Whether you are just starting out on your Latter-day Saint family history, or are wondering what else can be done because so much has already been worked on, our experts can help!
Latter-day Saint Temple Work
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) strongly encourages its members to work on finding their own names to bring to the temple for temple work. Because of that, the question we get a lot is “What if all my work has already been done?” Maybe you have aunts, grandparents, cousins, siblings, or parents who have been doing genealogy for years, and/or maybe your family has been Mormons since the early days of the church so there are hundreds or thousands of other descendants who have been working on your Latter-day Saint family history. If that’s the case, there can’t possibly still be work to do, can there? Yes, there can!
Documenting Latter-day Saint Family History
One of the most important things you can do is document the work that has been done by others. Starting with the most recent generation, go through your family tree with a fine-toothed comb and make sure that there is solid documentation for each and every family and generation, and each and every piece of information in those families. In the last several years so many more genealogy records have become more readily available – especially online – that you have an excellent opportunity to fill in gaps in the documentation that your grandmother/aunt/dad/cousin didn’t have access to when they did their research years ago. It is quite possible (and we may even dare to say probable) that there are mistakes in your family tree, and ancestors have been missed.
Checking Genealogy Research for Accuracy
While you’re working on documenting each family, look for red flags. Are there gaps of more than 2-3 years in the ages of the children? This could mean that there were other children who were born and died. You can search birth and death records to find out, and add those children to the family. There’s also the possibility that the older children were from a first marriage and the younger ones were from a second marriage. Check to see if your ancestor might have been married more than once, and add the missing spouse. Another red flag to watch for is the ages of parents. If you have a generation where the parents were in their late 40s or 50s when their children were born – it’s possible that there could be a generation missing and those might actually be the grandparents, or you may have the wrong parents entirely, which would mean that every generation beyond that is also incorrect. Take the time to order original records when they aren’t available online or on microfilm so that you’re sure you have the most accurate information possible. Once you’ve collected documentation for all of your direct-line ancestors and their families, you can then go back through and start collecting documentation for all of their siblings, and their kids, etc.
Avoiding Duplicated Temple Ordinances
The process of collecting documentation may take you a long time, and you may not find a lot of names for temple work right away, but imagine the joy you’ll feel when you find that one child who was missed in a family, or if you find an incorrect generational link that changes your entire family history and opens up a whole new avenue of research for you. One thing to remember is that FamilySearch.org asks you to “match and merge” your family names before you submit them for temple work. This is an incredibly important step (and can also be extremely time consuming, so be prepared to put in some time!) in order to prevent duplicated temple work. Follow their instructions carefully to make sure that your information is as complete and accurate as it can be, and only submit names for temple work after this step has been taken.
Our Team of Professional Genealogists Can Help
If you need help getting started with your Latter-day Saint family history, analyzing your family tree, determining what your next steps should be, choosing a line to research, finding documentation and/or researching your family lines, our LDS specialists are experts at all of these things and would love to help you out. We can do the work for you or point you in the right direction – you decide!