Baptism for the Dead

Baptism for the Dead

This is primarily for LDS users of Ancestral Quest, because it shows how to find people who have not been baptized. For those who have a non-LDS FamilySearch account, the process works about the same way, but it happens faster. Non-LDS accounts skip the step where they check to see what ordinances have already been performed for these people. It is a good way to find possible collateral “cousins.”


Phase 1

Have you, as a parent, a youth leader or as a youth, ever been asked to provide a list of names of people for baptisms for the dead? How could you create such a list using Ancestral Quest? This is how I would do it. We’ll start with a new dedicated file containing no records. We will first import the descendants of a person we have pre-selected, Dennis Eidson. On your file, this would be some direct line ancestor, possibly an end-of-line person, about whom you have reliable documentation. The instructions which follow assume you have already gone through the login process.


We click on the FamilySearch tab and select Import Family Lines.


We click on Download Descendants of FamilySearch Person, and enter his FS PID. We specify how many generations to download, and click on Import. I use 7 because I want a large file for demonstration purposes. If you are at a FamilySearch Library, or Family History Center, you will probably not have enough time to wait for that large collection of records. I suggest only 3 or 4 generations until you see the dynamics of your particular family.


Ancestral Quest asks us to verify that we want to import Dennis Eidson and up to 7 generations of his descendants, so we click Yes.


Family Tree begins sending us the requested records, and Ancestral Quest builds the file and makes the correct family linkages. This is where we wait patiently. Family Tree will send the records of Dennis Eidson, and all of his deceased descendants, which are in the Family Tree. Ancestral Quest keeps us informed about where it is in this process.


Here is the same screen after about an hour and a half of processing. Two hours? I didn’t really time it, so this is a guesstimate. Compare this with the screen immediately above it. After importing the first ten records, Ancestral Quest was estimating an expected 151,273 records. In the more recent screen, 4,020 records have been imported, and the estimate has dropped to 8,296. if we had requested only one generation of descendants, AQ would have started with an estimate of 12 people, two parents, five children, and five spouses. If we had requested two generations of descendants, AQ would have added five children to each of those married children couples, 25. Each child would be expected to have a spouse, another 25, so AQ would have estimated 62 people. For each family with more or fewer than five children, the estimate needs to be re-calculated for all of the remaining generations. Here we show that we are importing someone from the 6th generation of descendants, and the blue bar has moved almost half of the way across the window. For each generation you add to the request, you can expect approximately a doubling of the number of records to be returned, and the time it will take to do it. The key word here is approximately.


Now the process of importing names is nearly complete. At that point, non-LDS accounts will be ready to start removing duplicates from this file in preparation for comparing it to their actual file. I would recommend using this file as a source for hints. Do your own research on the accuracy of what you find.


If you have an LDS account, this process will begin. Each imported name will be checked against the record of ordinances performed, and that information will be inserted into your AQ file. This does not currently include Confirmation or Initiatory ordinance information. I timed this process, and saw that in 60 seconds, 50 records were updated. This could vary with the amount of activity on the FamilySearch system, and possibly with the speed of your internet connection. In theory, I can expect about four more hours of processing before this file is completely updated. You may want to download fewer than 7 generations. At the end of this process I didn’t get a picture of the screen which reports the time used and how many ordinance updates were completed, but it took a long time, and it did lots of work.

Phase 2

Now we want to find which of the people in the new file need baptism. It will help to have a permanent record, so we will build a report to list them. The things we need to think about are that they must be eligible to be baptized or endowed, not yet baptized, the gender we want, and born before 1905. It is 2015 at the time this is being posted, so that accounts for the 110 year rule. We will first define the report. Note the blue numbers by the red boxes. These indicate the order in which I will do things.


Starting with (1) at the top, the Printer Icon will bring up the Reports and Charts menu. We will click on the (2) Custom tab so that we can select the fields and the sort order for the report. We will change the (3) Title to “Males Eligible for Baptism.” Next we will select the (4) Fields to show on the report, and the (5) Sort Order. When we know what the report will look like, we can (6) Select the proper records. We want this to be a (7) Text File, so we push that radio button. This allows us to place the .txt file on the Desktop for future reference. At that point, we will be ready to (8) Print the report, which in our case will write it to a file on the Desktop.

Steps 4, 5 and 6 are easier to understand if you see how it is done, so here is step 4. Click on Fields.


On the Report Fields screen, the (1) Vertical Slider allows you to browse through the list of Possible Fields. The (2) Greater Than button allows you to move Possible Fields to the Selected Columns list. When you have selected the fields for the report, click the (3) OK button.

Next, back on the Reports and Charts menu, click the (5) Sort Order button.


Click on RIN and use the Greater Than button to tell AQ to sort the report into RIN order. Click OK.

Now, back on the Reports and Charts screen, we are ready to let AQ select the records we want, and report them to us. Click on (6) Select.


We are going to tell AQ how to select records for the report. Click Define.


