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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How members are affected by the Family Tree Private Spaces

The recent announcement of's Family Tree program's Private Spaces is the topic of my blog post on Genealogy's Star entitled, "Private Spaces announced for FamilySearch Family Tree."

The other post refers to the basics of the new way of handling private information. But there are some issues that only apply to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Quoting from the Family Tree Help Center article entitled, "Understanding Private Spaces" it states:
Additional Information for Members
  • Each living person will have a different ID number or Person Identifier (PID) because each person is listed as a separate individual in each living record. Living records do not sync.
  • For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, membership information will be used to create certain people in their private space to help start their tree (mother, father, children, and so forth). Once created, these living people can be changed by the user, but such changes will not modify Church membership information. See Information that you can see from LDS Church Membership Records about living Individuals (71953).
  • Church members can modify their private space in Family Tree without having to ask the ward clerk.
  • Please contact the ward clerk if you feel the membership records are incorrect. See also Deceased individual's membership record has missing or incorrect information (53636).
  • When a ward clerk records that a person is deceased, then Church membership will create a deceased person in Family Tree, making it public. The ordinances that the person had done while living will be recorded on that copy. This will not affect the copy in your private space, and you will need to add the information that shows the person is deceased in your private space. You will then need to search for Possible Duplicates and merge your copy with the membership version. If a person made his or her personal space copy show the person as deceased, that person should merge these two records together. This procedure will need to be done by each person who has created a living person in his or her own private space.
These links may only be visible to those who log in with an LDS Access Account. You should notice from this explanation that there will be duplicate individuals created in the Family Tree program. At this time, it will be up to the members to resolve the duplicates.

If you understand what Private Spaces means, it means that only the person entering the information will see it. That includes spouses, children etc. No, your spouse will not be able to see the living people you enter and no one else will either.

I would speculate that there is a possibility that the Private Spaces may be enlarged to include other members of the family, but that is not available now, but may be in the future.


  1. Sorry to be slow on this, but is this how it works?

    (1) The record that currently exists for me in FT is my "Private Space." I add photos and stories to it to document my life story.

    (2) When I die, the church membership department creates another record for me using information from my membership record.

    (3) I need to tell someone my FT user name and password and "Private Space" PID so that when I die they can go in and mark me as dead in the record I added the photos and stories to.

    (4) The ward clerk will update my membership record to show I am dead.

    (5) A descendant will then need to merge to two records together so that the photos and stories I created are then available to my descendants.

    1. You are exactly right. Simple isn't it. :-)

  2. Sigh. I am posting and annotating Ann Prior Jarvis's diary at my blog, and as I look up family members on FamilySearch I try to do some basic sourcing and correcting.

    I was doing some basic cleanup of the Brigham Jarvis family and saw that a family member has been adding information from the Jarvis-Defriez book and added two great-grandchildren to Family Tree and marked them "Deceased" without any corroborating evidence. I can't find any evidence that either of them is dead — they were born in 1946 and 1951! at least one of them seems to be in the white pages! — so I marked them "Living." The program noted that the entries would be referred to FamilySearch. It's only been three days, but it's a surprise to look back again and see them still listed.

    Anyway, there are all sorts of intricacies and complications that need to be taken into account, including user error, and it makes me glad I'm not in charge of any of it.