Last month, my 11 year old nephew asked me for help with family history. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited to help! He wanted to find a name for his first temple trip in the fall.
I used one of the ideas that Diana wrote about – teaching youth to research by “Adopting a Family” and following several checklists. The first two checklists help youth find a family to “adopt” and research. I used her Pandora’s Hope Chest checklist (page 2, here) to help my nephew find relatives in his family tree who needed temple work that he could research. (See my modified printable checklist here: Adopt a family – find a name with hope chest).
For more about why Mormons do family history work and proxy baptisms, see “Why Family History is Important” at Mormon.org.
After helping my nephew find and reserve a name in just one hour, I came up with a few important steps to help any beginner find a name for their first temple trip. Here they are:
1. Choose an Ancestor
Some people may be able to find direct ancestors who have not had temple ordinances performed yet. They can skip to step 3. Others may have full trees and won’t see any green temple icons (which indicate that temple ordinances need to be performed).
For those with full trees, it’s best to choose an ancestor born before 1800 and search their descendants for a cousin needing temple ordinances. These relatives are still important to your family. If they would be at the family reunion of your direct ancestor, then you can do their temple work. Descendancy research is a great route for beginning genealogists, since sources and records are easier to find in more recent centuries.
Once you choose an ancestor, write their name down so you remember how you are related to the cousins you find.
2. Search Their Descendants With the Help of ‘Hope Chest’
It can take time to search through all the descendants of your chosen ancestor in FamilySearch looking for green temple icons. Pandora’s Hope Chest is a chrome extension that can help with this process! It is also a certified FamilySearch app. Install the Hope Chest chrome extension and then go to the landscape view in the FamilySearch Family Tree. Select the ancestor you chose in step one, and view their tree. Click the hope chest extension icon at the top right of your browser window and click “Search Descendants.” (These steps are outlined in the PDF checklist you can download for the youth to check off themselves – PDF checklist here).
Hope Chest then scans all the descendants of this ancestor and makes a list of those who need temple ordinances. When it’s complete, click the Hope Chest icon again to view the list.
3. Select Relative Who Needs Ordinance Work
Choose a person who has a green temple icon and who also needs the kind of ordinance work you’re going to do. 11-year-olds preparing for their first temple trip will be looking for those who need baptisms. Once you’ve chosen one of your ancestors, cousins, or other relatives, you need to verify that they haven’t already had their ordinance work done in the next step.
4. Check for Duplicates
Some people have been added to the FamilySearch Family Tree more than once. It’s very important to merge any duplicates before reserving a person’s temple work. You can do this at the bottom right of the person page by clicking “possible duplicates.” When merging, just remember that everything on the right will be deleted when you’re done, so add all relevant facts to the left before you’re done. Make sure that the two people are actually the same by verifying not only dates and places, but relationships.
After you’ve merged any duplicates and made sure the person still needs temple ordinances, you can move on to the next step and add proof of the person’s life and vital info.
5. Add a Source
Before doing the temple work for a person, it’s a good idea to verify their identity. Genealogists do this with records like birth certificates, censuses, and death records. In my opinion, you should make sure your relatives have at least one source attached in FamilySearch before doing any temple work for them. If they have no sources attached, you can find one and attach it!
You can do so by checking the record hints section at the top right of their person page. If there’s nothing there, click one of the “search records” links to FamilySearch, Ancestry, MyHeritage, etc. Analyze the information on the source and decide if it’s a match to your relative. If so, attach the source to the FamilySearch Family Tree.
6. Reserve the Temple Work
Once you have added a source to verify your relative’s information, you’re all set to reserve their temple work. When you’re ready to go to the temple, you can view your list of reserved temple work and print the cards.
As I sat next to my nephew and guided him through this process, I tried to convey the importance of properly analyzing evidence in family history. He totally got it and did a great job typing his reason statements as he attached historical records as sources to his cousins in FamilySearch. Allowing Hope Chest to do the hard work of finding people without ordinances freed up more time for learning about records, learning about the relative, and creating a connection with them before taking their name to the temple.
To download the checklist, click the link below:
Word Document: Adopt a family – find a name with hope chest