Automated Record Hints are just hints. The suggested records may not be for the person where the hints show up. Remember, they are "hints" and should be verified before attaching. But what about the "Temple Opportunities?" Are they real or merely hints that should be verified?
Everything in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree is subject to verification with valid sources, i.e. records that actually support the information already in the Family Tree. Record Hints are links to records that might support events in your ancestors' or relatives' lives. Temple Opportunities assume that all of the genealogical links to the opportunity are valid. So let's look at the Temple Opportunity illustrated above. Here is the assumed "opportunity."
I can immediately reserve the Temple Ordinances by clicking on the blue button link or I can be a "spoilsport" and question the validity of the genealogical connection between me and the individual. Do I really want to reserve and do the ordinances for someone I am not related to? Isn't this a carte blanche from FamilySearch to do the ordinances? Who am I to question FamilySearch? The last question is somewhat rhetorical but is this a situation where we just go ahead and take advantage of the opportunity without checking the validity of the connection? Who cares anyway?
Well, since I have spent a great deal of my time over the past 36 years trying to verify my family connections, I am too old to be taught new tricks. I still don't believe assumed relationships without some sort of documentary support for the conclusion that I am related to anyone and this goes doubly for anything in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree. I guess the fundamental question is if we are going to have standards about those for whom we can and cannot do ordinance work, why don't those standards apply to "Temple Opportunities?"
So, am I or am I not related to Joseph David Weise?
Here is the chart showing my relationship.
The first question here is am I related to all those people shown as my direct line ancestors. Let's check them off.
- Yes, I am related to my mother
- Yes, I am related to my maternal grandfather, Harold Morgan.
- Yes, I am related to my Great-grandmother Mary Ann Linton.
Wait, how do I know this so far? Let me add one more check: the number of verified sources I find for each of these people.
- Yes, I am related to my mother: 34 sources
- Yes, I am related to my maternal grandfather, Harold Morgan: 49 sources
- Yes, I am related to my Great-grandmother Mary Ann Linton: 29 sources
Also, I simply have not gotten around to entering all of the hundreds of additional sources and memories I have for these near relatives. Let's go on back.
- Yes, I am related to Ellen Sutton: 40 sources
- Yes, I am related to John Sutton: 36 sources
- Yes, I am related to Sarah Yates: 24 sources
- Yes, I am related to Peter Yates: 25 sources
Of course, I strongly suggest checking the sources. But let's go on.
- Hmm, am I related to William Yates? There are six sources but he has no birth or christening dates.
It is time to stop. Here is William Yates.
The problem is there is no actual birth or death information and the place of birth is listed as Lancashire County. How many William Yates were there in about 1688 in Lancashire?
Was Lancashire the right county? There are 161 entries for the name William Yates in that county in that time period. Which one is my William Yates, if that is the right name? The children listed were born in three different locations, all in Lancashire County: Winwick, Wigan, and Leigh. Where were these places? How close are they to one another? The dates here are in the 1600s. One problem is that the listing for Winwick is apparently an ancient parish with three towns: Houghton with Middleton, Arbury, and Winwick of Hulme. Let's use Winwick of Hulme.
The distances here are enough for me to question the accuracy of the inclusion of all of these children in the same family. The person we are concerned with is his son Peter Yates, my supposed ancestor. Peter Yates is one of the children supposedly born in Winwick. Remember, we have no birthplace for either the listed father, William Yates or the listed mother, Sybil. We also have no records showing the parents of Peter Yates. From this review, Peter Yates is presently the end of this line. We do not know his father's name. There is also a will and probate attached to Peter Yates that states that he is "of Lathom."
Where is Latham compared to the other Lancashire towns? What about Winwick where he is supposed to have been born or christened? It is about 18 miles away from Winwick. Once again, that is enough to make me do more research. How many Peter Yates were there in Winwick at the time listed? How many in Lathom? There only four entries in Findmypast.com for Peter Yates in Winwick at that time, about 1733. All four of them seem to be our Peter Yates. But what about Lathom? Peter apparently died in Winwick. Could be. But the only record is the will and probate.
From this point on in the Family Tree, the relationships become mere speculation. I could go on and on, but the descendency part of the linkage is just a questionable. Do I really want to rely on an unsupported connection going back ten unsupported generations and then back down six more unsupported generations?
What do you think? I addition, I am not presently adding any more names to my Temple list. In fact, I am unreserving all of them. The reason is that the Washington, D.C. Temple is closing and I will be here for the next year. I will go back and reserve what I need when I am able to go to the temple regularly after my mission.