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Loss of Ordinance Information during merging hurts my faith
I am writing with my deep concern about ordinance information being lost during the merging process. If I hadn't kept 30 years of temple cards, I never would have been able to prove that ordinances were indeed done for some of my ancestors, because the information was lost during multiple merging processes. I cannot express to you how hurtful it is to see that ordinances are all "available" to do when I know I did it (and still have the cards to prove it, or no longer have proof except a date in my software).
This is the thing: I have sanctified my time and life to be able to provide these ordinances. We have to travel close to two hours into another country (Canada) to do ordinances, as it is our closest temple. This represents a substantial investment in time and money, obtaining a passport, crossing a border twice, gas for my old car, coordinating to see if other members want to go with me, planning meals away from home, time at home searching across many research platforms to obtain the best information I can on my ancestors- not to mention paying tithing, etc to be temple worthy. I have a huge tree and I don't want to waste a minute of my time in the temple doing work that someone else has already done.
Temple ordinances should survive every merging. I see no problem with with the whole history of a person's ordinances being listed, although it may not look "tidy." You could neatly have a link that says something like, "Other ordinances have previously been performed for this individual: Click here to see more."
I am aware that there is a process to request assistance in restoring the ordinances into the record, but this should not be required in the first place. You have the data. This is not some silly little "data glitch" and that I should be forced to happily accept as "how these things go." This is 2020, we have the technology and the temples are closed and now is your time to fix this. Plus, I'm seriously worried about some of my more passionate ancestors coming down during the Millennium and being unhappy about this. You just don't know my great-grandmother. She was a force of nature.
The thing is that this is an issue that could easily contribute to a loss of faith in members when they try to use this website to follow the prophet and provide ordinances for close loved ones, and then find all their work is lost like it was worth nothing. So, I am not suggesting this lightly. It affects individuals on both sides of the veil: They cannot be saved without us and we cannot be saved without them. The people on the other side may know their work was done, but they cannot at this time express this to their family members on this side. They rely upon your website communicating this information.
I hope that you will not bury this comment but bring it forward in your organizational structure to ensure that not one dot or tittle of ordinance information goes astray.
People died for the gospel, don't let their work die here during "merging" any more. Temple work information should not get "merged"- it should always survive every merging, and be ordered/listed by date, and be as eternal as the covenants are.
Sister Kathy L. Baumgarten
A van Helsdingen said: I'm non-LDS, but if you look at this blog post and read the comments at the bottom by one Lisa Ratzlaff on 30 November 2019, it says that information can sometimes "dissappear" after merging, but will reappear within 2 days.
You should always be careful when merging. From a non-LDS genealogical perspective, it is better to merge a profile without any children or parents into a well-established profile with parents, children, sources etc. Going the other way round would cause a lot of extra work and changes. Similarly, you will need to consider from a religious perspective which profile ought to be retained and which one will be deleted after the merge.0
Jordi Kloosterboer said: Ordinance data is connected to one person. Ordinance data is never destroyed and is connected to FamilySearch from the temple system. It looks like the ordinance data is connected to another person. You should find that person by going through the changelog and merge them. You may have to go through that person's changelog too. It can get complicated with restoring other persons etc.
With an open edit software like this there are bound to be mistakes, but the pros of the system outweigh the cons. Also know that mistakes will be rectified in the Millenium. God's work will not be frustrated, so you should not worry too much. However, if you can fix it, you should.0
Jeff Wiseman said: Hi Kathy,
It sounds like you are saying that ordinances that were visible on the ordinances tab for a particular person PID prior to a merge disappeared and were not present after the merge. This could mean a couple of things and I'm not sure which one you are referring to.
