatives may be offended when temple work is done for their family members.
If you desire to do family history work but have no work to do on your own family lines—or if you feel you lack qualifications to do further research on your own family lines—ask your priesthood leaders or your ward extraction director about volunteering to serve in Family Record Extraction. But please do not undertake your own extraction project.
Our ancestors who have passed on are entitled to the same blessings we enjoy (see David B. Haight, “Linking the Family of Man,” Ensign, May 1991, 75). As saviors on Mount Zion (see Obad. 1:21), we have the great privilege of making those blessings available to them. “For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers—that they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect” (D&C 128:15).