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Requesting Copies of Patriarchal Blessings

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 09, 2012

The process for requesting copies of patriarchal blessings (either your own, or for a direct-line ancestor) has changed since I last wrote about it a few years ago. Here’s the current process, much easier for you at a distance because it can now be done via email.

Visit the Patriarchal Blessing Requests page at the Church History Library. This page provides general information on requesting blessings, and a link to the actual online order form. Among other details, note:

1. You can request blessings for yourself and deceased direct-line ancestors only [actually, although the website doesn't say one way or the other, I think you can also request your children's and grandchildren's blessings; I'll find out when the Library is open and update this post]. This means you cannot ask for your brothers’ and sisters’ blessings, or your aunts’ and uncles’ blessings, but you can request those for parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. (If any of these direct-line ancestors are still living, you cannot request their blessings.)

2. The linked page requests quite a bit of information. You probably won’t know it all (who knows the name of the patriarch who blessed your grandparents?), but do provide as much information as possible to assist in recognizing your blessing among the three or four million that are on file.

3. Before you can request a blessing, you need to have an LDS Account.

You already have one if you have used New Family Search recently, or bought anything from the Church’s online store, or logged onto your ward’s or stake’s website. In that case, you just need to remember your login name and your password.

If you don’t have an LDS Account, or don’t remember your password, you will need to set up an account on this page. To do that, you’ll need your membership number and the date of your confirmation (both obtainable from your ward clerk)

The Church uses the LDS Account login, in this case, to be sure you’re who you claim to be and therefore have a right to the blessings. If you have a special case or any problem — perhaps you are not LDS (and therefore have no membership number) but wish to see your LDS grandmother’s blessing — there is a telephone number on the linked page so that you can call for help.

There is no charge for blessings. They will be mailed — not emailed; please don’t ask to have them emailed. The Church asks that you requesy no more than four blessings in any month.



9 Comments »

  1. Thank you. I was just looking around for a link about this for Julia. This can be valuable information for certain types of family history research.

    Do you by chance know what information they need in order to provide an ancestor’s blessing? Any proof of descent? I’ve never actually ordered any patriarchal blessings, although I know they can be valuable for listing some basic family history information.

    Comment by Amy T — August 9, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

  2. A couple of months ago I ordered my great-grandparents and great-great grandparents’ blessings. The info they request is direct ancestor’s name and maiden name, their parent’s names, their birthdate, and your relationship to them. Those are the “required” items though there is provision made if they are unknown. It was really painless and very easy!

    We also ordered some of my husband’s and there was a question on one of his great-grandmothers {we had put in the wrong mother – polygamous family} so they sent an e-mail verifying information. Also the birthdate on his grandmother’s blessing was wrong so an e-mail was sent to us asking to verify her birthdate again. In replying to the e-mail we mentioned her exact birthdate as well as family members and their birthdates and were able to prove that if the birthdate listed on the patriarchal blessing was correct she would have been older than her older brother. The fact that her older brother was President Hinckley also helped to quickly verify all information. :) When we received the copy of the blessing they also sent the request page with important info highlighted. If it doesn’t quite match there is a check mark with a handwritten “okay” next to it.

    Another fascinating thing was to see some ancestors with two or three patriarchal blessings. They sent all that were on record. Also we noticed those given by the same patriarchs used much of the same language – whole sentences even in different patriarchal blessings. John Smith almost always started and ended the blessings he gave with the same three to four sentences. At least they were the same for my ancestors and my husband’s. It did make it easier to decipher once we figured that out. There was a change in the scribe. The earlier ones for both of our ancestors were harder to read while the later ones the handwriting was impeccable {though the spelling was not!}.

    Comment by Chocolate on my Cranium — August 9, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

  3. Your LDS Account log-in ties you to your membership record, just as it does when you use it to log in to New Family Search … which means that you’re tied into your pedigree so that they can verify that someone whose blessing you’ve requested is your direct-line ancestor. At least I assume that’s the way it works since they’ve gone to this process; I don’t have any insider knowledge.

    Thanks, Chocolate, for giving your personal experience so we see how it all works on a practical level. While I haven’t requested any blessings under this process, I did gather the blessings of my ancestors a few years ago and I recognize that you and I had the same eager interest in examining them. In one case I recognized the handwriting as my great aunt’s — she apparently served as scribe for all her family’s blessings. That was a bonus discovery, in addition to what the blessings said.

