November 2012 Manager Message

November 15, 2012  - by 

Dear Family History Center Directors,

One of the great pleasures in my work is taking time to write this letter to you. I am so grateful for all the good work that all of you do. I was just recently in Europe visiting family history centers in England, Germany, and France. I was amazed at how wonderful the center directors were. Every place we visited, we felt welcomed and invited. I realized that this is what we feel everywhere. Thank you for being who you are. You are a blessing to the community and the stake and ward where you serve.

I have a couple of things that I would like to discuss in this newsletter. Hopefully they are helpful to you in your area.

First, I’d like to discuss some new features we are working on around the monthly report. Many of you have requested that it would be nice if we could inform you that your monthly report was received. In the coming months, we will be sending you an email reply in response to your submission of the monthly report. So, when you hit submit, you will receive an email. Kind of nice isn’t it? That way you are not guessing whether we received it or not.

Second, many of you have requested a report back so that you can see how you are doing and so that you can show something to your stake president or high councilor on what is going on in the center. We would like to provide you with this report with your last year’s data. This will give you a trend of how you are doing, what your focus has been, and where you are going. We think this will add great value to all that you are doing. Hooray!! Hopefully this will be helpful to you.

Now, I’d like to give you an assignment, if that is ok. We are approaching a new year with new goals and focus. As you think about what you want to accomplish in 2013, I’d like to have you think about a talk I read from Elder Clayton titled, “Family History Consultants Address.“

This talk (included after my message) was a devotional given to family history consultants, but I think it is just as applicable to family history center directors. One of your many roles is to be a consultant, plus you have many consultants that work in the center. I would like you to read this talk and ponder the pattern that Elder Clayton is teaching. After pondering this pattern, if you feel so inclined to do so, please respond to this post with your thoughts. How could you implement what he is suggesting?

In the next newsletter, I’ll spend some time discussing it, but I would much rather hear from you first. I often get a lot of insight and direction just reading what you say and visiting the family history centers in your areas. What Elder Clayton talks about is at the heart of all that we do. Below is the talk. Please read it and let me know what you think.

I wish you a happy holiday season. As we think of our Savior this season and his love for us, I hope you feel of his great love for you in all your endeavors and for all your sacrifices you make in your calling as a center director.



Family History Consultants Devotional Address

Bountiful, Jordan River and Salt Lake Temple Districts

Elder L. Whitney Clayton

November 8, 2007

Brothers and sisters, whether you are seasoned or new in your calling as a family history consultant, I want to thank you for your willing service. Thank you for coming this evening. Your presence here says much about you, about your faith in Jesus Christ, about your devotion to Him, and about your desire to please Him. I’m confident that the Lord is pleased with your desires and with your sincere efforts to add your strength to this work. Thank you so much for what you are doing in family history work and for what you will do as the exciting developments you are learning about go forward. At the outset, I wish to recall the words of Moroni to Joseph Smith given the night of September 21–22, 1823, and the following morning. The Prophet recorded: “While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor. . . .

“He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people” (Joseph Smith—History 1:30, 33).

You recall Moroni’s magnificent messages. He told Joseph first about the Book of Mormon, which would become tangible evidence of Joseph’s prophetic calling, about judgments coming upon the earth, and about promised power and blessings that would protect mankind in the coming day. Quoting Malachi, Moroni said: “For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. . . .

“Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. . . .

“And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (Joseph Smith—History, 1:37–39).

Those verses about the then-imminent restoration of the priesthood keys of sealing and the turning of hearts are the only ones recited in all four books of our canon: the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. The message and import of those sacred repeated verses draw all of us here tonight. You remember the Prophet’s description of events in the Kirtland Temple when the Savior appeared April 3, 1836, saying: “Let the hearts of your brethren rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house to my name.

“For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.

“Yea, I will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house.

“Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house.

“And the fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands; and this is the beginning of the blessing which shall be poured out upon the heads of my people” (D&C 110:6–10). Immediately following the Savior’s appearance, Moses, Elias, and then Elijah the prophet appeared. Joseph recorded that Elijah said: “Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—

“To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—

“Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors (D&C 110:14–16).