If the ordinances tab of the surviving PID is showing that no ordinances have been performed, then that does sound like an issue that FS needs to address. However,
If the ordinances tab of the surviving PID still shows that the ordinances were performed but just at a different time and place, that is OK. When you merge duplicate PIDs together but they have had the ordinance work duplicated as well, only the earlier ordinance dates are supposed to be kept. Note though, that I have seen bugs in the system where earlier dates have been superseded and in those cases, something is obviously wrong, but as I'll explain below, it is not that big a problem from the ordinances history standpoint.
Also, if the PID of a person is "deleted" (actually archived) by it being merged into another PID, when you look at the deleted (i.e., archived) PID it does not show the ordinances that were originally attached to that PID. That information is still there, it is just not shown for simplicity sake.
Temple work information should ... always survive every mergingFrom my understanding it always does. It is important to realize that the FSFT database system is totally separate from the temple database system that carries the temple ordinance information. Although it is visible in the FSFT via the ordinances tab, it is not stored there and cannot be modified from there.
When ordinances are performed they are saved in the temple system with all of that person's information and the original PID associated with the ordinance, where they are not touchable by anyone. If something gets scrambled in the FSFT resulting in some of the temple information being invisible, it doesn't mean that it has been changed or deleted. That's not how the system works.
I hope that this addresses your concern some, but there is one other thing that you might get some thoughts on. President Nelson's grandfather had an experience he recorded in his journal which President Nelson has shared in a couple of videos. Go look that up. It helped me to understand a little more why even though it is important that our records be accurate, mistakes here are not as awful as they might seem at first. This highly imperfect database is not the "final" word in things :-)0
Jeff Wiseman said: A van Helsdingen,
Good points. Also the good news is that from the "religious" perspective, a person doesn't have to worry about it during merging because none of that data is lost (although some of it may no longer be visible through the FSFT user interface).0
Don M Thomas said: Earlier this year I had a big melt-down over the new merging system. (Am Still having problems with the new merging system). I felt as a person who volunteers one time in doing genealogy I should not be forced (REQUIRED) to make reason statements. Later, I think Tom Huber was being kind and wanted me to know the reason for the new merging system is why he made his statement. I might be wrong, and this might be conjecture on my part and forgive me if it is, and I apologize in advance if I am wrong, but according to Tom Huber's following statement, bad merging is changing Temple Ordinance data, and I think Kathy Lynn Baumgarten is making a good point.
Don M Thomas 1 month ago
Tom, don't like changes being made to my ancestors. For now, Just going to stick with just completing Temple Ordinances while the information, Birth, Death and Marriage are correct. If changes to the Production "Family Tree" are made after completed Temple Ordinances, that won't matter.
Tom Huber 1 month ago - [capital lettering added by myself]
ACTUALLY, IT CAN MATTER IF A RECORD IS MERGED WITH A PROFILE THAT ISN'T THE SAME PERSON, BUT HAS EARLIER ORDINANCES THAN THOSE YOU SUBMITTED AND COMPLETED.
THIS IS A PROBLEM, but the open-edit nature of the tree is not going away. Therefore, it is up to me, as a user, to work with others helping them understand why their conclusions (if incorrect) are such.
Most of the problems deal with not taking the time to study the existing profile before making changes.
I take form Tom Huber's statement above that bad merging in the FamilySearch "Family Tree" is changing Temple Ordinance data, and the number one reason for a REQUIREMENT REASON STATEMENT in the new merging system.
To Kathy Lynn Baumgarten, remember we believe in modern day revelation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is still being restored. The FamilySearch "Family Tree" has had many changes made to it. Remember the confirmation by the spirit, of the truthfulness of the Gospel.0
Tom Huber said: Yes, you are correct, Don. If the two profiles being merged are not for the same person, then one of two things can happen:
1) One of the person's does not have one or more ordinances completed -- the result is that that person's record now shows completed ordinances, when, in fact, one or more ordinances are not completed for that person.
2) The surviving person is not the person whose ordinances have been completed. While there is no damage, other than in the first instance, the actual dates remain confused and/or hidden. We see some of this when early ordinances show recent dates, but later ordinances were performed many years earlier.
