In the Fall of 2018 FamilySearch introduced a feature for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints called Ordinances Ready. Ordinances Ready is designed to help church members complete temple work that has already been shared with the temple system by other members around the world. Ordinances Ready works by searching up your tree for 15 generations, then searching back down the tree. Simply stated, Ordinances Ready performs automated descendancy research, finding ordinances in need of completion for people who are related to you. It is an amazing program that facilitates extended family members helping one another complete temple ordinances for people that have already been found and added to the FamilySearch Family Tree. This feature is miraculous and a tremendous aid to completing temple ordinances that have been reserved for years.
Even more exciting are upcoming additions to the feature announced by Ron Tanner of FamilySearch at RootsTech 2019, including family, ward, and stake sharing through Ordinances Ready.
Ordinances Ready Helps Find New Research Opportunities
As a researcher and a temple and family history consultant, Ordinances Ready is exciting to me in an additional way. I have been performing and teaching descendancy research for years. It is a great way to find family members that are missing from my tree. However, in my case as well as in the case of many people I help, much family history work has already been completed and finding those family members can take a long time. There are tools like Puzzilla that help, but what I like about Ordinances Ready is that in about 30 seconds, I can have the names of up to 5 family members whose temple ordinances have been reserved and then shared with the temple system. In many cases, these individuals have been found on a census or a birth record, which connects them to their parents, but they don’t yet have spouses or children in the tree. Ordinances Ready provides a quick way to find new ancestors in need of not only ordinances, but also additional research to find missing family members. I want to celebrate whenever I think about how easy Ordinances Ready makes it for me and those I mentor to complete additional families in our trees.
Helping Youth Find Names to Take to the Temple
To illustrate, I was recently asked to help a group of 12-year old boys find family names to take to the temple. I wanted to show them how to use Ordinances Ready and encourage them to find out how they were related, then look at each ancestor’s details page to learn more about them. In preparation for the activity, I ran Ordinances Ready for myself. One of the women the app found that was in need of baptism was Helen R. Hitchmough.
Writing a Research Objective for Helen
I learned by tapping the “View Relationship” option in the app that Helen is my 4th cousin, 4 times removed. By tapping “View Person” I learned that she was born in 1862 in Kirkdale, Lancashire, England and is the daughter of Richard Cartwright Hitchmough and Susannah Foster Butler. By selecting “Sources” I could view the 1871 census record, and I learned that at age 9 Helen was a scholar. I also saw that her father wasn’t in the household, which could be a clue that he died prior to 1871. Helen doesn’t have a death date, spouse, or children listed. Right away I had several questions that I could turn into a research objective for Helen. I would most likely choose something like this:
The objective of this research project is to discover the spouse and children of Helen R. Hitchmough, born in 1862 in Kirkdale, Lancashire England. Helen is the daughter of Richard Cartwright Hitchmough and Susannah Foster Butler.
With this research objective in mind to guide me, I am ready to begin a research project. Using Diana and Nicole’s Research Like a Pro method, as well as the information they shared in their recent podcast episode, “RLP 41: FamilySearch FamilyTree and the GPS,” I will be able to complete well-documented, reasonably exhaustive research on Helen. The fact that I was able to find and create a research objective in a matter of minutes with the help of Ordinances Ready is very exciting!
We Have Not Been Invited to Become Family History Police for Others
A word of caution: as researchers, we are thorough, and we want to make sure the genealogical proof standard and reasonably exhaustive research are employed in our research. However, we have not been invited to become the family history police for others. Whenever Ordinances Ready has been taught, most notably in a video by Elder Bradley D. Foster, Executive Director of the Family History Department for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and then by Sister Susan Bednar, wife of apostle David A. Bednar, at Family Discovery Day at Roots Tech, there has been no requirement to do any additional research or checking on the names and ordinances that have been found.
Ordinances Ready checks for obvious problems like data issues and duplicates, and we should let that be enough for people who are using the app because they want to take family names to the temple. In a recent interview with Mike Sandberg of FamilySearch, he advised, “We don’t want to force people into something they aren’t interested in. Let them enjoy, and let them warm up to it, and if they are feeling called to it, they will get there. We want to let everyone do what they do best. We want to expose people to as many options as possible so they can find their thing.” Sandberg’s advice reinforces the idea that there is a place for everyone in this work. We don’t want to scare people away from using Ordinances Ready by piling a list of requirements that must be met in order to do the work. I simply encourage patrons to view their relationship with the individuals Ordinances Ready finds, and perhaps learn a little about each one by viewing the ancestor’s details page.
The beautiful and amazing thing is, once people start using Ordinances Ready, they begin to feel the spirit of Elijah, and then they start noticing things when they run the app. I have had people call and ask things like, “The woman I just found with Ordinances Ready doesn’t have any parents in the tree. How do I find her parents?” and “Can you come help me verify a few of the cards I have printed with Ordinances Ready? I have questions about some of them.”
Ordinances Ready is a wonderful resource for completing temple work, finding new people to research, and best of all, for turning the hearts of the children to the fathers and allowing many people to experience the joy and light that come into their lives as they participate in temple and family history work. If you haven’t used it yet, try it out! I am confident you will find it to be a valuable addition to your work.
Learn more about Ordinances Ready here.
See how Ordinances Ready is blessing the lives of church members here.
View Alice’s activity outline for teaching youth how to use Ordinances Ready here.
Read more from Alice Childs at her temple and family history blog, Souls to Bless.
I love Ordinances Ready for sparing me from time-consuming hunts for temple names. However, I protest the label of “police” for attempts to educate. The first time I used the app, I felt I should check the result in the tree. Not only was it a duplicate with a guessed birthdate too many years distant for the app to catch, but there was another child added to the parents who actually belonged to a different family.
Hastening the work still requires “wisdom and order” as I’ve read somewhere. Those who feast at the table should also help clean up the kitchen.
Thank you so much for your response. I had similar concerns when Ordinances Ready first became available. As I have researched and asked a lot of questions, I have begun to think of Ordinances Ready in a different way.
When people go to the temple without a family name, they perform ordinance work for a random person from the temple file. Ordinances Ready matches those temple file names with people who are related. This is amazing because it can allow everyone the opportunity to complete ordinance work for their own ancestors every time they go to the temple.
I too am a firm believer in education, but I believe we should be careful not to take away from the experience of performing ordinance work for an ancestor that Ordinances Ready provides for people without any research experience. Now, those who want to take family names to the temple but are hesitant to get involved in research for a variety of reasons can experience the added joy that comes from performing ordinances for family members. Meanwhile, let’s continue educating those who have time and interest to become the best researchers possible so that the names that get added to the temple system are well researched and ready to be shared.