Inactive Ordinance Reservations Now Being Released

November 15, 2017  - by 

The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has begun unreserving user temple reservations that have been inactive for more than two years. If you have reservations that you haven’t been able to complete, now is a good time to share them with family members via email, or with the temple.

Unreserving inactive temple reservations has become a priority due to the large number of ordinances that currently fit that two-year window, and is in line with instruction from the First Presidency to ensure that temple work for ancestors is completed in a timely manner. The process of unreserving ordinances that have extended beyond two years is being repeated periodically on an ongoing basis.

What you can do
If you have a large reserved list, there are different things you can do to help ensure that the work for these ancestors is completed in a timely manner. Here are some ideas to help you get started.

Review your temple list: Your temple reservation list is located under the temple tab, which appears in the top navigation once you log in. You can also follow this link. We’ve added the ability to sort the ordinances by reservation date. Check to see which ordinances you will be able to do yourself, and which might be good candidates for sharing.

Share with the temple: If you don’t have family members that are able to perform temple ordinances, you can also share the ordinances with the temple. This is a great way to ensure that ordinances are performed expeditiously, as there are members all over the world who regularly attend the temple and need proxy names.


Un-reserve/re-reserve: If an ordinance has been on your list for two years, and, for personal or research reasons, it needs to stay there, you can unreserve the ordinance and then re-reserve it to restart the clock.

Do nothing: A final option is to just do nothing. The ordinances on your list that exceed the two years will automatically be unreserved and other family members will be able to snap them up.

Please keep in mind that:

  • Reservations shared with the temple will not be unreserved.
  • Reservations for an individual will only be unreserved if the most recent ordinance was completed more than two years ago. (So, reservations with progress more recent than two years ago will not be unreserved.)
  • Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions can be found here.

If you don’t have a reservation list that fits this criteria, be on the lookout for ancestors who might be coming off of one of your relatives’ lists, and complete that temple work.

We’re excited about this new development and know that it will lead to many more of Heavenly Father’s children receiving saving temple ordinances.

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  1. re: #letmedomyownfamilywork!

    I am going to try and say this as nicely and as gently as I can, because I am a HUGE advocate for direct line descendants doing temple work for direct line ancestors (i.e., a great grandchild doing the temple work for a great grandparent) vs someone like me, who might be a cousin to “your” great grandparent.

    That said, I have received MANY requests to unreserve work by members who have the attitude of #letmedomyownfamilywork! I am of course, happy to share the ordinances with relatives closer than I am but I have to tell you, it is a bit offensive to receive those emails where the #letmedomyownfamilywork! attitude is so blatant.

    In most of these cases, these ancestors have been deceased for 20-50 years before “I” happened to find them and reserve them. I am offended when a member acts as though I have purposely “stolen” your ancestors’ ordinances.

    My suggestion to you would be when you contact the person who has reserved “your” ordinance work, recognize that in all likelihood, you are emailing a person who is also related to them. Stating something along the lines of “Hi ! How wonderful to meet another cousin! I see you have reserved the temple work for my greatgrandparents, and I was wondering if you would be willing to share the ordinance to me?” will almost ALWAYS result in them sharing it with you.


    “Hey you reserved my great grandparents, #letmedomyownfamilywork!” I might share it to you….but you might miss out on receiving the other things I would otherwise be willing to share, like their stories, photos, other lines on your family tree.

    Just my .02

    1. But to answer your specific question Patricia…click on the person’s name who has reserved the work. A pop up message icon will appear where you can message the person directly.

    2. Well said. . .those of us who do “cousin work” do not purposely “steal” family members. We are doing what the church leaders ask us to do. It all needs to be done. Right!

  2. Keep in mind, that your claim is limited to your close relatives (your immediate spouse, children, siblings, and parents). With the exception of your parents, it is likely that the others all fall into the 110-year rule and if they are also not a close relative to the deceased persons, then you can open a case and have the matter escalated to Data administration. You can do the same for your parents, if you desire.

    That said, everyone else is “fair game” and if they are related in any manner, can reserve the names for themselves to do.

    By going to the deceased person’s ordinance page, you can click on the name of the person who reserved the name (regardless of whether they have shared the name with the temple of not) and send them an email (if they have an email address displayed) or leave a message in FamilySearch giving your reasons for wanting to do the work yourself.

    They may chose to turn over the persons to you via the share with friends feature) or not bother responding to your request. That is their decision.

  3. There are patrons who leave their e-mail address. .. however, if the ordinance is in progress it cannot be released. What was the birthdate. . .if it’s 1906 and later, you have no claim on it. It can be done by cousins, family etc.

  4. What is the time allowed for the work submitted to the Temple to be completed? When some of my work was submitted we were told it was a only a couple of weeks, but some of my work has been since 2009.

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