With those reminders as preface and foundation, we move to the reason for this meeting: your callings as family history consultants. We hope to say things tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday that will both inspire and instruct you. There is a reason for all of this focus on you. We garden variety members need your attention, help, and patient encouragement with our sacred responsibilities.

When my wife, Kathy, and I were dating, she joined our family after Christmas for a brief vacation. One night the two of us, along with my father, were busy assembling a mammoth puzzle. We began to give order to what seemed to me like 5,000 bits of disconnected cardboard. My father and Kathy made quick progress as they easily found and placed pieces on the table in just the right places. Kathy noticed that I wasn’t doing very well. She studied for a few moments, then took several pieces from here and there on the table and put them in front of me. She showed me where they went and said to my father as I put them in place, “I wanted him to have a success experience.” I thought my father would never stop laughing.

I’ve thought of that story in connection with my own assignment in family history, the remarkable present and future capacities of the new FamilySearch, and you family history consultants. Like many Church members with whom you work, I am just beginning to learn how to do my family history. Because family history has been something I postponed and approached without much confidence, something I just never quite found time to get around to, I needed someone to help me have a success experience. Knowing that I was going to speak to you tonight helped me realize that I needed to know something personally about the new FamilySearch and something about what you will do as family history consultants. My days of postponing family history until I was old had passed; it was too late anyway regarding the getting old part—I’m already there. I asked for help from the Family History Department, and help was sent to me in the person of Merrill White, who works in the department.

Merrill came to my office here at headquarters about six times. I am comfortable using a computer, and so Merrill didn’t have that hurdle to confront. He just sat down next to me at my computer, and we opened the new FamilySearch program. He asked me what I wanted to do. I responded that we might start by finding my own family—Kathy, me, and our kids—and so he showed me how to do that. It was easy. We then looked at the families of my parents and Kathy’s family and parents. Within an hour we had gone back several generations and even identified several names Kathy and I could take to the temple. He showed a few basic features, and we tried them out. Whenever I asked him about how something worked, he invariably replied, “Let’s try it and find out.” I would then click on that feature’s icon on the computer screen, and off we went, experimenting with that function until I asked some other question. Whenever I needed help, Merrill was right at my elbow.

Occasionally he would introduce something we hadn’t yet tried but that he felt I would be interested in seeing and experimenting with. Merrill returned to my office once or twice a week, each time for about an hour. Because I didn’t always remember everything we had done the last time, he often had to gently remind me about what we learned in our last meeting. He always remembered what names we had worked with the last time and where I had become “stuck.” He patiently helped me remember the earlier lessons, and then, using a style that I came to admire greatly, he let my questions and needs steer our meetings.

Every time I asked about something I didn’t understand, he would say, “Well, let’s try it and see what happens.” Merrill never once said that we should look at his family’s records. He didn’t have any apparent need to tell me about all the work that he had done or to demonstrate his formidable knowledge. He never drew any attention to the fact that I was an absolute novice and he was an expert. Instead, he focused on me and on my needs. He took me from exactly where I was as a beginner and helped me learn, consistent with my abilities, interests, and needs. He neither said nor did anything that made me feel embarrassed or inadequate. I already felt that way. His nonthreatening and approachable manner promoted my confidence and my desire to continue. I have thought that what Merrill did with me was just what missionaries are taught to do in Preach My Gospel. He understood that he wasn’t teaching lessons, he was teaching me. It would probably have been easier for him to simply start at page one of the lessons and take me through the material without thinking much about what I knew or didn’t know, and without worrying much about what I had understood or was remembering. But Merrill was teaching me, not the lessons, so he focused on me and on my needs and interests.

After a couple of his visits, I was so excited that Kathy and I sat down on the couch one night and I showed her what I had learned; together we found additional names we can take to the temple. Merrill spent enough time with me to help me overcome my lack of confidence and to leave me feeling that, with a little work, even I could do family history work. I’m sure that you already sense where this is heading. I hope and even pray that you will do for members of your wards and branches just what Merrill did for me. You can make a tremendous difference, and that difference will help “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6).

