Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Monday, December 16, 2013

What is the effect of the Read Only status for

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In light of the imminent change of to Read Only status, I thought it would be a good idea to review some of the effects of this change and what it might mean to those trying to process names for Temple ordinances. First, an explanation of the change to Read Only status.

Essentially, by putting (NFS) into Read Only status that means that the program will be unavailable to make any changes or other functions. It can only be looked at or "read" online. However, since the program is still online, the database for Family Tree and will still be "shared." This means that the problems caused by the limitations of the program concerning the number of combined records will still be in effect. The solution to the inability to work with individuals with multiple combined files will still be off in the future when the two programs are finally separated "sometime next year (2014)" or whenever.

Many of the frustrations encountered in Family Tree that are attributed to the limitations of NFS will continue until the ultimate separation of the two programs. But, I need to note, that real progress is being made in sorting out some of the IOUS (Individuals of Unusual Size) situations in Family Tree.

Anyone who has used a genealogical database program that accessed NFS and who has not upgraded to one of the newly released and certified programs will not be able to access either database with all of the features of what is now called "Tree Share." See Family History Partner Products.

Those are the immediate effects of the change coming on 18 December 2013. There are some other more subtle changes. In the past year or so, there have been some important changes to the rules applying to the availability of certain classes of ancestors to be submitted for Temple Ordinances. The current rules are substantially more restrictive than those in the past, particularly concerning submitting names for people born within the past 110 years and those to whom the submitter is not related. Some of the problems that have been in the background for over 100 years concerning names submission are now being confronted head on.

One of the main problems lies with individuals who do Temple ordinances for deceased individuals who are not the ancestors' immediate relatives, that is a surviving spouse, a child, or a parent and do this without the permission of all of the living immediate relatives. This is a particularly emotionally difficult problem for members of the Church who are beginning their genealogical research for the first time. They are almost always very disturbed to find out shortly after they go on to Family Tree that some distant relative has already completed the ordinances for the new researcher's parents or grandparents. I had this happen this week at the Mesa FamilySearch Library. Fortunately, in the case this week, the ordinances were only reserved and there was still a chance that the patron could do her mother and father's work in the Temple.

The question is whether or not Family Tree will have an impact on this particular, very old, problem? My guess is probably a little. But those who surf the Family Tree looking for ordinances are not likely to be stopped by even the multiple warnings now in effect. I call these people Family Tree Vampires. Rather than encourage newly interested researchers, these people who do work for distant relatives who have living family members, suck the blood (enthusiasm) out of the new researchers. I always instruct every new user of the program to immediately reserve anyone they enter into the program for whom they wish to do the Temple work.

Will the change over to Family Tree have any effect on the problem of clicking on green arrows and redoing ordinances multiple times? Can people still go around the system and create bogus names to take to the Temple? We will have to see, but my personal experience is that it is still remarkably easy to add duplicate names or non-existent people and create a "name" to take to the Temple. I will not go into details lest I be an accomplice in instructing those who want to create names. This practice will not stop until there is either some review process for newly added names or a requirement to provide sources for any names submitted for ordinances. Even then a source would be no guarantee that the source wasn't made up. I would not be discussing this issue if I hadn't seen it happen over and over again and even very recently using Family Tree. This whole system relies on the integrity of the participants and unfortunately, some of those submitting names with Family Tree are sadly lacking in that virtue.

But what effect will Family Tree have on the well meaning but ignorant users who add information found in online family trees, books and other unreliable sources? I am confident that ultimately, it will have a very educational effect, but that depends on the patience of the experienced users in taking the time to educate their less careful relatives. Sadly, I am already seeing the beginnings of revert wars, which I never really expected to happen. We apparently have some uninformed relatives that doggedly and repeatedly insert incorrect information into the Family Tree without a shred of support from any source. Some of these people simply refuse to stop or even acknowledge emails trying to educate them.

Many of the more abused practices of NFS will come to a screeching halt, such as manufacturing a new ordinance request by merely changing the name or a few dates on an existing individual. So, to some extent, we should see some progress in this narrow area.

As to whether the basic problems of NFS will be resolved or reversed, only time will tell. Until the two programs are completely separated this will not likely happen.

Even with all I have said, please understand that Family Tree is a quantum leap in effectiveness over NFS. I certainly have no desire to go back to the older program.

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