We demonstrate a new method of using ultrasound data to achieve prospective motion compensation in MRI, especially for respiratory motion during interventional MRI procedures in moving organs such as the liver. The method relies on fingerprint-like biometrically distinct ultrasound echo patterns produced by different locations in tissue, which are collated with geometrical information from MRI during a training stage to form a mapping table that relates ultrasound measurements to positions. During prospective correction, the system makes frequent ultrasound measurements and uses the map to determine the corresponding position. Results in motorized linear motion phantoms and freely breathing animals indicate that the system performs well. Apparent motion is reduced by up to 97.8%, and motion artifacts are reduced or eliminated in two-dimensional spoiled gradient-echo images. The motion compensation is sufficient to permit MRI thermometry of focused ultrasound heating during respiratory-like motion, with results similar to those obtained in the absence of motion. This new technique may have applications for MRI thermometry and other dynamic imaging in the abdomen during free breathing. Magn Reson Med 69:1023–1033, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.