Your efforts will help members open doors for their ancestors and relatives on the other side of the veil, people who are as real as we are, people who are waiting and yearning for blessings which only we can help them to receive. Brothers and sisters, in a sense, because of your callings and expertise, you are the ones looking at the lid to the puzzle box. You see what the final picture looks like while I and others like me, as novices, may only see hundreds of pieces we don’t know how to put together. Learning how to do family history work can seem daunting. For a new family history consultant, the calling can seem overwhelming. What matters for all of us is that we proceed with faith from where we are. That’s what Merrill did for me–he helped me proceed with faith in a fundamental and saving gospel endeavor with which I was mostly unfamiliar. Now, that does not mean that you should do all the work for members. Rather, you help them begin and continue. Merrill’s example of helping me begin, of getting me off the ground and on my way, seems to me to be ideal. Helping members begin and continue may require some hand-holding.

Because I am one of those who very much needed having my hand held, I want to share a few additional ideas with you about your service. First, family history is a spiritual work that requires faith. The Lord admonished, “Remember that without faith you can do nothing” (D&C 8:10). Whether a member reaches out to you for help, accepts your offer to get involved, or needs your assistance, that person is acting by faith. You will help members find their way through the vast family history resources the Church provides: Internet sites, Internet-based training, databases, libraries, reference materials, classes, and more. Because these tools aid the work significantly and require some training, you may often find yourself in the role of an instructor who helps members learn new skills. All those skills are important; each has its place. I encourage you, however, to see yourself as someone who helps kindle the faith by which members do this work, not just as a person who teaches skills.

Family history is a work of faith. Sometimes, I fear that a family history consultant might see what a member does not know rather than what he or she does know. Especially if a member is not very skilled on a computer or knowledgeable about specific tools, it can be all too easy to focus on what’s missing rather than on what’s in place. Merrill could so easily have been just a little impatient with me, a little directive, and unconsciously condescending. We must guard against letting those impulses seep into our service.

One sad example may help to paint this picture for you. Some time ago in a stake conference a long way from here, we were holding a questions-and-answers session during a conference meeting. One member with an important family history responsibility asked a question about family history, only it wasn’t really a question. Instead, it was a statement criticizing others who didn’t do what this member apparently did—which was a lot of family history work—and asking me if I agreed that others should do more family history work, like she did. I attempted to answer by observing that there are lots of opportunities to do things in family history, and encouraging everyone to do a little something. I wanted to take the hard edge off that non-question “question.”

Unfortunately, the member who asked the “question” wasn’t satisfied by my response and asked another non-question question, again assuming superiority because others were not doing what she was doing. A spirit of criticism from an expert will kill the enthusiasm of beginners like me. Be careful to encourage faith, to encourage a desire to begin and to continue, to encourage confidence, and to help members have success experiences. When members feel that their faith in the Lord and in themselves is growing as a consequence of what you help them to do, you will have done your job and done it well.

The Prophet Joseph Smith was told in revelation, “And there are none that doeth good except those who are ready to receive the fulness of my gospel” (D&C 35:12).

This concept of being “ready to receive” is an interesting one for us to consider. You are called to help members who are in varying states of readiness to receive, or to participate in, family history. Of course, you will want to be careful not to open the fire hydrant when a member asks for a sip. But in a larger sense, you will want to ask the Lord to help you sense the readiness of each member to receive what you have to offer.

Let me share an example that was shared with me. A consultant with a rich background in family history approached a woman in her ward about family history. The woman, a lifelong Church member, accepted the offer of help, much to the consultant’s delight. The consultant—laptop, handbook, and forms in hand—met the woman in her home for their first visit. The consultant reviewed the paperwork she brought, booted up her computer, and shared some of her own family history on and in PAF. The member sat silently through all this. The consultant, who had fully expected this sister to relish seeing all the resources available to her, finally stopped when she noticed the sister was studying a blank pedigree chart with a look of puzzlement. At this pause in the presentation, the member waved the sheet and asked, “What is this and what does it have to do with my family history?” I was only a few steps ahead of that sister, and Merrill was wise enough to deal with me at my own level. I am grateful that he didn’t begin by showing me all that he had done on his own lines, thereby emphasizing my comparative inadequacy.

