Trivia: Why do records keep showing up for people who are not in the ward anymore?

Discuss basic duties of stake and ward clerks, including where to begin.
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daddy-o-p40
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Trivia: Why do records keep showing up for people who are not in the ward anymore?

Postby daddy-o-p40 » Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:02 pm

Trivia: Have ever wondered why may get the same record sent to your ward several times over the course of a year?

The answer is simple. There are some well intentioned volunteers which search public record data for people who the church has lost track of.

When they find the last known whereabouts in these public records they shoot the records off to ward they belong to. That's the best they can do with the information they have.

To stop the never ending loop just send the records back to Church Headquarters (CHQ) with no address specified. In the comments section write something like this:

*** DO NOT SEND THIS RECORD BACK TO OUR WARD ***
We have verified this person/family moved out long ago. Check with family members for current whereabouts.

Hope this helps.
"What have I done for someone today?" Thomas Monson

jbh001
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Postby jbh001 » Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:29 pm

I recall running across a policy once from MLS or elsewhere that stated something to the effect that if the unit had lost contact with a person (i.e. they no longer have a valid telephone number or address) the records should remain in the unit instead of being sent to Address Unknown file and that the unit should continue to make attempts to get a valid address and telephone number.

I remember my reaction at the time was that on some levels, that made sense, and on other levels it did not. I only every remember seeing that directive once.

I had assumed that when records where sent out and then boomeranged back into the unit several weeks or months later that this policy was the reason.

Does anyone else remember seeing any policy like this? Could this policy have been sent out and then been quietly rescinded? Or have I just read something hopelessly wrong?

FWIW, I usually send a first class letter to the last known address before moving records out.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:15 pm

jbh001 wrote:Does anyone else remember seeing any policy like this?


I don't. I do remember a time when the "address unknown" required filling out a form with check boxes stating what had been done to try and locate the members. Some of it seemed like reasonable effort to me (check 411, call last phone number, visit last address, etc. That seems to have gone away.

Last time I checked into the process it I don't remember any criteria.

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Postby daddy-o-p40 » Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:26 pm

jbh001,

You are right. I am talking about records that keep returning years after people have been gone AND after all possible attempts (mail, locator service, etc.) have been exhausted.

In one case I kept getting the records back for one individual. On a whim I checked the obituaries databases online (while wearing my geneology hat) and discovered he had died. So I recorded his death. Mystery solved.

So I added checking obituaries to my routine. The big surprise was this guy was only 37 when he died. I let the Bishop know and his non-member wife and kids were participating with us for a while until they moved.

But I have had two instances already where people with the same name and birth year as non-members have their records sent to us repeatedly. Kind of wish the address unknwon researchers were a bit more precise as it creates a lot of work/confusion on our end.

But, yes it is always important to try everything before sending records to address unknown.
"What have I done for someone today?" Thomas Monson

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Postby lajackson » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:14 pm

If CHQ thinks the member lives in your ward or branch, you will keep getting the membership record back. The best way to keep it gone is to include a note, even if it is a general one, that the member has moved to Timbuktu, or wherever.

I once had to call on a record and tell SL that the aunt may think the member lived in our city, but that the member had actually live there and gone on to another city, and to please not send the record back just because the aunt thought the member was here.

It worked.

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daddy-o-p40
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Postby daddy-o-p40 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:04 pm

lajackson, yep it does. Given I am often doing membership work after they are closed I prefer to just do the "*** DO NOT SEND THIS RECORD BACK TO OUR WARD ***" I mentioned in the prior reply.
"What have I done for someone today?" Thomas Monson

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ffrsqpilot
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Postby ffrsqpilot » Fri May 09, 2008 9:07 am

If you have kept all your MLS messages, or can find a ward that has, there was a message sent on 1 November 2005 that addressed this very issue.

You can place a hold on a membership record that keeps coming back to your ward by using the MLS messaging system. We had this problem with several memberships that kept coming back to our ward. After we placed a hold on the record with Salt Lake they ceased coming back.

Hope this helps.

champted
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Getting current postal addresses for (former) ward members

Postby champted » Sun May 11, 2008 4:47 pm

Something we have found helpful is to add the line:
RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
just beneath the return address on a first-class letter addressed to the last known postal address of the member. If they have a P.O. box, send it there, not to their street address (I always check on the membership record to see if the mailing address is different than the street address; that is fairly common here in rural northern NY state).

If they have moved and the U.S. Postal Service has a forwarding address for them, USPS will return the mail piece to the return address, with the forwarding address on it, usually on a yellow sticker on the bottom right front. If you don't put "RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED" under the return address, the mail piece will be forwarded, and you won't find out where, unless the member chooses to write back and tell you.

If they have moved and USPS has no forwarding address, USPS will return the mail piece to the return address with that indication on it.

Hope this helps.

lajackson
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Postby lajackson » Sun May 11, 2008 4:54 pm

champted wrote:Something we have found helpful is to add the line:
RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
... If they have moved and the U.S. Postal Service has a forwarding address for them, USPS will return the mail piece to the return address, with the forwarding address on it, ...


This is correct and is what SHOULD happen. I would just caution that sometimes the mail piece is forwarded, or the member has not moved. So make sure that what you put in the envelope is appropriate.

I usually include a short note to the effect that we have missed the member and hope to make contact with them soon. Something kind and generic.

baxdrum-p40
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Postby baxdrum-p40 » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:39 am

The problem with the never ending returns is that these members impact our numbers for the quarterly reports. We have a very small ward and when we are carrying 40 people with whereabouts unknown on our roles, we are impacted. I continue to send these back to the "black hole" and state, "moved, forwarding address unknown."


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