There are four official publications: A Continuing Priesthood Program for Family Exaltation (for genealogy leaders), Family Exaltation and You (a lesson manual for everyone), Priesthood Genealogy Handbook (for priesthood leaders), Records Submission Manual (for everyone, explaining how to submit names for temple ordinance work). All are available from the General Church Distribution Center, P.O. Box 11627, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111.
A nine-page list titled “Enrichment Aids for Genealogy” can be obtained upon request from the distribution center also.
The Prophet Joseph Smith tells us “it is necessary that those who are going before and those who come after us should have salvation in common with us; and thus hath God made it obligatory upon man.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356).
“The ordinances of salvation will have to be attended to for the dead who have not heard of the Gospel, from the days of Adam down, before Christ can present this world to the Father, and say, ‘It is finished.’” (President Wilford Woodruff in Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 327.)
Before temple work can be done, genealogical research is necessary to identify the dead, so that members of the Church can submit information for temple work by proxy to be done for deceased family members.
“You may think this order of things to be very particular; but let me tell you that it is only to answer the will of God, by conforming to the ordinance and preparation that the Lord ordained and prepared before the foundation of the world, for the salvation of the dead who should die without a knowledge of the gospel.” (D&C 128:5.)
“The responsibility rests with equal force on all, according to our individual ability and opportunities.
“It matters not what else we have been called to do, or what position we may occupy, or how faithfully in other ways we have labored in the Church, none is exempt from this great obligation.” (President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2 [Bookcraft, 1967], p. 148.)
Members of the Church are responsible to see that temple ordinances are performed for their direct ancestors and children of these ancestors—families of their parents, grandparents, all of their great-grandparents, and so on.
In the process of compiling information on one’s direct ancestors and their children, a person may find records of persons to whom he cannot establish specific relationship. Names of these persons may be submitted for processing when they are (1) sufficiently identified in one acceptable source, (2) have the same surname as those on the pedigree of the one submitting the records, (3) come from the same geographical vicinity, and (4) were born more than 95 years ago.
This privilege of submitting names of persons whom you have reason to believe are your relatives, but to whom you cannot establish a specific relationship, should not be confused with your responsibility to your own deceased kindred. The statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith still prevails: “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith [Deseret Book Co., 1968], p. 356.)
The source should be described in sufficient detail to enable a person to locate and use it. If it is a certificate of birth, then so indicate. If it is microfilm, include the title of the record and the section, and if from the Genealogical Society Library, place the call number of the film in parentheses.
If your source is a family record or personal knowledge, specifically indicate whose record or knowledge. If it is a family Bible or a funeral program, indicate the origin of the information. A family record is acceptable only if your ancestor-family member is a great-grandparent or a descendant of a great-grandparent and cannot be identified from a civil or church record of birth or an acceptable census or probate record.
If you have not verified the information from an acceptable source, do not claim that source on your form. There are times when the Genealogical Society personnel or others need to check these sources, and they should find the exact information in exactly the same record source described on the form.
There are many sheets that must be returned to the patron because of obvious errors. For instance: Was the date for the birth or marriage recorded on the form? (Many times this is forgotten and the form must be returned, costing time and money, and also complicating the processing of the incomplete entry.) Was the source recorded? Was the name of the place recorded in sufficient detail? Were necessary death dates omitted? If the name qualifies for the family file, were the temple and the ordinances to be performed by the family indicated on the form? Was the name of the person submitting the form recorded along with his address and zip code? Was the name of the stake given? (Credit is given to your stake or mission for each form received.)
All of these errors can and should be caught before the form leaves the ward or branch of the person submitting the form.
Ordinance work cannot be performed unless both a town (city) or county and the state or country are given.
When there is more than one parish or church in a town (city), the name of the parish must be included. It is listed as the first item of the place entry, followed by the town or city, the county, and the state or country. Each division must be separated by a comma.
If you are lacking some of the necessary minimum identification of the locality, apply prayerful thought and effort until you can determine the required divisions.
When the county (or acceptable subdivision) and state (or country) are not stated in the source entry, they must be determined and put on the form. Usually these are stated earlier in the record source.
“Of” places—places where a person is known to have lived—are not acceptable, as these may lead to duplication of temple ordinances.