Again, remember that you will be the person holding the puzzle box lid. You may need to remind the member what the big picture is: when the requisite puzzle pieces are in place, the member will take a family name to the temple and perform ordinance work for that family member. The sealing of families is what we wish all members to experience. I hope you won’t become discouraged or frustrated when members move slowly. Sometimes it requires patience when you’re ready to give and they aren’t ready to get. The Lord will be equally gratefully for the love and encouragement you give to those who aren’t quite ready as He is for your help to those who are. Remember that success begets success. Just as Kathy made sure I had a success experience with that Christmas puzzle, so you are the key to ensuring members’ success with family history.

When a member begins family history work, he or she hopes to find ancestors’ names and perform ordinances in their behalf in the House of the Lord. On the way to that spiritual success, members can be motivated by many small points of progress, but they may not immediately recognize those points. Help members who are unfamiliar with family history see how their new skills and steady efforts lead directly to preparing names for temple ordinances. The principle that “out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33) is proven repeatedly in family history work. Help their small success experiences become great victories, victories that culminate in the temple.

Please focus on the member’s family rather than your own. This is an important aspect of Merrill White’s example in helping me learn about the new FamilySearch. He focused on my family and Kathy’s family exclusively. Stories of your search for family names, particularly when you worked for years without results on a particular line or a specific individual, may not motivate someone else. The members with whom you work will be motivated by your encouraging help as they use FamilySearch for the first time to learn about their own families. Remember also that a member can come to an abrupt halt in family history work. Anyone using a computer is one click away from an error message or a confusing screen. A member can be stopped by a box on a form that doesn’t make sense or by an unreadable name on a microfilm. These dilemmas may be easy for you to resolve, but for a novice they might seem insurmountable. Please be vigilant in helping members continue with the family history they’ve begun. Help them have success experiences.

Your welcoming attention to new members blesses them immensely. New members who are baptized for their kindred dead are reminded of their own recent baptisms and the blessings of eternal families. Those baptisms are a key to helping new members’ testimonies sink deeply into their hearts and to retaining these new members through the years. As in countless other matters, the scriptures of the Restoration teach us why we are so serious about family history. In recording his remarkable vision regarding the spirit world and the redemption of the dead, President Joseph F. Smith wrote: “And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.

“Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.

“These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,

“And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

“And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross. . . .

“The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God” (D&C 138:31–35, 58).

I am grateful to participate with you in the tremendous latter-day effort to redeem the dead. I testify of the redemptive power of these efforts in our own lives. I am the personal beneficiary of the very services you are called to offer in your wards and branches. I testify of the living reality of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose work this is and whose servants we all are. He lives, and because He does, we will as well, and so will everyone else who has ever lived or will ever live. May the Lord bless us all as we help members to extend the blessings available in the holy temples to the ranks of the dead, I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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  1. Thank-you for this letter and for letting me know you care. This talk by Elder Clayton has many valuable suggestions. I am one who had done Family History for many years as are many of our consultants. The advice to remember to give people what they want, not what you think they need is good. I know that most people are not really interested in your family, but all are interested in their own. I will share this with my consultants.

  2. Family History work is Heavenly Father’s work and the blessing of our Savior. Our efforts will bless the Eternities of heaven. As we teach our fellow members with faith, love and understanding they will develop a true desire to be of service to their ancestors and family members.

  3. Dear Ryan,
    You asked us to respond to the question “How could you implement what Br. Clayton is suggesting in your stake?” I am writing in the hopes that my reply is reflective of the views of other Family History Center Directors. We are trying hard to follow the guidelines given to us in the church handbook. If I understand them correctly, as directors of the FHC, we report to our high councilman who is over Family History in the stake. At our monthly staff meetings, we discuss areas of concern to our staff, training them in using the portals, how to welcome individuals to our center, using the new Family Tree, etc. However, we are really not responsible to teach them how to be good family history consultants, as that is their ward calling. If I understand the church guidelines, that training should be done by their high priest group leader in the ward in which they were called. Whereas Elder Clayton’s remarks are fantastic, and well worth following, how do you suggest I share this with our FHC staff – some of whom are nonmembers? I perceive our calling as running the family history center including offering classes and workshops to ward members and community; and, much as we want to be involved in getting family history consultants more involved with members in their wards, that is not really our responsibility – or have I misunderstood my duties? It would seem reasonable to me that this information on how the consultants should be doing their job should be put in the hands of every high priest group leader and high councilman over family history. Or, do we step over their toes and organize a meeting for all consultants in the stake? I hope you can understand what I am trying to communicate. I want with all my heart to turn the hearts of the members of my stake and community to their ancestors! We are striving to do all in our power to bring this to pass.
    Thanks for listening, Sherrie Wieland Roseburg OR FHC