The Field Filtering screen is where we tell Ancestral Quest how to select the records for our report. Use the Vertical Slider to find the fields to be examined. Use the Greater Than button to move fields from the Possible Fields list into the Current Filter list. The first field we need to examine is near the bottom of the Possible Fields list, Qualified for Baptism/Endowment. We want to include people who are qualified for individual ordinances. Highlight that item, and click the Greater Than button to include it in  the list of filtering statements. Select IS. We have more filtering statements, so we click on AND, and click Greater Than. We want to follow the 110 year rule, so from those already accepted, we narrow it down to those born earlier than 1905. Use the Vertical Slider to find Birth Date, and highlight it. Click the Greater Than button. From the pull down menu select Is Less Than, and enter 1905. We have more conditions to narrow the list, so highlight AND, then click the Greater Than button. The first filtering item on the list accepted people who are qualified for either baptism or endowment or both. We want to exclude those who have already had a baptism and are awaiting endowment. Use the Vertical Slider to go down the Possible Fields list to LDS Baptism Date. Highlight that item and click Greater Than. On the pull down menu, select Does Not Exist. There is one more thing we will probably want to do to narrow down the list, so add AND to the list. These lists are typically to be used by someone in the Young Men or Young Women organization. These are gender specific, so we will use the Vertical Slider to find Sex. Highlight that and click Greater Than. Here we can select Matches Male or Matches Female. For demonstration purposes, we will select Matches Male.

Our list is narrowed down to those we want on the report, so we will Save this list. That way we can Retrieve it and use it again at some future date when more records are in our file, or possibly with a different file. Give the selection criteria a name, and click Save. We are returned to the Select Set of Individuals screen, where we click OK.


Ancestral Quest found 225 males qualified for baptism. Click OK, and return to the Reports and Charts screen. We want the report to go to the Desktop, so be sure that the (7) Text File radio button is selected, and click (8) Print.


We want to see the report, so click Yes.


When you select a .txt file, AQ writes it in CSV format. CSV is an acronym for Comma Separated Values. This type file can be imported into a spreadsheet. If we had elected to Preview or Print the report instead of creating a .txt file, it would have looked like this.


Phase 3

This would be a good time to check into the quality of the information you have received. Did the previous submitters have sources to verify the information they have entered? Are date ranges consistent with the records to which they are linked? Are you convinced by what you see that the information is reliable? Can you provide source information which is missing on the records you have downloaded?

Now that we have a list of those who are initially qualified according to the data in our AQ file, we need to go through the procedure for reserving the baptismal ordinance. It is likely that some of the names on our report will not be qualified from the point of view of the church. There are multiple reasons why this might be the case. The person you downloaded into your .aq file may have one or more duplicate records on the Family Tree. One or more of these duplicates may have already received baptism. Part of the reservation process is to merge duplicate records on the Family Tree. The person you downloaded or another person on the Family Tree whom you merged with your linked person may not have an LDS Baptism Date, but that ordinance may have been reserve by someone else and not yet performed. In that case, the Family Tree software will not allow you to reserve that ordinance. I am telling you this so that you will understand why you should next select more than the 10 or 15 records you want to place on an FOR, Family Ordinance Request. We don’t know how many will be in this situation, so to make a list of 10 to be baptized, we will select the first 30 from our report. The RIN for the first person is 18, and the RIN for the 30th is 2818.

We begin the process by clicking on the FamilySearch tab and selecting Ordinance Reservation and Tracking System. You will need to enter your usercode and password to gain access to the Family Tree.

Here we will click on Reserve Ordinances.


We want to use our previously defined set of criteria, so click on Add Selected Local Record(s).


To do that we will select Advanced Filter/Focus.


We need to retrieve our selection criteria, so we click Define.


We will retrieve the Filter we saved before.


We scroll down to the the filter we created, Qual4BaptMale, highlight it, and click Open.


This is the filter which gave us our report, but now we want to narrow it down to the first 30 people on the report.


We insert another AND, and highlight RIN in the Possible Fields list. Click on Greater Than, and enter the range from 18 to 2818, which represents the first 30 people on the list. Click OK.


Thirty records have been selected. Click OK.


Ancestral Quest begins retrieving the current temple status on each record.


We see that all but 4 of the records still have no baptism date, and are eligible for baptism in the church’s point of view. Now we begin the process of reserving baptisms. We start by highlighting the first name which indicates it can have baptism reserved, and we click Check for Dups.


I see nothing to convince me that this is the same person, so I click Close.


Ancestral Quest shows that I have checked for duplicates, so I click Reserve.


We note that the ordinances will be assigned to Me. This means that any ordinances we reserve will not be released to temples for them to perform. They will remain on my reserved list. We check the boxes labeled Baptism and Confirmation, then we click Reserve.


If we are not aware of Church Policies governing reservation of ordinances, we can click the View Church Policies button and read them. After you have read them, you click the I have read… button, then click Continue.


Ancestral Quest shows that these ordinances are on my reserved ordinance list, and that they are ready to be selected to be placed on an FOR. I continue highlighting names, checking for duplicates and reserving ordinances.


I have found a person with a matching record on Family Tree. This is a duplicate of the record to which I have linked for this person, and I need to merge them in the Family Tree. I click the Match box, and click Merge. I could have had more than one matching record. In that case I would have clicked the Match box for the next matching record, and again clicked Merge. I would continue that process until I found no more matching Family Tree records.


I agree with the actions that will be taken, so I Merge the two Family Tree records. I attempt to reserve ordinances, but…


…I see that the baptism and confirmation were already completed on the record which I merged, so I click Cancel.


Ancestral Quest shows that the ordinances are Complete, and does not mark the record as Ready to be included on an FOR. I continue checking for duplicates and reserving ordinances until I have the 10 that I needed for my list.


When that is done, I go to the bottom of the Reserve Ordinances/Create Batches screen and click Create FOR. The church will create the FOR and send it to your computer. Print it, and take it to the temple.


Before you leave, click on the Remove button, and click the All Records (Start Over) radio button, and Remove them from the Reserve Ordinances list. This will speed up using the Reserve Ordinances/Create Batches screen next time.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment Below. I would like to hear from you!

Modified 2015-03-29

1 Comment

  1. charlotte redding

    Dale, thank you so much, read through it all and am anxious to try it. Wish me luck

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