Find Names for the Temple Part 1: Review the Accuracy of Your Tree
I’m excited to be sharing a new series with you about how to find names for the temple. This follows the chapters in our new book, Find Names for the Temple: A Step-by-Step Method for Success. To view all the articles detailing each step, click here: Find Names for the Temple Articles. Here are each of the steps:
Part 1: Review the Accuracy of Your Tree
To view all the articles detailing each step, click here: Find Names for the Temple Articles.
The Importance of Accuracy
“Let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.”
– Doctrine and Covenants 128:24
The first step to finding names for the temple is to ensure the links in your family tree are accurate. Temple work should only be completed for our own relatives! Think of this step as building a firm foundation. We don’t want to build our temple work on a sandy foundation that gets washed away when we realize we are not related to an ancestor that was added erroneously.
FamilySearch Family Tree is a collaborative family tree. You may not know how other contributors came to their conclusions. This is why it is important to review the relationships in your family tree to make sure you agree with the conclusions and the ancestors who have been added.
Below are some basic steps to do this. It may be helpful during this process to print a fan chart to keep track of who you have reviewed. Once you confirm that the parent-child relationship looks correct, you can check them off. For those who you cannot confirm, add a question mark or make a note to return to that ancestor later.
I printed the fan chart for my grandpa’s side of the family to start there. I checked off all the relationships that know are correct. The ones that I didn’t know, I viewed the sources in FamilySearch. When there still wasn’t enough info to verify the relationship, I made a note or a question mark.
Review Each Ancestral Relationship
Start with yourself and work your way back to your great-grandparents. If you don’t have firsthand knowledge of these relationships, ask your close relatives. Your grandparents or other relatives may have added “memories” to FamilySearch which contain biographies and life sketches of ancestors. I have found many biographies of my ancestors which a distant cousin uploaded. Often they were written by a the ancestor’s child or grandchild.
Review the Sources
Once you have traced your tree backward to ancestors whose names you don’t recognize and no one you know remembers, you can review sources. The sources attached to your ancestor’s person page in FamilySearch can help determine the accuracy of the parent-child relationships.
FamilySearch Family Tree has a section for sources in each profile. Click on every source and read the transcription and reason statement telling why it was attached. Click on the image and read the actual document.
I have created a video that walks you through the process of looking at the sources attached to your ancestors and deciding if the parent-child relationship is correct.
For example, I wanted to review the relationships on my Great Grandmother’s side. Her name is Ettie Belle Harris. I have heard stories about Ettie Belle Harris. She died when she was only about 50, so my mom didn’t know her, but we know she was a kind woman who shared freely of what she had even though she and her family were migrant workers during the Great Depression. I have a picture of Ettie and her mother, Alice Frazier, so the relationship between Ettie and Alice is proven by photos and memories of people that I know.
Alice’s parents’ names, Richard Frazier and Nancy Elizabeth Briscoe, which are listed in FamilySearch Family Tree, are not familiar to me.
I checked the sources listed on Alice’s person page to make sure the relationship between her and her parents is correct. I also reviewed the sources attached to her parents and siblings.
The person page of Alice Frazier shows five sources. I clicked on each source, and read the transcription. You can also view the original image of the documents, if available.
Here’s the evidence I found in Alice’s sources:
- 1900 Census: Alice Frazier is listed as “daughter” of Richard Frazier and Nancy E. Frazier. Several siblings to Alice are also listed. This seems to match what is listed in FamilySearch.
- No marriage record was attached to Richard Frazier and Nancy E. Briscoe, so I wasn’t sure where the information for Nancy’s maiden name came from.
- When I checked the sources for Nancy E. Briscoe, I found a death record for one of her sons (Alice’s brother William Coloway “W.C.” Frazier) which lists his mother’s name as “Nancy Brisco.” Now I know where the maiden name information came from!
This census shows Richard and Nancy E. Frazier were the parents of a daughter named Alice, and that they had several other children as well, including William, whose death record contained his mother’s maiden name.
Nancy E. Briscoe’s person page shows a source for her son W.C. Frazier’s death record. That death record contains the maiden name of Nancy.
The evidence in the 1900 census and the death record of Alice’s brother make it clear to me that Alice Frazier is the daughter of Richard Frazier and Nancy Elizabeth Briscoe, so I’m ready to move on. I can check off the relationship between Alice and her parents as confirmed.
Locate Sources of Information
If there are no sources attached to one of your ancestors, this is a clue that they have not been thoroughly researched or the research was not shared on FamilySearch Family Tree. There are several things you can do to determine which sources the information came from.
- Contact the FamilySearch users who are listed in the recent changes of your ancestor’s profile and ask for the sources they used.
- Look for research that has already been shared on other family tree sharing sites. These include Ancestry, MyHeritage, Wiki Tree, RootsWeb, FindMyPast,
- Research the person to find original records. I will go over how to start a research project in part 4 of this series.
Tools That Help
FamilySearch Family Tree Icons
When in landscape, portrait, and descendancy views, FamilySearch Family Tree displays icons next to relatives who have record hints, research suggestions, or data problems.
The icons in FamilySearch landscape view can help you find data problems, record hints, research opportunities, and more.
You can use these icons to help you determine the accuracy of relationships. For example, if your sixth great grandfather is showing the red data problems icon, click the icon to learn more. The message might read, “Birth before father could have children: the child’s birth year occurs before the father was at least 12.” Review the sources and evidence between this child and father before proceeding to research beyond this relationship.
Another helpful tool is Find-A-Record, located at https://www.findarecord.com/en/. This is a FamilySearch certified website which scans your family tree and creates reports about sources, data problems, and cleanup that can be done to improve the accuracy of your tree.
Go to www.findarecord.com and log in with your FamilySearch credentials. Start with “ancestors” in the “who do you want to find” box and select the “problems” option to find any data problems in your tree.
I chose my great-grandmother as the “start person” in this FindARecord opportunity list. I only checked the boxes for “Problems’ and “Ordinances,” and as you can see, there are quite a few recommendations for review and even a temple ordinance that is needed.
With Find-A-Record you can also create a report about relatives who need temple ordinances. Check the box next to “Ordinances” and uncheck the other boxes. In the “Who do you want to find” box, choose “everyone.” Load more generations until you find someone who needs ordinances. When you do, your next task is to verify that person’s relationship to you and ensure that they have sources attached. If they do have sources attached, and you can verify each relationship between them and you, then you should reserve the temple ordinances!
If the person doesn’t have sources attached, you can use them as a starting point in a research project. We will talk about how to do that in part 4 of this series. Before you start your research project, you should choose a research question. For example, “Is Minnie Bell Frazier the daughter of Richard Frazier?” Your research project will be to discover sources that confirm Minnie’s identity and relationship to Richard Frazier, your known ancestor.
So that’s it! You may just want to start by reviewing the first four generations of your tree. If you have a very full tree, you may want to wait to review the rest of the relationships until you have decided which line to focus on with your descendancy research. At that point, it’s a good idea to review each relationship leading to the ancestor who will be your starting point.
Preview of Part 2: Analyze Your Pedigree
Next week I will share the next step in the process to find names for the temple: Analyze Your Pedigree. This step is about determining whether your tree is partial or full. If your tree is partial, and you can proceed with ancestral research, that’s what you’ll do next. If your tree is full, then you’ll proceed with descendancy research. If your tree is very full with many early Mormon ancestors, then you’ll trace each line of your tree back to the first LDS convert, then make a list of their parents and relatives who were not LDS. You will start with these non-LDS ancestors for your descendancy research. See you next week!