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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ordinance Reservations to be Released After Two Years

A recent blog post from by Ron Tanner entitled, " Releasing Reservations After Two Years," makes the following statement:
Starting in the next few months the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will begin releasing user temple reservations that have been inactive for more than two years. If you have reservations that you haven’t been able to complete, now is a good time to share them with family members via email, or with the temple. 
Releasing inactive temple reservations has become a priority due to the large number of ordinances that currently fit that two-year window, and is in line with instruction from the First Presidency to ensure that temple work for ancestors is completed in a timely manner. There are nearly 12 million ordinance reservations held by FamilySearch patrons in Family Tree. Amazingly, 5% of FamilySearch patrons hold 60% of those reservations.
This issue has been one of the more constant background complaints about the Family Tree program since its inception. In fact, the complaints go back nearly ten years and began at the point, with when users could reserve names without arranging for the ordinances to be done in a timely fashion. It is not unusual to find reserved names dating back more than five years and some much longer than that.

One of the immediate concerns is that many of these individuals who are reserved, at least from my standpoint, are people with duplicate copies where the ordinances have already been done. This most frequently occurs when there is an obvious duplicate where the duplicate shows that the ordinances have already been done, but the duplicate cannot be merged. In these cases, the reservations were made to keep the ordinances from being done yet another time. Without allowing these individuals to be merged with their obvious duplicates, releasing the reservation will simply result in someone immediately performing the duplicate ordinances.

For some considerable time now, there has been a background discussion concerning the issue of putting a time limit on reservations. One of the concerns, has been the inability of some individuals to travel to the Temples. The concern arises, in part, from the issue of people doing ordinances for individuals to whom they are not related. For example, if I were preparing to go to the Temple and had entered my immediate ancestors into the Family Tree, I would have a concern that someone else, unregulated, would complete the ordinances before I had a chance to attend Temple. The very recent change in policy concerning reserving names for those who were born within the last 110 years, may have an impact on this particular issue. In the alternative, members could be encouraged to only enter their immediate ancestors into the program when they are prepared to go to the Temples and perform the ordinances. After watching a rather large family in the Brigham Young University Family History Library last night sit for hours clicking on green arrows trying to find names to take to the Temple, I am not encouraged with the prospect of preserving near relatives' unique position.

The blog post goes on to discuss what individuals can do in the face of the time limit. It is also unclear as to the rather substantial backlog of Temple Ready cards floating around out there. I can always remember one individual that I saw who had a rather large briefcase on wheels that was completely packed with thousands of printed Temple Ready cards.

As far as the time limit involved, I feel that two years is more than fair. The post suggests the following actions:

  • review your temple list
  • share with family members via email
  • share with the Temple
  • unreserve names
  • do nothing

You may wish to read this post carefully. You will note that a date for implementation of the rule has not been set or at least has not yet been released. However, it would be a good idea to communicate this information to any members who may have cards on reserve.


  1. So, when this policy is implemented, will all of the reserved ordinances that are more than two years old suddenly turn to green arrows?

    1. Apparently, that is what is going to happen. At least it will happen to all those reservations more than two years old.

  2. There are many reasons I reserve family names and 'don't get around' to them within 2 years. It's not that I don't want to, but there are some things that just take a bit longer. If the name is unreserved, can I reserve it again and start a new 2 year time clock? Or, do I need to have another family member reserve the name while waiting for the longer hold to play out?

    1. Never mind, I just found my answer. I can unreserve the name and restart the time clock. I noticed that there is a date reservation made and that will help me know how long I"ve held onto names.

  3. Hmmm, 12 million or so new green arrows! That should be interesting!

  4. Does anyone know if all of the ordinances be in the FamilyTree data base by the time this new rule goes into effect? I know of several people who have reserved people because their temple work has been done, but cannot be found in Family Tree however it is in the old DOS ordinance index. FS feedback instructed me to reserve the ordinances for people in this category until FS can add the ordinances to these records.

    1. That is one of many very good questions. For example, if I have 1000 cards printed, what is to keep me from simply continuing to use them up even if the "reservations" have been cancelled and even if they end up being duplicates?