    And I suppose we should note that that not everyone sought patriarchal blessings, and it’s possible that some patriarchs didn’t turn in their records. You have to be prepared for the possibility of disappointment.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 9, 2012 @ 11:55 pm

  4. Thank you for this info. When my son gets back, we can sit down and I will let him decide where he wants to start.

    I do have a question about the New Family Search. Is that like the Family Search I was using 15+ years ago? I know there was some kind of transition when I was in the middle of pregnancies and nursing babies. My mom had me give her copies of all the genealogy that we had done, to make sure it all got put in the new system. Does that mean I should be able to go into the new system and find it, or do I need to either find a computer that has a floppy drive or retype in the printed out sheets?

    I REALLY appreciate the comments and suggestions from everyone. I knew about the new way to get patriarchal blessings since my copy got lost in a move last year, and my mom couldn’t find where the originals are for all of the siblings. (I am sure they will show up after all of us have requested them for some reason or another.) I am glad to know that it is similar for ancestors.

    When you talk to them tomorrow, if the church does allow people to get the blessings of children and grandchildren, I would be interested to know if there is a way to stop a parent from having access and what that process might be.

    I was reading an incest survivors blog, a few months ago, that talked about the person reading the file on the excommunication proceedings of the grandfather who was her molester. Is that something that direct descendants have access to after someone is dead, like a patriarchal blessing? She didn’t say how she had obtained the records, and she didn’t respond to my question in the comments section.

    I want to truly thank you again for being helpful AND encouraging. I am several weeks post spinal surgery, so if I drop off the earth for a few days, please don’t feel like I am ignoring you, or ungrateful for answers or suggestions. It takes me a couple days to recover from driving 3 hours round trip for every test or follow up, and there will be several smaller procedures that they will do before the next big surgery.

    The silver lining had been that leaves me with tons of time to finish editing some journals that I have been condensing into something managable for my children when they are older. I have also haf more time to try to tackle some of the family history questions, but it is hard to predict when the next issue will come up that takes the wind out of me for a while. So far my ancestors seem to be understanding that I haven’t done much genealogy for at least ten years.

    I am glad that even if I am out of it I can browse the old advertisement section for giggles, and it doesn’t matter if my brain gets sideways, as long as I don’t comment. ;-)

    Julia
    poetrysansonions.blogspot.com

    Comment by Julia — August 10, 2012 @ 3:19 am

  5. Julia, New Family Search is the same basic idea as the older one (that is, it’s a compilation of individual records and pedigrees, has the data on temple ordinances, etc.), but its appearance and the number of records it contains is much changed. You should be able to find the information your mother submitted, but the screen looks very different and you’ll have to play around a little until it gets familiar.

    A question about restricting access to blessings is definitely a special circumstance that you’ll have to ask about yourself, using the phone number that is on the request page linked to above. If that is even an option, be prepared for it not to be easy to implement. Nobody would want an ex-spouse to cut them out from access out of mere spite, so — if they allow it at all — it wouldn’t be done with merely a telephone request.

    Records of church disciplinary hearings, whether they result in excommunication or complete clearance, or anything in between, are some of the most closely protected records in the Church library. It doesn’t matter how long ago an event occurred, or whether you’re the direct descendant, or what, the Church simply does not allow access to those records. They never have. In the case you mention, someone either had access to the personal papers of the excommunicated ancestor who wrote about it in his diary or a similar private record, or to newspaper coverage (in the past as well as today, some excommunicated persons do go to the press and tell at least their own side of the story), or was fibbing. Absolutely, they did not get copies of any such records from the Church itself. Didn’t happen, won’t happen.

    Best wishes for your recovery from surgery.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 10, 2012 @ 6:47 am

  6. Hi!! I would like to now how long does it take to get a patriarchal blessing.. I lost it 9 years ago and I want to read it.. thanks!!

    Comment by Kimberly Cordova — February 20, 2013 @ 8:11 pm

  7. Kimberly, if you were to call them on the phone, they’d tell you to allow up to two months. In reality, they’re mailed out two or three weeks after you request it — they can’t give you a definite date, because it depends on how many requests they get that.

    But after nine years, what’s a couple of weeks, right? :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 20, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

  8. How do I get my lost patriachal blessing copy

    Comment by gabriel g.nwainokpor — October 2, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

  9. Gabriel, the process of requesting a copy of your blessing has changed since this article was written.

    You can now request your blessing online, by visiting this website operated by the Church. You will need to sign in using your LDS Account — if you don’t have one or have forgotten your password, ask your bishop or ward clerk for help.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 2, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

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