It is not necessary to have both a christening place and a place of birth, although if both are given in the same record, both must be included.
The temple family file contains names of close deceased relatives for whom the family will personally provide proxies for the temple ordinances.
The relationship required if names are to be reserved in a family file is: direct ancestors, brothers and sisters of direct ancestors, and any descendants of the great-grandparents of the person submitting the records. (See RSM, p. 31.)
You may request that all ordinances—baptism, endowment, sealing—be performed by the family (to be held in the family file), or you may wish to have the temple provide the proxy for some ordinances such as baptism, while the family provides proxies for the endowment and/or sealing. These instructions are to be placed at the top of the form, as shown below. The temple to which the names are to be sent must be indicated. Names cannot later be transferred to another temple. (If the names are to go into the temple file rather than the family file, leave this entire area blank.)
Unless instructions for the family file are given, names will automatically be placed in the temple file even when the relationship could qualify them for the family file.
Names are held in the family file for sixty days to provide time for the family to make arrangements with the temple to do the work. If the family has not made definite arrangements with the temple to provide necessary proxies by the end of sixty days, then names are placed in the temple file. To avoid disappointment, it is well to contact the temple as soon as baptism, endowment, or sealing of wife to husband will be performed for individuals listed as you receive your notification and make arrangements with the temple to perform the ordinances.
If you appear in the family as a child or as a parent and you are going to be at the temple when the work is performed, you do not need to submit the form to the Genealogical Society.
Thus, if you are doing the work by proxy yourself or if you are having someone else be proxy for a person of the opposite sex in your family, take the form directly to the temple with you. (The London and Alberta temples request that forms be sent to them two weeks in advance, because their baptismal fonts are in use only once each week.)
Place the information on a Family Group Record form and be sure to include information on all members of the family, including baptism, endowment, and sealing dates for those persons who have had these ordinances. Have the form checked by your ward records examiners; then take it directly to the temple with you.
If you have not yet received your temple endowment or if you live too far away from a temple or for some other reason cannot attend personally, you may place the information on a regular Entry Form and/or Marriage Entry form and submit it through the Genealogical Society.
You may then have the work performed in one of two ways: (1) Have the name(s) placed in the family file (see item 9) where you ask a family member or friend to act as proxy, or (2) ask the temple to provide the proxy for you.
When you submit the form through the Genealogical Society, please indicate your desire in the “remarks” area at the bottom of the form by saying either, “Please have the temple provide a proxy, since I am unable to attend the temple,” or “Please place this in the family file and I will provide the proxy, since I am unable to attend the temple.” Otherwise, the form will be returned to you to be sure there is no misunderstanding in providing the proxy.
Right of privacy laws make it mandatory that the rights of individuals be protected. Therefore, temple ordinance work being performed by proxy for those persons born within recent years must be submitted by a close relative or have the consent of the closest living relative.
The Genealogical Society assumes that persons submitting names for other than direct ancestors have obtained approval from the closest living relative of the deceased before submitting records of persons born within the last 95 years. This permission is needed to satisfy the right of privacy of living individuals who have the right of concern.
This means that a widow should be consulted before someone else submits the name of her husband for temple ordinance work, unless the husband is a direct ancestor; that a brother or sister should be consulted before a more distant relative submits the work, and so on.
Death dates are necessary for:
a. The individual on an Entry Form when that person was born within the last 110 years; otherwise he is assumed to be living. Death dates usually come from an additional source, and the source is recorded in the “remarks” area at the bottom of the form.
b. The child known to have died before reaching the age of eight years (therefore, no baptism nor endowment needs to be done, but only sealing the child to his parents). If there is any question as to whether the death date refers to this particular child, do not record it. (See RSM, p. 21.)
c. The parents of a person born within the last 95 years before the individual can be sealed to his parents. Otherwise the parents are assumed to be still living.
Death dates of parents are recorded to the right of the center of field 19 on the Entry Form: FDD (father’s death date) and MDD (mother’s death date).
d. The bride and groom if they were married within the last 95 years before any sealing can be performed. Otherwise, they are assumed to be still living.
These death dates are placed to the right of the center of field 23 on the Marriage Entry form: HDD (husband’s death date) and WDD (wife’s death date), in the manner shown on page 48. (See RSM, p. 37.)