Because the ordinance data is stored in the temple ordinance database, which is separate from FamilySearch, there is no damage to the merge-deleted person's ordinances, except we can no longer see them. -- That may not make a lot of sense, but the jumbled out-of-order completion dates do represent a problem that currently exists and was created by a bad merge.
Unfortunately, even requiring a reason statement to be entered is not going to resolve bad merges. All a user has to enter is "same person" and they're done.0
Tom Huber said: The solution for Kathy in this kind of situation is to go back through the change log and locate those where a merge took place. The log can now isolate all merges (it couldn't when the new format was first introduced) and as such one can open the merge deleted records. Unfortunately, it is an incomplete record and only by restoring the merge-deleted record, can a user examine the ordinance data.
Hopefully, at some point in time, FamilySearch will allow us to fully examine all of the details of a merge deleted record.0
Jeff Wiseman said: Hey Don,
I take from Tom Huber's statement above that bad merging in the FamilySearch "Family Tree" is changing Temple Ordinance data...Not exactly. It never "changes" Temple Ordinance data, although it can scramble what we see in the FSFT ordinances tab for given person records.
If you take the PID records for two DIFFERENT people (even if they look similar) and merge them you will always get a single person record that contains a mix of vital values, relationships, and ordinance information display (the ordinance data does not exist there in the person record, the person record just links you to it in the temple database so that you can see them) from BOTH individuals.
Everything will be scrambled. Although the ordinance data is never modified or changed, where it gets displayed in the now schizophrenic person record is obviously going to have problems. It can have bits of ordinances displayed from both of the original records. But the record of the temple work done is never lost.
But you have a scrambled person PID record. There are other scrambled items there too. E.g., the children in a family will now be a merge of multiple families. The surviving PID from the merge is now BOTH person A and B, and it is NEITHER A or B at the same time! so technically, all the relationships in the family could be considered wrong as well.
The only fix is to unmerge the two persons, and if that is not possible, you must restore the original person that was deleted via the merge. In either case, the restored PID will show it's original ordinances which would then be removed from the other PID and the other PID's original ordinances would be visible once again.
This is why when someone can't figure out how to undo a screwed up merge, they should NOT just "start over" and create a new record. All of the ordinance information is only "viewable" through the original PIDs that they had been associated with. If you create new records and "start over" it will not be visible to you that you are doing duplicated ordinance work.
But again, the original ordinance work for those PID records are stored permanently. The issue is that if these PIDs are involved in incorrect merges, your ability to see them via the FS user interface will be impacted.
Incorrect merges do not changed ordinance data. It just messes with your ability to see it correctly (just like all of the other vitals, couple relationships, parent child relationship, and sources who's presence for a PID will no longer be meaningful)0
Don M Thomas said: Too bad that there is not a flag of some type, for members of the church and maybe non-members, showing when an ancestors Temple Ordinance data in the FamilySearch "Family Tree" is not showing correctly, ("scrambled," or out of sync with birth and death data) associated to that particular ancestors Temple Ordinance data. This would help to preserve the historical accuracy of our ancestors in an OPEN EDIT FamilySearch "Family Tree" besides keeping the ancestors Temple Ordinance data correct. Kind of long winded, but I think you get my point. I don't know might be impossible to implement.0
Don M Thomas said: Thanks Jeff.0
Kathy Lynn Baumgarten said: Gordon, Ordinance information may be stored elsewhere (thank goodness) but what I am addressing is that it can be unnecessarily re-accomplished.
I have ancestors where the slate was wiped clean of all my ordinance work, and everything was open to be re-reserved. That is simply a waste of temple resources and everyone's time.