    1. How to implement – share this excellent talk with my FH Consultants, in the vain hope of using it as another tactic to try to rein in a couple of our experts. Tact and diplomacy haven’t been working. I’ve been trying to assign less-qualified Consultants to help beginners, but few of them have enough confidence. I’m still trying to convince them that they are ideal precisely because they remember how it can seem overwhelming at times, and reassure the person.

      More important is a reply to Sherrie….so true about the Handbook. In the current edition, the role of FHC Director isn’t even included. There’s only a brief mention of us asking for staff members.

      You are a better person than I, when it comes to following the Handbook. I ask for the people I want, and take care of almost everything else. That includes scheduling, training, organizing classes, promoting the FH Centre, promoting Indexing training and projects, doing one-on-one, assigning others to do it, ordering, finances, etc.

      Like most Priesthood members, the High Priest Group Leaders usually know nothing about Family History and want less to do with it. Their wife or mother has done their family line. They don’t type. They know nothing about computers. They don’t have time. And they’re not ready to learn. They have no concept of what we do, have more important things to worry about, and have little to offer that is helpful. Dare I say that their defined role has actually been a hindrance at times?

      Our Bishop likes to have me run any new proposed plans by him directly so he can ask questions and clarify our direction – without losing anything in the translation through an intermediary. That suits me fine because it’s much more effective communication.

      He trusts me with my calling (or our interpretation of it!) and with minimal guidance lets me run with the ideas and strengths of our Consultants as we try to address the ever-changing needs of our Members and patrons, and follow Church direction for Family History and Indexing priorities, etc.

      In another stake, with a different Bishop – we did it the same way. Though back then, I believe that’s pretty much how the Handbook laid it out.

      I have full confidence that with all this terrific two-way communication these newsletters and blogs have brought, that section of the Handbook will be updated to be much more useful to FH Directors.

    2. Sherrie,
      Thank you for your response. Your questions reflect the many hours you have spent trying to help individuals feel the blessings of family history. I hope that you continue to do that. Let me try to answer your questions. My intent with sharing this talk was to focus on the pattern that was being taught. This pattern is just as applicable to directors as it is to consultants. In fact, if consultants have not already seen this talk, they will soon.
      Now to your questions: 1. Should I share this with the nonmember staff? I think that this is up to you. I think that you could teach the principles of the talk without actually having them read the talk. The pattern in the talk is to teach the patron not teach lessons, to help the patron feel successful in a timely manner, and help the patron feel the spirit of this work. I believe those are patterns that can be taught to member of nonmember. What aspects of the talk concern you most about sharing this with the nonmember staff? 2. Your responsibility is to focus on the center experience, however I believe that some of your staff are also consultants in their wards. The concepts and patterns taught in a center can be the same that a consultant uses in there wards. If you can work with the high councilor and high priest group leaders in the stake it will only enhance your experience in the center and help the patrons feel that this is “one work”. I am not sure this is what you are asking. Please let me know.

  4. I had been a consultant and/or FHC staff member in many Wards, but had not done much more than set foot in the FHC here when called as Director. Staffing is a difficulty, additional consultants in the Ward are non-existant. I sometimes feel
    i am swimming in quicksand–and I am sure that my Bishop feels much the same towards the FHC because the Handbook does not give clear guidelines.

    I have tried to rely on the Spirit, and this talk makes me feel a little successful, in that we are getting together an adult Temple baptism trip. I recall how much I was affected as a new member, and think as Elder Clayton pointed out, that such an experience is invaluable.