Note: A period of one year must have passed from date of death before any vicarious ordinances can be performed for a person. Do not submit the name of a person who is living.
Yes, if both are deceased. The ordinance of sealing can be performed by proxy before the baptism(s) and endowment(s), but the sealing does not become effective until the baptisms and endowments have been performed and accepted. (See Family Exaltation and You, p. 42.)
Direct ancestors (progenitors) refer only to those forebears (men or women) who appear on your pedigree chart. Direct ancestor families are those couples plus their children.
Specific relationship refers to any degree of relationship that can be established. This may be a direct ancestor or a far more distant relationship, such as 10 c 4 r (tenth cousin four generations removed).
When you cannot identify a direct ancestor family from the approved single sources of civil registration, church records, census records, or probate records, you may use more than one source to identify these persons.
Place the information on the Entry Form and/or Marriage Entry form (provided that minimum identification is achieved) and list in the source blank each source used. The use of the Entry Form and the Marriage Entry form for multiple sources is new—effective June 1971. This differs from the instruction given in the third edition of RSM and in the first edition of the lesson manual Family Exaltation and You. This change will result in an improved program.
Census or probate records cannot be combined with other sources. Each of these is a single source and must always be handled as such.
Examples of multiple sources are: Braswell Family Bible in possession of William Braswell, Phillips, Wisc.; obituary in the Halifax Star (Nova Scotia) 18 Oct 1892; Kinfolk of Edgecombe County (GS 975.646).
A printed family history is always a multiple source. When citing a book as a source, if the Genealogical Society Library call number is given, only the title of the book is needed. If the call number is not known, then the author, publisher, and date of publication should be included.
Caution: A direct ancestor-family relationship (son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, nephew, or niece, in any degree—“greats” are acceptable) to those persons whose names are submitted from multiple sources must be shown. This relationship must be stated in field (block) 15 on the Entry Form or field 22 on the Marriage Entry form. Otherwise, the form will be rejected.
a. For baptism, endowment, and sealing of a child to his parents, use an Entry Form (unless the information comes from a census or probate record).
Example: From the Newside Parish in Dalry, Ayr., Scotland: Christened: 4 Dec 1730, Joseph, son of Andrew Lockhart, tailor.
b. For the sealing of the wife to the husband, use a Marriage Entry form.
Example: From a certificate of marriage from a county in Illinois: Married in Morgan County, Illinois, on 1 February 1844, Mr. William Henry Jones and Miss Mary Jane Brown, both of lawful age.
c. For baptism, endowment, and sealing to parents for individuals listed as children in approved census or probate records, use a Family Group Record form. (No parents in these sources.)
d. For names taken directly to the temple, use the Family Group Record form. (See item 8.)
e. For your book of remembrance and for submitting the four-generation program assignment through your ward and stake (or branch and mission), use the Family Group Record form. (See A Continuing Priesthood Program for Family Exaltation, pp. 6–11.)
The name tabulation program is a system of (a) identifying each individual from the birth record and then having his baptism, endowment, and sealing to his parents performed; and (b) identifying the wife and husband from the simple record of marriage and then having the wife sealed to her husband.
Note: When the birth (christening) and marriage records do not exist, then other approved records can be used. For certain areas, approved census records or probate records can be used, and in limited cases, family records. (See the Records Submission Manual, third edition [hereafter cited as RSM], pages 39–42.)
The minimum identification (name, date, place) must be found in one record. (See RSM, pp. 26, 37. For the only exception to this, see item 3.)
The key to the success of the name tabulation program is to copy just what the record states. Do not add information.
Some well-meaning people think they are helping when they add information, such as a maiden name, that is not found in the single source. This is not a help. Adding information may create major problems, complications in the system, and unnecessary duplication of ordinances—possibly making another deceased person wait to have the privilege of receiving his or her temple blessings.
Two years ago the name tabulation program, or single entry method of submitting names for temple ordinance work to be performed by proxy for the dead, was introduced by the Genealogical Society.
The following questions and their answers can serve as a checklist of pitfalls to avoid when
preparing forms to submit names for temple ordinance work and may provide answers to
other questions in this important phase of the gospel of Jesus Christ.