I may be able to see that the work I did is not showing, but the fact is that if I am finding a person to add to my tree, how can I know whether that same thing has happened to them? It wouldn't occur to me to look at change logs for every single person I research.0
Kathy Lynn Baumgarten said: I am referring to the ordinances totally disappearing from our view. I don't mind if another date/place shows up. But when my Ancestral Quest notes show that I did the work on a certain date, and they are not showing, nor is any other temple work, that is a major problem that does need to be address. And this is what has been happening.0
Gordon Collett said: Kathy, one thing no one here has mentioned yet and that is your comment "You have the data. This is not some silly little "data glitch" and that I should be forced to happily accept as "how these things go." This is 2020, we have the technology."
You are certainly correct in this. However, Family Tree is a massive database with very complex intertwined data. This means that stomping out bugs can be a difficult task.
That means that when there is a problem, the engineers need to know specifically, with as much detail as possible, exactly what is happening so they can attempt to trace that specific situation to determine what went wrong. Just as you cannot drop your car off at a repair shop with a note saying "It's not working." and come back the next day and expect "it" to be fixed, we cannot just post here general statements about a problem and expect solutions.
In other words: Please post here two or three ID numbers of individuals whose ordinances are missing, what those ordinances should be according to your records, when you noticed they were missing, what seemed to cause them to vanish, and include every single bit of information about anything you have noticed.
Then the engineers can look at those specific records and trace through what has happened to those records and really be able to fix what your are seeing.
Also, posting the IDs here will allow some of the very skilled users who are on this board to start digging through the database and the Change Logs to try to figure out what happened and where those ordinances are.0
Jordi Kloosterboer said: Yes please put down the IDs of the people and dates and such of ordinances.0
Amy Archibald said: Hi Kathy, Please share 2 or 3 PIDs where you are seeing that ordinances are missing.0
Jeff Wiseman said: Kathy,
I would think that should never happen. I've not seen it myself where they all disappear completely, but I HAVE seen where ordinance completion locations and dates that I had previously sync'ed down to my AQ database a couple of years ago are now being pre-empted because that PID has new completion location and dates that are as much as 25 years newer. In both cases something is wrong.
However, at least in some cases, I can think of scenarios that can cause something like your situation to occur that would not be considered faults in the system. Consider the following:
In Ancestral Quest, when a person is linked to a particular PID in FS, that FS PID number can be made visible in AQ:
However, a couple of years ago, it was not possible to restore a deleted PID record if you couldn't remember the FS PID for it. Now days you can find that PID in the change history logs, but we didn't have those a few years ago. So whenever I created the link between a person in my AQ database and FS, I would always record the FS PID (or FamilySearch ID) number with the date as a note in AQ. That way if anything went wrong I could always find the original PID in FS:
If someone deletes that PID in FS by merging it into a different PID and you later go to do a compare on that record between AQ and FS, AQ will tell you ONCE that the original PID has been merged into a new PID and then it will continue to use the new PID for the link. However, if someone later performs a restore on the deleted PID, AQ knows nothing about it and continues to use the original surviving PID of the merge.
So this scenario can happen:
1. Given AQ is linked to FS PID #1 that has all of its ordinance work completed.
2. Given PID #2 in FS that has none of its work completed.
3. Now someone merges PID #1 into PID #2. PID #2 is now showing the ordinance work that originally existed on PID #1 (note here that the now deleted or "archived" PID #1 still has its original ordinance work associated with it even though it is not visible)
4. The next time the AQ record is compared or sync'ed with FS, the AQ link gets reassigned to the surviving PID #2 which is correctly showing the ordinances that came from PID #1.
5. Somebody now discovers that PID #1 and PID #2 were in fact, different people and should never have been merged. So they go to (the now deleted) PID #1 and perform a restore on it.
6. PID #1 is now showing once again in the FS database and still has the original ordinances correctly showing on it.
7. Since the system knows that PID #1 was restored it therefore removes the PID #1 ordinance information from PID #2. This restores PID #2 to showing it's pre-merge ordinance work. So now PID #2 shows no ordinances completed.