    I am especially grateful for the example of teaching how to do Family History work–it seems that even if one doesn’t KNOW a whole lot, that is OK –if the consultant is guiding rather than actually teaching, that is easier to deal with. Perhaps one need not know everything in order to help others. A much less scary proposition than we generally think of by ourselves!

  5. I really appreciate that you shared this talk of Elder Clayton’s. It has given me much to think of. I would like to see it used along with the recent training video from the Open House 2012, called ‘Creating the Center Experience’ in one of our upcoming Center staff training meeting. I think that if we discuss this approach as a group we can provide a more effective experience for our patrons. As for me personally, I am a Center director with little previous experience in family history work. This talk helped me to see that I can have the ward consultants come into my home and teach me so that I can be more effective as I help others. I will become a ‘doer of the word’. I remind myself often that to be a more effective teacher I need to be ” a guide on the side not a sage on the stage”.

  6. I have been waiting patiently in hopes there would be direction given in response to the issues raised here???
    May I add one more comment. It would be fantastic if there was an easier way to access this website without having to find an old newsletter for the link to get here. I tried going through BLOG, but don’t see anything labelled Family History Center Directors? I tried doing a search in the BLOG but it brought up the archives of old messages…

  7. Dear Brethren:

    I am not sure whether I should address this message to you or not, but since you are the Familysearch manager/s, may I say a crucial comment on the FamilySearch Family Tree.

    I understand Family Tree is on pilot test but it is now being used to submit names for temple ordinances to be performed. This basically a good idea, even a good decision.

    My wife, who is a Church-service missionary like myself, and a number of local saints are disappointed when they and we found that their ancestral couples marked “completed” for temple ordinances under the new.familysearch are marked “ordinances can be requested” under the Family Tree, referring to temple ordinances icons above the names. I checked the person identifiers for our own ancestors affected and found that the identifiers used for the same names, say, “Mr. Atienza” and “Mrs. Atienza,” appearing in the same lineal sequence (e.g., Candida Atienza), are not the same under new.familysearch and under Family Tree. If I am not discreet or careful, i would be submitting those couple for temple ordinances when in fact the said ordinances are already completed.

    For your reference, the PID for Mr. Atienza under new.familysearch (NFS) is 97GN-HYG and under Family Tree it is M4HM-9XQ, while for Mrs. Atienza, her PID is 97GN-HBQ under NFS and M4HM-9XZ under FT. I can understand different PID’s for the same names may refer to two different persons, but two different individuals on the same sequential ancestral slot in the pedigree trees in NFS and the FT are simply not acceptable and would lead to possible duplication of temple ordinances.

    If you wish, you may refer this concern to your technical staff, but for me and others of similar experience, we will use the Family Tree alright but at this stage, we will use the new.familysearch when submitting names for temple ordinances.

    Given this opportunity while taking more of you precious time, I think you ought to be informed of a long complained-of problem of local members. For example, Sisters Laniog, Bayani, and yes, Sister Falculan herself (I not yet included) are all witnesses on the screen that a number of completed ordinances performed for their kindred dead in Manila Temple were not (they had them re-submitted to the temple lately for lack of other recourse), repeat, not entered in neither the new.familysearch nor Family Tree. This is our testimony. Very disappointing, indeed! And to add one concern above another, the same lapses not corrected in the will be or are now being uploaded or transferred to the data base of Family Tree! No wonder we have lots of ordinance duplications and the prophet had thought it was the submitters’ lapses! If you follow this message in its entirety, you can imagine the astronomical duplications of temple ordinances when the reported shortfalls of Family Tree by itself as pinpointed above will combine with the original shortfalls of new.familysearch. Clearly this calls for auditing of past uploadings from temple records and from the new.familysearch itself into Family Tree.

    I sincerely appreciate the brethrens’ efforts to facilitate family history research and name submissions to the temple and still express my confidence in the inherent strengths of new.familysearch and Family Tree. Thank you and God bless us all.

    1. The two Mr. Atienza and Mrs Atienza that you pointed out are actually two different people. The PIDs between Family Tree and are always identical. These are probably very good candidates to merge together.

