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

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Comments on missing or wrongly displayed ordinance information in FamilySearch Family Tree

Many issues with the Family Tree can be resolved by investigating the questions through the Help Center. Sometimes the trick in finding the correct information involves knowing how to ask the question. This is difficult when the questions involve a whole series of sometimes only distantly related issues. Most of the information for this post came from an extensive Help Center article entitled, "Ordinances are missing in Family Tree (Not displaying)." Some of these articles are only visible if you are logged in with an LDS Account. The status of Temple ordinances and information about Temple ordinances are not available to those without an LDS Account.

Some of the issues covered in the Help Center article deal with the reporting of Temple ordinance information, including the following:

  • Ordinances known to be completed are not showing in Family Tree.
  • No dates are shown for ordinances but the entry says "Completed."
  • Records of completed ordinances are missing.
  • Ordinances are not shown for living people
  • The ordinance information shows "Request Ordinance" or "In Progress" but the ordinance has been completed previously.

One of the very first answers is this quote from the article.
Ordinance information for living individuals will not be visible in Family Tree and have a status of Not Available.
I do not find this to be an issue and I do not remember being questioned about this issue. I do, however, field a constant stream of questions concerning the way the ordinance information appears in Family Tree. The key point is made again in the article:
Sometimes ordinances do not show correctly in Family Tree. If you cannot find ordinance dates for an individual and believe the work has already been done, please do not resubmit the name for temple ordinances. Instead, please review these possible solutions to some of the common problems with missing ordinances. (emphasis in the original)
If you are sure that ordinances have been completed, you should contact FamilySearch by e-mail at, or by clicking "Get Help" and under "Contact Us," click the link "Call Us" for the number to call. Be sure and have the detailed information concerning the completion of the ordinances and the Personal ID numbers for each of the people concerned. If you send an email be sure to title your correspondence "Missing Temple Ordinances" and include all of this information:

Requester information:
Details of the individual needing attention:
  • Name:
  • Birth date:
  • ID number:
  • Also include the following:
  • The names, ID numbers, and birth dates of any other individuals involved.
  • An explanation of what is wrong and what the correct data is. Please also provide any supporting documentation.
  • The case number, if one already exists.
If you have official documentation indicating completed ordinances with dates or the Temple card that clearly shows the checked and stamp dates do one of the following:
Please title your correspondence "Missing Temple Ordinances," and include the information noted below in "Information required to request that FamilySearch make a correction." You have two options;
  • Option 1: Scan the official documentation as a .jpg image, attach that to an e-mail, and send it to Note: Include the case number in the subject line if one was provided.
  • Option 2: Copy the official documentation, and mail it to: 
FamilySearch Support
Worldwide Support Services
15 East South Temple Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-0403
If you are unable to find the ordinance dates in Family Tree and you have the original temple ordinance card that clearly shows the checked and stamped dates, another option is to do one of the following:
  • Take the card to the temple where the ordinance was completed, and request that they rescan the card. Please do not take a large number of cards.
  • If the temple where the ordinance was done is not near you, contact the temple to see if they will accept a faxed or mailed copy for rescanning. You can locate a phone number at
In many instances where the ordinance information is missing and the Family Tree program suggests that you "Request Ordinances," the ordinance information may be missing because of a duplicate entry in Family Tree.There are several reasons why duplicates might exist. But in every case where ordinance information is authorized by the program, you should search for a duplicate entry. The best practice is to search for the individual's name using the "Find" function in addition to using the link to find duplicates. Unfortunately, there may still be a duplicate entry that is not found by Family Tree. However, the only way we presently have two determine duplicates is by making the searches indicated.

There are situations where the entries show only the word "Completed" and all dates are missing. Here is the explanation for that condition from the article:
If the baptism contains a date but the confirmation says "Completed," then no action is required. The same is the case when the endowment has a date and the initiatory says "Completed." Before 1960, the initiatory ordinance was completed on the same day, at the same temple, and by the same proxy as was the endowment. Before 1990, the confirmation ordinance was completed on the same day, at the same temple, and by the same proxy as was the baptism. No corrective action is required to replace "Completed" with the ordinance date, since the program is working as it was designed.
 One of the difficult situations encountered concerns the term "Completed." Another Family Tree "Get Help" article, "Why ordinances show as "Completed" indicates:
Ordinances may show as "Completed" for the following reasons:
  • The "Completed" ordinance might be a patron opinion from a GEDCOM submission with any type of information in the ordinance date field.
  • The "Completed" ordinance might be from an Ancestral File or Pedigree Resource File submission.
  • The "Completed" ordinance might have been entered in the older FamilyTree Project, which is an outdated product that is no longer available.
  • The "Completed" ordinance might be part of an incomplete TempleReady submission or an incorrectly entered temple submission.
In my opinion, because most of the reasons given in this article involve ordinances that have been completed, unless you have specific information showing that the ordinances were not done, such as the fact that you were the contributor of the file and know that the work was not done or has not been done subsequent to your submission, then you should submit that information through the methods outlined above. If you were the person who entered the individual, the article indicates as follows:
If you are the contributor of the GEDCOM file and you know that the work has not been done, you can delete the individual. In doing so, all of the information that you entered on that individual through that GEDCOM will be removed, including the incorrect "completed." The individual can then be entered manually if needed.


  1. A few months ago, I found the ordinances were missing for my 3 grand grandfather and some of his children. I looked at the old DOS Ordinance Index at the Family History Library and found that they had been completed. Following the policy, I submitted electronic copies of the Old Ordinance Index for my ancestors to FamilySearch feedback. After going back and forth a few times, the end result was these ordinances could not be added to Family Tree since they were done a long time ago. I was told to reserve these ordinances so they could not be done until sometime in the future when they addressed the problem.

    I have ran across this same issue when helping a patron. I believe it is caused by incorrect combines that occurred in newFamilySearch. For example, one of my relatives in newFamilySearch had 24 records that were merged. Two of these records were for the wrong person and when data was transferred to FamilyTree, the information that came over represented mostly the incorrect person. Thus, i believe there are a significant number of individuals whose temple ordinances were lost in the transition to FamilyTree and we will have to wait until 2016 when newFamilySearch is completely transferred to FamilyTree for these ordinances to show up.

    The FamilySearch policy does not cover this situation.

    1. Exactly. There are still quite a few of these types of issues that cannot be resolved until NFS is completely retired.