Over the past few years, I have written several blog posts about the problems associated with the green icons, previously the "green arrows" and presently the "green Temple icons." The problems centered around the fact that many of these "available" people were actually duplicates and the ordinances had already been done for a duplicate copy.
As the FamilySearch.org Family Tree matured various checks were put in place to prevent duplication. For example, the green icons shown above show the following message when they are selected:
This observation certainly does not mean that there is no work left to be done. To the contrary, there are potentially billions of names that could be added to the Family Tree. But focusing on only those that are clearly marked by Family Search and still available and unrestricted will become more and more frustrating. The time when the challenge to "find a name to take to the Temple" involved a series of clicks up and down the Family Tree is rapidly coming to a close.
I have used this analogy before. The Family Tree is like a bank account. You can only withdraw what you put in. Unlike a bank account, however, you cannot borrow for present use and go into debt. There is no untapped source of "names" that we can draw upon. The time has come to begin prospecting for new names through careful, systematic research based on the Record Hints and using the Descendancy View to find candidates.
Here is how it can be done.
Step One: Follow a family line back in time verifying the existence and reasonable accuracy of each generation.
Step Two: Choose an ancestor who was born in the early 1800s or even into the 1700s. If you come to the end of the family line entries in the Family Tree in the 1900s or the 1800s, there is very likely further research that needs to be done with that particular line. It is entirely possible that further progress in any particular family may be limited by the availability of the records, but barring that possibility, there are usually a large number of records available back into the early 1800s. Now, there are dead ends to certain family lines, but this should not be an excuse for failing to focus on other lines. I go by the adage that the exception proves the rule. There are those who are orphans with unknown parents, but this certainly an exception and not the rule.
Step Three: Switch to the remote ancestor's portion of the Family Tree by clicking on the View Tree icon under his or her name on the detail page. See this screenshot.
Clicking on this view will put the person in the center of the pedigree or landscape view. Then switch to the Descendancy View and begin to exam the descendants by generation.
Step Four: Look for the following individuals who are your cousins;
- Couples who have married and have no children
- Families with multiple children who show no spouses
- People who have a blue icon and a purple icon. This usually indicates that they have no sources and yet, sources are suggested by the Record Hints.
Step Five: Research names you find to add family members to your Temple Reservation List.
It is really not quite that simple, but the basic methodology does not change. The idea is to add new people to the Family Tree not merely to do the same people over and over again.