      There are several hundred thousand ordinances that are not currently in or Family Tree. We continue to work to get them into the system. They should be marked completed until the ordinances are imported. If these ancestors done in Manila were really marked ready when they were done, we would ask that you call support and report this.

      Certainly inaccurate information in will transfer to Family Tree as they start from the same database. However, in Family Tree users have the ability to really correct this information which they did not have in

      Family Tree does do possible duplicates much like and asks that people do merges before requesting the ordinances. There has been an issue where Family Tree did not show all the lower star matches as, but this is being corrected to show the same.

      We appreciate your continued feedback to help us make Family Tree a better, more useful tool to help you find, document and make sure ordinances are done for your ancestors.

  8. I’d like to respond to how I plan to implement the aims and ideals of the talk into our family history program. We are a small branch that happens to be blessed with a family history center. Our branch area is about 250 square miles. We’re a long way from the stake! Our situation feels unique, and it has many challenges. Most of us live 45+ minutes one way from church, so much of the time spent at the FHC is on Sundays.

    What I will do first is share this talk with my 2 consultants. Second, we already discussed some goals for 2013, so we will add this to our goal list–namely to see ourselves as coaches who gently guide and help each unique individual meet his/her own goals. (Post FHC goals in center.) Third, together, we can brainstorm a list of questions to help our patrons along the way. Fourth, we can make sure to find out individual needs and skills at the first visit. Then fifth, have patrons set goals with us and write them down based on where they are and what they’d like to do to get names ready for the temple. We can help Patrons refer to their goals along the way so they don’t feel overwhelmed. They may be skill goals, too, for using a computer. Just getting used to a mouse or seeing the screen for some people is difficult.

    I think the point I liked best was helping people to not feel overwhelmed. I know I sure was when I was given this calling. I’m in my 30s with 3 small children, homeschooling, and the last time I had done family history work was when I first joined the church 12 years ago, so it was very overwhelming to suddenly be responsible for this great work. I am no genealogist, and through all the online training and prayer, I realized I don’t have to be. Just help people work toward providing temple ordinances for their families and not run and hide when I feel overwhelmed. I can always say I will find out the answer to a question and let them know later

    This talk was great, and this newsletter is fantastic. It helps me feel connected and informed, and I love getting it. I also love that the manuals will be improved in the future. Maybe start with an introduction that says, “Welcome to your calling. Take a deep breath and don’t run!” Although that is true for most callings! 🙂 Thank you!

  9. Loved Bro. Clayton’s remarks.

    With the support of our High Council supervisor, we dared to take responsibility for training Family History Consultants. We have training for our FHC consultants, and we invite the ward consultants to come. They seem eager to develop skills, and to get ideas about how they can succeed in their calling.

    It would be ideal for the High Priest Group Leaders to do the training, but truthfully, generally they don’t have the skills to help. We hope to begin to invite High Priest Group Leaders to our training sessons and workshops.

    It seems to us that the ward Family History Consultants are eager to develop skills, and to succeed in their callings. The video “To Turn the Hearts” is wonderful.

  10. The only way to know if we are succeeding with what we are doing in our centers is to measure our progress. If I could run reports quarterly to determine the number of names submitted by wards that my centers serves, then I could measure whether any particular effort on our part increased that number. I can tell you that our center is growing year-over-year in terms of the number of patrons that we serve. I have no idea whether we are increasing the number of names submitted for ordinance work.

  11. How true is the experience of Bro. Clayton. Just as his wife said, I want you to have a successful experience. I truly think that’s what it’s all about.
    One of the patrons from a local ward brought a friend to our center and wanted me to help him. He is a high priest group leader from a ward in northern Salt Lake. He walked in the door with high hopes and only the name of his father and the knowledge he had been in World War II. Wow, I wanted to run out the door thinking how could I possibly help that much with such little information. However, thank heavens for our great Indexing helpers, I was able to find the marriage of his parents in a far-off state when they had eloped. That opened up his family history and he was able to leave with at least two generations of family submitted for temple work. He now returns often from his far-away home to come to our center when we had such success. How blessed I am to be able to experience the joy he feels of the Spirit of Elijah.