Perhaps more intimidating than signing in to FamilySearch and finding that there isn’t much information about your family is signing in and finding that there is lots of information there. If this has happened to you, you might have wondered what you could possibly add. Perhaps you’d like to be able to make a meaningful contribution, but you don’t have tons of time and maybe you don’t have tons of experience either. Besides, it might appear at first that everything is already done.
If this sounds like you, then becoming familiar with FamilySearch’s green temple icons might be just what you need. This feature of FamilySearch.org helps you quickly and easily identify ancestors who are missing temple ordinances so you can focus your time where it matters most.
Finding Green Temple Icons on Your Family Tree
So what are green temple icons, and what do they mean? Green temple icons are small green boxes with temple silhouettes in them that are located beside a family name of someone who appears to be missing temple ordinances. (There is a chance that duplicates of that person exist and the temple work has actually been done. See “Special Circumstances” below for more information.)
How do you find and use these icons? It’s simple! Just follow these steps:
- Log in to your FamilySearch account, and click Family Tree at the top of the screen. Under the Show tab on the right, be sure to check Request Ordinances.
- Look for boxes with green temple icons, such as those shown above. You might need to expand your family tree back farther to find some.
- Click the icon to bring up a box with the title “Request Ordinances.” Here, you can instantly tell which ordinances are ready to be done because they will show up in green. In the example below, Samuel Knapp Wilt and Jane Worden both have all their individual ordinances completed. However, their sealing to each other isn’t done.
- Verify that the information is as complete and accurate as possible. In many cases, FamilySearch provides shortcuts that make checking the information a breeze. You can click the individual’s name and then click Person to see what sources might already be attached. Or you can also click the blue Record Hints icon to see suggestions of places you can look—often with just one click. It’s also always a good idea to contact relatives and ask them about these people. You might be surprised at what information is floating around among family members just waiting to be gathered in.
- When you’re ready to do the temple work for a person, click the blue Request button. You can choose to leave all ordinances selected, or you can click the boxes to the left of the individual’s names to select ordinances for specific people. If you uncheck one of these boxes, the person’s name will be removed from your submission.
- After you click “Request,” the Church’s policy on temple work will appear, reminding you that you can submit names to the temple for ancestors, descendants, descendants of your ancestors as well as collateral lines (the families of aunts, uncles, cousins, and so on). Click that you agree, and those names will be added to your temple ordinance list. For more help on taking names to the temple, see FamilySearch’s “Quick Start to the Temple” guide.
Finding Green Temple Icons with Descendency Research
Maybe you pulled up your family tree and searched back several generations and still didn’t find any green temple icons. Now what? Does this mean there is no temple work to do on your family? Not at all! Another way to find green temple icons—and to find family members who are missing temple ordinances—is through descendency research.
Descendency research is just another way to look at your family tree. Instead of starting with one person and moving backward, with descendency research you start with an ancestor and trace his or her descendants toward the present. Here’s how you do it:
- Choose an ancestor born in the early to mid 1800s. This time period will give you space to move forward before you run into living people.
- Click the descendency view icon in the top left corner.
- On the descendency screen, you can click the arrows next to a person’s name to expand the chart and see more descendants.
- Look for green temple icons. When you find them, follow the steps 3–6 above to add ordinances to your temple ordinance list.
For more information on descendency research, try:
- “How to Find Descendants in the United States” on the FamilySearch wiki
- “Easy Steps to Descendancy Research”
As you prepare names for the temple, be on the lookout for these special circumstances:
- Family members born in the last 110 years. Keep in mind that a person must be deceased for at least one year before his or her name can be taken to the temple. Also, if you are not a spouse, child, parent, or sibling of a deceased person who was born in the last 110 years, you must obtain permission from the closest living relative.
- Resolving Duplicates. When you click the Request tab, you may see this message: “Possible duplicates exist. You may reserve these ordinances; however, they may have already been completed.” If you see this message, be sure to dig a little deeper before you add these ordinances to your ordinance list to ensure that you don’t repeat temple work. Duplicates occur when a person is included in FamilySearch’s tree more than one time, or in other words, when there is more than one record for the same person. In the case of temple work, this duplication could mean that the record you are looking at might not show any temple work for that person but another record for the same person might include information about completed temple work.
For more information about duplicates and how to handle them, try these two resources:
- “Duplicates in FamilySearch’s Family Tree: Why They’re There, How to Find Them, and How to Resolve Them,” from Kathryn Grant’s presentation at the 2014 BYU Family History Conference
- “Finding Duplicates in Family Tree,” avideo presentation by Kent Jaffa
So if you already have a long and leafy family tree, before you decide that taking a family name to the temple is hopeless, try looking for some green temple icons. You might find that making a meaningful contribution to your family history is easier than you thought.
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