Q: I have viewed what appears to be Temple Work for Apollos Lincoln. How accurate will it be? I would like to know how they got his death date and place of death. I question their data, and would like to check it for myself. Can anyone tell me how it all works? -- Kay
A: Temple work is very important to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often known as Mormons). LDS individuals are encouraged to research their family history so that they can submit the names for Temple work. Members of the LDS faith believe that families can be sealed together for time and all eternity. However, in order to do this, they must first identify their family members.
While LDS are encouraged to research their family and to be as accurate as possible, this is not always what happens. Not all LDS members find genealogy to be something that they wish to do. Many non-LDS assume that because a person is Mormon that they are automatically researching their family. This is not quite accurate. Just as there are all levels of accuracy in the researching of family histories in general, there are levels of accuracy in the research of LDS individuals.
Temple work is very important to LDS members as it seals their families together for time and all eternity.
Where to Turn for Information?
The first place to check for individuals who may have had Temple work done is the International Genealogical Index or IGI. The IGI has over 70 million names of deceased individuals on whose behalf LDS individuals have done Temple work. You will not find entries for LDS people who have had their own Temple work done when they were alive.
Each entry in the IGI includes the name of the individual, the parents' names or spouse's name, the event (usually birth or marriage), the date of the event, the place of the event. There are three columns that follow that include dates for the Temple work. The last columns include the batch number and serial sheet. It is these numbers that can help you to identify the resources used by the individual submitting the name.
Family Group Sheets and Patron Submission Forms
Up until recently LDS members submitted their information either on family group sheets or on special patron submission forms. Both of these forms required that the individual making the submission list records or resources from which they got their information.
If you are interested in finding out what sources were used, you will want to take the batch number and serial sheet and do one of two things. Either you will fill out a Photoduplication Request Form, or you can convert these numbers to the microfilm number, which you can then order. One warning before you go off to order all of these entries. A large majority of them will include something along the lines of "family knowledge" and therefore will not be very useful. If you are planning a trip to Salt Lake City, you may want to put a list together of batch numbers and serial sheets with the microfilm numbers and then you can search these at the Family History Library.
In the most recent release of the IGI, entries were extracted from original Temple books. The Temple books are those books used in the Temples. They include the name of the deceased individual, the name of the person standing in proxy and the dates of the Temple ordinances. Unfortunately there is no additional information for these people as far as the records used and the accuracy of their information.
LDS members continue to do this vital work. It is one of their responsibilities. Modern technology has made it much easier for individuals to submit their family history. LDS members can use a program called TempleReady. They bring a GEDCOM disk to their local Family History Center, and then they run it through the program. What comes out is a disk they can take to the Temple (to get a print out of cards with the names of their deceased families on them) and a printed report of those individuals who were submitted for the Temple work.
Unfortunately, some of the newer entries, that do appear in the IGI, do not have any additional information than what is shown already in the IGI.
The IGI is an excellent tool to see which ancestors have had Temple work done. Armed with this information, you can then usually learn something else from the forms submitted. Just remember that not all of the entries will supply you with a list of records used.
Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy for fifteen years. She is an award-winning author of several genealogy how-to books, including The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, The Genealogist's Computer Companion, and Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See more advice from Rhonda in her columns Expert Tips, Tigs and Trees, and Overheard in the Message Boards.