For some time now in presentations, Ron Tanner of FamilySearch has been talking about the huge numbers of names reserved on specific individual's Temple Reservation Lists. Subsequently, there has been a fair amount of discussion among some genealogists who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about the way people manage their reservation lists.
At one end of the spectrum of users are the people who amass huge numbers of names on their reservation list and at the other end are the people that don't know the reservation lists exist. I am not writing about those who hoard huge numbers of names. I am writing about those people who have substantial numbers of names but are sharing them with relatives and trying to keep enough names to share. I am also writing about those people who are actively adding names to the FamilySearch.org Family Tree.
It has now been about a year and a half since the introduction of the Ordinances Ready app (program). The introduction of this program marks the beginning of an entirely new way to manage names. Essentially, the Ordinances Ready app enables all of the qualified, registered users of the Family Tree to obtain names from their own part of the Family Tree if there are any available and any names that they have shared with the temples. In the event that there are none, the app finds name from the general list of names shared with the temples. The key to keeping this app working is that people share their names with the temples. After reflecting on this for the past year, I have evolved the following methodology. This is my own personal way of approaching the issues raised by the Ordinances Ready app and not the opinion of anyone else or any entity such as the Church or FamilySearch.
The following was written by me in response to a question posed by one of my friends about using the Ordinances Ready app. It is basically an outline of the method I have developed to address the fact that I can find many more names than I can possibly personally take to the temples. Also, my children are now researching and supplying their own names or obtaining them from their siblings so I am not being called upon to share my names with them.
My opinion about Ordinances Ready is substantially different than some of those expressed. I think it is a wonderful solution for a variety of problems we have been facing since the introduction of new.FamilySearch.org. To begin, my basic question is this: Once a name is shared with the Temple by you or someone in your family, do you have an opportunity to review and correct the information about the shared individual? Do you search your part of the Family Tree for people who have been shared to target them for review or correction? My point is that the Ordinances Ready app is primarily directed at names already shared. Do we, as individuals working with the Family Tree, have a way to unshare a name shared by someone else? The Ordinances Ready app does exactly that. Do we now have some sort of duty to review and correct the shared names?
My main involvement with the Family Tree is researching and correcting the existing entries and verifying the information already in the Family Tree. This activity results in finding quite a few new names to add to the Family Tree. When I verify the information, I share all the names I find with the Temples. I do not keep any of the names I find on a "reserved" list. I use Ordinances Ready to obtain a name to take to the Temple and it pulls the names from my shared list. From my perspective, emphasizing the "problems" with using Ordinances Ready and telling people that it doesn't work only ends up defeating the purpose of the program and may discourage some 11 year old who is going to the Temple for the first time. As I understand it, the main purpose for Ordinances Ready is to help work on the backlog of names waiting to be processed and increasing Temple attendance. I see that happening in my Ward. A side benefit is that many people who would otherwise be making incorrect changes no longer feel compelled to "work on the Family Tree." I am motivated to keep working by the huge number of my own shared names that are now being done.
Reducing duplicates and correcting the entries in the Family Tree is a laudable goal. Ordinances Ready doesn't really have anything to do with that goal. Ordinances Ready does not encourage or discourage making incorrect changes. The app has nothing to do with whether or not the inherited information is right or wrong. It is a neutral method of facilitating temple activity. I see private extraction programs, failure to review readily available and attached sources, reliance on GEDCOM and PAF files for authority, simple carelessness, lack of knowledge about genealogy, and many other issues as being more important than worrying about the accuracy fo the names that people share with the temples. Obtaining a shared name from Ordinances Ready that happens to be a duplicate or wrong information is not a problem. The problems come from the information that is shared and Ordinances Ready has nothing to do with the process of adding incorrect or duplicative information. We should just do what we do well, continue correcting as much of the Family Tree as we can and helping people understand how to do the work themselves. Meanwhile, Ordinances Ready is the best tool I have ever seen for finding new places to work on the Family Tree.So whether or not you use the Ordinances Ready program, my opinion is that you should be encouraging others to use the program. If they do, you will have little motivation to keep a substantial list of names in your reserved list. If you share the names with the temples, your relatives will be able to gain access to those names through the Ordinances Ready app.