You’ve gone to FamilySearch Family Tree looking for green temple icons. You want to reserve a temple ordinance for one of your ancestors for your next trip to the temple.
Sadly, you can’t find any to reserve. You look and look and look again. You see a few dark blue temples icons and a couple of orange icons. You can’t reserve any of them, and you’re not sure what they mean. You just know you need green icons!
Alas, you still can’t find any. You feel disappointed, maybe even frustrated. If there’s a next step, you’re not sure what it is. You need someone to point you in the right direction, which may be why you’re reading this article.
Try Ordinances Ready
In situations like this, Ordinances Ready is a possible solution. The tool uses sophisticated software to search your tree and find opportunities for you—opportunities that in some cases would require expert-level research.
If Ordinances Ready can’t find a name from your tree, it will provide you with a name that another member of the Church has already shared with the temple—and, whenever possible, that shared name is someone who is related to you. If you have no relatives whose names have been shared with the temple, Ordinances Ready will find the name of someone else in need of temple ordinances. In such a case, you’d be serving at least two different people when you use Ordinances Ready—the ancestor who needs the ordinances performed and the person who shared the ancestor’s name with the temple.
If your primary purpose is serving in the temple for someone who needs temple ordinances, then Ordinances Ready is a great option.
Develop New Research Skills
Of course, the ultimate solution to no green temple icons is to add new names to your family tree. But to do this, you may need to develop some new research skills.
FamilySearch offers multiple ways to learn and develop these skills. To begin with, you might consider visiting our Help Center and watching an online class on an area of research you need help with. These classes are free and can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
To begin searching for classes, click the small circle and question mark that you see in the top right corner of nearly every FamilySearch web page. Once there, enter a term or question into the search box, and click Search.
You will likely see a long list of search results grouped into categories, with a small icon next to each entry that tells you what the category is. The small computer screen, for example, means that the search result is an online class, which is exactly what we’re looking for in this instance.
Let’s try a real-life example. My last name is Nielsen, and many of my ancestors come from Denmark. If I enter “Denmark” as my search term, my search results will include the following classes, just to name a few:
- Time-Saving Strategies for Nordic Research
- Estates in Denmark and Norway
- Danish Emigration Records
Let’s say that I am in fact researching emigration records, but I’m having a hard time reading the handwriting. If I make “Handwriting” my search term, my search results will include the following online classes:
- Scandinavian Handwriting
- Reading Spanish Handwriting
- Beginner Dutch Handwriting
The class on Scandinavian handwriting is exactly what I need!
You can also search for classes on RootsTech.org, the annual family history conference hosted by FamilySearch. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 RootsTech conference was 100 percent online, with classes, or sessions, on nearly every family history topic you can think of.
These RootsTech videos are available on the RootsTech website as well as the FamilySearch YouTube Channel. If I go to RootsTech.org and use “Denmark” as my search term, I see at least 16 classes about researching for Danish ancestors, along with a short YouTube video on baking a special Danish dessert. Wow—talk about getting your cake and being able to eat it too.
Get Guided Practice
Another option to further your skill set as a family historian is to schedule a free, 20-minute virtual genealogy consultation with an experienced FamilySearch volunteer.
To schedule the consultation, click the Help button—the circle with a question mark inside of it—followed by Contact Us. Look for the section with information about the Family History Library and select the link for Learn More.
The goal of this short consultation is to empower you in your research and to help you identify a promising next step. Make sure your questions are ready!
Similarly, you might consider scheduling a time to meet with a temple and family history consultant from your ward or stake. He or she will be excited to help you and will likely have valuable experience and resources to share with you. If you are signed in, the Help Center landing page includes a link to their contact information.
Explore on Your Own
Advanced researchers use special techniques and strategies that you may have heard about. One example is descendancy research, which means analyzing a family tree in a way that might be new to you. For example, when you look at your own family tree, you probably start with yourself and move backward in time, toward the earliest known ancestor.
In descendancy research, by contrast, you start with an ancestor and try to identify all of his or her descendants. This is an excellent way of discovering ancestors who aren’t easily visible in the traditional tree view.
Sounds interesting. But how do you do this kind of research yourself? To get started, try the FamilySearch Research Wiki, which is essentially an online encyclopedia of temple and family history work techniques, strategies, methods, definitions, and explanations. For Descendancy Research, you will find a description as well as a handout and video.
You can perform similar searches at FamilySearch Community, a web page where FamilySearch users like yourself post questions and participate in online conversations that, like the FamilySearch Research Wiki, cover nearly every conceivable topic related to temple and family history work.
Don’t Forget the Importance of Indexing
The ultimate solution to no green temple icons is adding new names. But in certain situations, you may just have to wait until more information about your ancestors becomes available.
You can help in this process by participating in indexing. When you index, you look at the digital image of a historical record and type the information that you see in it—names, birthdays, hometowns, things like that. This information then becomes searchable, and other people can use it to find their families.
What a simple yet profound way to serve others! You can spend five minutes and index one record. Or you can spend a full hour and index multiple, perhaps dozens of records. Every name that you read and type is an ancestor that someone else will now be able to discover.
One way to increase the connection you feel to indexing is to choose an indexing project that involves one of your ancestral homelands. In doing so, you may be helping to gather information about your own ancestors.
Don’t Give Up—You’ll Find Your Next Green Temple Icon Soon
Looking for green temple icons but not finding any can be a little frustrating. You might feel like all of the temple and family history work in your family has already been completed, and now there’s nothing left for you to do!
Guess what—that isn’t true at all. There are so many ways to participate in temple and family history work, and truly this is just the beginning. If you’re not finding what you’re looking for, it might be time to develop a new skill, broaden your understanding of a particular topic, or participate in indexing.
And don’t forget about Ordinances Ready. At FamilySearch, you’ll find that there’s always another opportunity to do something important.
Source: Family Search