Personal Ancestral File (PAF)

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by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Personal Ancestral File has been available free for many years and has a large following. The LDS stopped offering PAF downloads or support on July 15, 2013. The final version is (2005) and is still available at Parowan Software.

Unsupported • Windows • Full Featured
Overall634.67 out of 54.67 out of 54.67 out of 54.67 out of 54.67 out of 5 4.67
20171    No Ratings
2016134.62 out of 54.62 out of 54.62 out of 54.62 out of 54.62 out of 5 4.62
Earlier494.77 out of 54.77 out of 54.77 out of 54.77 out of 54.77 out of 5 4.77

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63 Reviews of Personal Ancestral File (PAF)     RSS 2.0 RSS     Showing 1 - 20                   Add Your Review

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Jeff Stoker,  Jan 5, 2017

Not Rated

Its a Good Program

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Don,  Dec 10, 2016

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

I give it a 4 because there are other programs that have many more toots and whistles. That said, it is still the best and easiest program I have ever used and I say without stopping to count, that I have used 6 or more different programs over the last 41 years of research.
One review said the program would not handle anything over 10,000 very well but I have a database of over 43,000 individuals and it works far better than the one LDS steered me to, Legacy, which I am led to believe may be the programmers that built the program for LDS. Unless I buy the Legacy program, it is missing a lot of very functional things I and I would think many, would want in a program, and is included in PAF.
I just downloaded a fresh copy of the file because the illustrious Microsoft has messed up my computer badly and in the process, wiped a lot of my programs and files or caused them to no longer function properly, including changing my settings which prevent me from changing things back as they were.

Biggest Pro: all pro
Biggest Con: none worth mentioning

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Pat Wilson,  Nov 26, 2016

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

This was my first genealogy software. When the LDS stopped supporting, I switched to Family Tree Maker. That was cumbersome to use and when FTM was discontinued, I looked at others. I keep coming back to my PAF software. It is easy use and gives me everything I need. Would love to see them bring this back.

Biggest Pro: Ease of use
Biggest Con: Cant think of any

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by D. Rose,  Sep 30, 2016

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

Love, Love it. Easy for other family members to use across all generations!!! I payed to try a few others after PAF was dropped…I would rather use the unsupported PAF. Very sad

Biggest Pro: Everything
Biggest Con: none compared to to other software

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Julie Grant,  Aug 28, 2016

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

I loved PAF. Then, they stopped supporting it. I had no problem until one day, it wouldn’t show up on my computer. I did purchase PAF 5 online last month. Then, I got it to come back up, but it is now a “read only” file. I can’t add or take away, and what good is that now? I have some family history near to the year 1500, but I can’t access it to do anything. I never did like (thus the “4″ rating) the lack of being able to print out everything I put on the system. I had to individually print each person or family, but not the whole family information - i.e., individual, direct line, family group sheets, etc. with one print command. With so much genealogy, Printing would take days doing it by individual. My main problem now is not being able to change it from a “read only” file. Cany help out there?

Biggest Pro: Simple, easy, best program all around.
Biggest Con: Having to print my information individually instead of one printing of all my entries & their information.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Michael Andrews,  Aug 21, 2016

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

I have been using PAF ever since I started using a computer for genealogy in 1991. I have found it easy to use and for what I want does all I need. The GEDCOM feature is excellent.

Biggest Pro: Simplicity and versatile on a number of operating systems.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by ron ward,  Aug 14, 2016

Not Rated

wasthe best

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by David,  Aug 12, 2016

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

Beginning genealogists should not be intimidated by lack of support for PAF It’s free. It still works quite well, even on Windows 10. Even for beginners. Especially for beginners. It’s got a good old-fashioned help file, not some online website somewhere. You don’t have to be connected to the internet to use it. It’s not perfect by any means, but I haven’t found a better free genealogy program. Most free ones are crippled versions of software they really want you to pay for. If you have no intention of paying to upgrade, you’re going to be disappointed.

A few PAF operations are a bit more awkward than they should be, but all common operations are very intuitive. I do recommend that you keep your trees small. A program is more likely to break the more data you try to stuff into memory. If you get beyond 10,000 names you may have trouble running other software with it, and these days you need a good web browser too. Plus you may need a notepad-type editor and a pdf reader open at the same time.

You probably won’t understand how good PAF is until you try to find a replacement. There are lots of genealogy programs out there that either aren’t as intuitive or don’t do half of what PAF can do. There are no limitations of how many children a couple can have, or limitations on how many spouses a person can have. The only limitations on how many people it can hold is how daring you are and how much memory you have. You can add custom attributes and events and even change or add additional templates with the fields you actually use.

Yes, a marriage has to have a male and a female, but I haven’t found that to be a problem in actual practice. (If you really want to code a homosexual relationship, you have to lie and tell the program that one person is the wrong sex.)