8. Since AQ is still linked to the PID #2, it now shows no ordinances completed for that person!
The link between the AQ record and the PID #2 needs to be manually set back to point to PID #1 and those ordinances will all once again be visible in AQ.
So here is a situation where the computers just can't unravel bad merges and bad data changes without human intervention. The incorrect display of ordinance information in this specific case is totally due to someone screwing up a merge (or merges). The software is behaving correctly.
Garbage in, Garbage out.0
Jeff Wiseman said: By the way, this same scenario could occur on any number of the other certified programs or sites like Ancestry that basically use links to perform comparisons through.0
W David Samuelsen said: Jeff, some are practically lost. I discovered my 8th great grandmother's ordinances that were done in 1950s, had been totally replaced with ones done just last year! Non-recoverable. Good thing I have Archive copy with stamped dates and temple code to prove they were done earlier.0
Jeff Wiseman said: Yea, that's the type of thing I've seen. ordinances that were done in 1928 that were still showing in the system just a couple of years ago, and now all of a sudden, they show up as being completed just recently. That does get a bit concerning.
Since it appears to somehow be obvious duplication, I have usually not pursued it further unless there were obvious merging problems. Merging incorrectly does just mess up lots of things though.0
Don M Thomas said: I have ran into the same problem like W David Samuelsen, where I know for certain by old family group sheets that the work has been done before. It does not bother me though if the dates have been changed, in that I just look to see that there are dates showing on all the Ordinances. My 4th Great Uncle Thomas Thomas was showing that he was baptized into the Church in 1838 or 1841 (can't remember) while he was still living. I questioned this early date in that he was living in Washington County, Virginia and sent in a case that I can not find on my case list now. (Need to look better I guess). Anyway, "Support" e-mailed me back stating that was an error. I knew all the work had been done in 1885 or there about, by a ggg Aunt that joined the church and moved to Ogden, Utah. This Aunt was the first to join the Church in the Thomas family. Anyway I see now this Thomas Thomas is showing a date of 5 Dec 1972 Ogden, Utah so the work has been done once again. Oh, under Thomas Thomas notes it shows - "Note
X Record Shows Baptism to be 23 Feb 1838
Last Changed: 26 August 2013 by Unknown 4470317."0
Kristi Etherington said: We are aware of an issue related to sealing to spouse and sealing to parent ordinances. We are working to resolve this soon.0
JT said: This has now apparently been fixed, at least by a quick look at my fan chart in ordinances mode - my 3 generations of pioneer ancestors now have their sealings done (in 1897 & 1920).
But it sure would be nice if FamilySearch could indicate what action (if any they know of) was taken to resolve this serious issue. Or at least to indicate from their end that it's been solved.0
Kristi Etherington said: The sealing to spouse and sealing to parent ordinance problem we saw a couple days ago has been mostly fixed since late Thursday, July 23rd. We still are investigating a few instances which appear to still have a problem.0
I just found out this happened to many of my names. I wish this could be resolved. Some of the merges were done by other people and the temple work is no longer there. Is there anyway that merging not effect the ordinances already done? I know that you need to merge to the name that shows the ordinance, but there are many non members merging names too, they dont know about temple ordinances. It doesn't show on their familysearch accounts. I can tell there are at least dozens of ordinance ive done(with much sacrifice) that now show as available to do.
It's dissapointing and discouraging. Im a convert and have many names to do. That puts me way behind. It used to be that merging kept the ordinances no matter the what way the merge went. Why did that change?0
@McPhersonJennifer1 Merging never loses ordinances. The direction of a merge has no effect on the display of ordinances. Nothing has changed.
Something else is going on if ordinances you are sure you have done are showing as available.
You need to go to the Temple category under FamilySearch Help here in communities (https://community.familysearch.org/en/categories/temple ) and post specific examples with ID numbers of several of these people whose ordinances are missing. The moderators there are really good about tracking down these sorts of problems but they do need those specific examples.2