In some situations, because of a lack of records or currently living persons who knew the deceased, some people have died without anyone in the modern world knowing (i.e. someone was born long ago on a farm, outside of a hospital, & died without a marriage, so no papers of them exist.) Is there anything we can do for these people to receive ordinances in the temple, especially in situations where we have good reason to believe that they existed? (i.e. word of mouth from ancestors)
Let me start off by saying that part of your question was already answered. How will temple work be done for those without any records?
There are literally millions of Heavenly Father’s children who have existed here, upon this earth, who have no written records of their existence. But just because there is no record of their life, it does not mean they will be denied access to those saving ordinances which are performed in the temples. The Lord remembers all of His children.
Without having a specific name, date, or place for individuals, ordinances cannot be performed because there is not a record. However, there is some leeway when you are doing temple work for family members. There are a number of resources that you can use as proof of life that are not your primary vital records.
When doing family history work, normally there has to be proof of a person’s existence through vital records. Typically these records are recorded at the time of the event and give an accurate date. These type of records are good to use because they are usually accurate. However, even they are only as reliable as the person who gave the information for the event. For example, a grandson may give the information for his grandmother’s death certificate and says, “I think her maiden name was Smith.” The name of Smith goes on her death certificate as a fact, even though her maiden name was Johns.
You mentioned that you have good reason to believe they existed, however, word of mouth from ancestors is not enough. At least not at this time. Sometimes family legends get taken as fact, but are not reliable or accurate. Is the individual you are searching for mentioned in letters, diaries, family bibles? Have you exhausted all conventional resources to find them, i.e. cemeteries, census records, wills, newspapers, etc.?
The best resource for you in your search for family names to take to the temple is your local family history library and consultants. They can answer many of your questions and help you in your research. If you find something they cannot help you with, they can call the Family History Library in Salt Lake and you can find help there.
Family history work is a work that is completed with help from both sides of the veil. As you prayerfully research the individual you believe is missing, help and inspiration will come to you and you will be able to find what you need to complete their work.