The worst limitation you will encounter in actual practice is that an adoption has to indicate both parents of a marriage. For instance, if a man marries a previously married woman and adopts the children of her previous marriage, the woman ends up with two connections to her children, one biological through her former marriage and one adoptive. Livable, but not ideal. The other situation that you may actually encounter is an unblessed union that produces children. Simply put “Not married” in the marriage date or location field and otherwise pretend that it’s a marriage. If a couple has a child before marriage, there’s no problem entering the dates. You’ll get a warning that you can simply ignore.

The only things PAF really can’t do are query online genealogy databases or automatically give you hints like Ancestry . com. For that you’re going to have to resort to paying for your software. Also, if you have lots of pictures and multimedia, you probably want a more advanced program. For a beginner or a dabbler who doesn’t want to pay for genealogy software, I recommend PAF. For those on a budget, it’s more important to have a subscription to ancestry . com.

Biggest Pro: Intuitive GUI, flexible data handling, full featured, real help, free.
Biggest Con: Unsupported, no advanced internet support, a few awkward but livable limitations.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Ann,  Jun 5, 2016

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

Faye J Felthouse, Feb 9, 2016, at the top of this page of the GenSoftReviews there is link to Parowan Software that takes you to a site that you can download the PAF software. It is the last version of the software and if you have the last version you might wish to download and save in separate disk or USB drive.

Nothing can take the place of PAF software!

Biggest Pro: Everything about the software!
Biggest Con: Nothing

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by TSM,  Jun 4, 2016

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

Best one around. Rock solid. To bad they stooped supporting it..

Biggest Pro: solid
Biggest Con: no enhancements

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Brian Worboys,  May 1, 2016

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

Have used it from the start of my research, it has performed faultlessly and does everything I need.
No being able to install it when I change my computer would be a disaster.
In answer to a previous poster, you can do partial Gedcoms !

Biggest Pro: Intuitive and easy to use.
Biggest Con: Haven’t found any

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by James,  Apr 17, 2016

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

Love all the various charts and reports,

Biggest Pro: Speller and repetitive places
Biggest Con: Need male and female to make a family unit

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Cynthia Beverforden,  Apr 17, 2016

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

Have used it for years.

Biggest Pro: Love the flexibility
Biggest Con: none

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Faye J Felthouse,  Feb 9, 2016

2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

I would like to download PAF 5 I used it 5 years ago I got Alan M to upload as I had lung cancer, but I survived! Can I do this still to save all my family history there’s so much work I would lose if I can’t download then go to Family Search

Biggest Pro: I could save heaps
Biggest Con: More than that

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Robert EGERTON,  Dec 30, 2015

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

I really need help…
I used PAF from back in the 90s and now I guess there are replacements I should try ….
So far the ones I downloaded have been completely different and at 82 I’m struggling…
I’m still running my PAF but should I really change???

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by marianne brocail,  Dec 18, 2015

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

Marianne brocail

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by foro,  Oct 23, 2015

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

This software was, is and remain the best of all genealogical products.

I used PAF during 15 years, without problem on Windows 95 to Windows 7.
But when my file reached 40′000 persons, I lost data (mainly a mother, why ?).
This problem was solved with a computer at 32 Go RAM on Windows 8 (instead 8 Go).

Now I have more than 90′000 persons on my main PAF file, without lost of data.

But other problems come with Windows 8.1 :
a) the program shut down suddainly (without lost of data)
b) I can display only date and place of birth on the Individual list.
If I add columns for other events, all columns remain blank, execpt RIN & Full Name-

=> This is the only reason for me to search an other software.
(maybe with others bad surprise…)

I regrets - but understand - the decision of LDS to stop devlopment for PAF.
Microsoft was the killer of the excellent WordPerfect for Windos.

Wy LDS will not give the source code of PAF to an Open Source organization ?

My computer

Biggest Pro: free & unlimited

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Philip Sherlock,  Sep 21, 2015

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

Like many of you I have been using it since version 2.x many years ago. Yes it is still available from the link given at the start of this web page and it is virus and malware free. You may like to know it works on my PC using WINDOWS 10.
It does most of what you want and may not be perfect but I haven’t found one that is yet

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Marilyn Lawrie,  Sep 20, 2015

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

I have used PAF for 15+ years now and am so comfortable with it that I don’t know where to go for a new software that will compare. I keep all data on the family on this software on my computer and also use Tribal pages for that information that I allow to be public - a great system to meet my needs. I have never had to get help or support for either program, they are both easy enough and clear enough that one can figure them out easily. Now I sense a need to look for as good a software program that will take an upload of a huge .paf file.

Biggest Pro: .paf is really easy to use, it’s comprehensive, complete, and secure
Biggest Con: updates are not going to be available

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Garry McLaughlin,  Sep 18, 2015

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

I have been using since it first came out in a very crude form … I believe it far out weighs any of the other programs on the market … I have tried, probably 25 or more different programs over the years and I still always go back to PAF. It is also the easiest to teach to new people.

Biggest Pro: The Best
Biggest Con: Not being supported and proved by the Mormons any longer

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