Personal Ancestral File (PAF)

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
Overall474.72 out of 54.72 out of 54.72 out of 54.72 out of 54.72 out of 5 4.72
201565 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 5.00
2014124.38 out of 54.38 out of 54.38 out of 54.38 out of 54.38 out of 5 4.38
Earlier294.77 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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47 Reviews of Personal Ancestral File (PAF)     RSS 2.0 RSS     Showing 1 - 20                   Add Your Review

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

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Karen Leroy,  May 20, 2015

Not Rated

I am so annoyed that Paf has been withdrawn as I have always used it and just recently my hard drive was replaced. I backed up my files but the programme has gone and so all the information is in effect lost to me

Biggest Pro: It was private and user friendly
Biggest Con: Unable to get hard copy of programme anymore which I found reassuring until I lost mine!!

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Peter Spence,  May 18, 2015

Not Rated

Great program that our family have been using since the 1980’s. Very disappointed that it is finishing.

Biggest Pro: Ease of use
Biggest Con: Not being able to transfer data to our PDA’s any longer.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Anne,  Nov 1, 2014

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

I’ve been using PAF for decades. (I did try FTM, but quickly switched back to PAF.) It is easy to install and easy to use, and it comfortably and efficiently handles my tree of nearly 40,000 individuals.

However it has many annoying features too,a dn there had surely been time to correct these given how long PAF has been around.

If you add a child to a family where the previous child is younger than the one you’ve just added, you get an error message. It would be better if it could be set up just to sort children by DoB automatically.

It produces annoying error messages if a place has numbers or punctuation in it. I would like to be able to switch this off.

I would also like to be able to look at a potential match or a potential error and, if it’s not actually a match or error, mark it as a non-match or non-error so it doesn’t get offered again and again and again every time I run the match/merge tool or the report that lists potential errors.

I like the automatic completion of a place name, but I miss the way it worked in earlier versions where it would match a part address as well.

Adding documents is pointless as they come out all pixellated and illegible.

I would like the modified register report format to include marriage notes as well as individual notes.

Biggest Pro: Easy to use
Biggest Con: Silly irritating features

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Marjorie,  Oct 31, 2014

Not Rated

Addition to my previous comments…..I note that it is mentioned that LDS is no longer supporting the program!
I missed that aspect of it until I noted other comments.
I don’t understand why they would do this…I feel that there is a moral imperative implicit in having developed the program in the first place. Does anyone know why they’ve done this..what their rationale is?
I know that I would gladly contribute an annual fee to the church if their reason is a financial one.

Biggest Pro: ease of use
Biggest Con: Deciding to stop supporting the software.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Marjorie,  Oct 31, 2014

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

I have been using PAF since the old days when the large floppies were the only option. I was initially dismayed to learn that LDS no longer offers this. However, those in despair can take heart. I did a search inputting the following: LDS PAF 5.2 download. I got a string of options. The one most encouraging was one that stated that it can still provide free PAF download, or $6.00 CD-ROM. The subheading on this was
There is an encouraging statement about availability. At the same time, I hope that LDS changes its policy and decides to once again offer PAF .. Charging a fee would still be a priceless bargain.

Biggest Pro: ease of use and compact format
Biggest Con: my own personal ability to use the video and pictures aspect…I have not been successful

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Tom,  Sep 18, 2014

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

Very user friendly. Have been using PAF since version 2.3.1. ( Yes, I am ancient). Am currently transferring my files to PAF 5.2 as well as transferring very slowly/methodically to the LDS Church website @ Family search family tree. Am making sure that all both of my PAF versions are being backed up very frequently. Jill - what version of PAF were you using?

Biggest Pro: Easy to use/understand.
Biggest Con: No longer available/supported.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by RedFeather,  Jun 11, 2014

Not Rated

I love the program but I would like to find a place that sells the cd copy of the program since I lost the program due to a resent reset of my computer anyone whom can point me in the right direction is appreciated. Thank you.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by barbara,  Jun 3, 2014

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

great software

Biggest Pro: easy to use

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Lee Dickson,  May 20, 2014

Not Rated

Great program sad to see it go.. However Legacy picked up the ball.

Biggest Pro: It was Free
Biggest Con: They stopped supporting

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Jill,  Mar 30, 2014

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

Have been using PAF for over ten years with no complaints, it was easy and reliable. I have unfortunately been sick recently, and not been updating my files, and have just discovered that all my information on these files, is no longer being supported by the Church of Latter Day Saints. I am devastated, what am I expected to do, all my work and no longer able to access it. I have always backed up my work, but when I put the back up in, it just hangs and if it opens, it still will not allow me to print it out. This is all I want, to be able to print out my generations for future generations. What is the alternative???? Would appreciate an answer to this problem

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Alan Ingham,  Mar 24, 2014

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

Have used PAF forever, simple, complete, reliable(never, ever crashed). Indeed a shame it is no longer supported, wish someone will somehow “take it over” & continue with upgrades. Don’t miss photos(there were none until ‘recent times’) & the future… maybe videos will not be enough?
Thank you LDS et al.

Biggest Pro: Free & easy
Biggest Con: Zero

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Susan Johnson,  Mar 13, 2014

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

I have consistently been bitterly disappointed by what goes on in the computer world. I found out today that not only is PAF no longer supported, but come July 2014, Windows XP won’t be either, and they suggested that it “may be time to consider a new computer”…. I wrote back and told them how thoughtless they were and how such a lack of respect for people who live on limited incomes is really inconsiderate. I am sure that went on deaf ears!! lol!! IS THERE ANY SAFE PLACE TO DOWNLOAD THIS FOR POSTERITY!?

Biggest Pro: Simple, quick, easy to navigate, auto types place names, everything entered on one window, loved the reports & lists function, etc.
Biggest Con: None, but one minor issue, is not being able to do partial GEDCOM files…

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Robert Weekley,  Feb 15, 2014

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

Just loved ease and convenience of the program.. Had fun doing ancestry with this form

Biggest Pro: ease and convenience
Biggest Con: couldn’t add pictures

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Don,  Jan 2, 2014

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

I happily used PAF for many years. I don’t place heavy demands upon any genealogy program i use.

I tried Roots Magic, while it had excellent reporting capability, I continued to use PAF. As long as PAF does what you want fine. It will be available somewhere on the Internet for a long time and support will be available from user groups.

When you are ready for something more, try GRAMPS or Ancestral Quest. GRAMPS is free also but has a learning curve. I went for Ancestral Quest, there is a basic version for free. The full version is priced reasonably. There is a very small leaning curve seeing how they wrote the PAF that became the version you all (mostly) love. PAF users will feel right at home in Ancestral Quest.

Biggest Pro: Free
Biggest Con: no official support

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by Mat,  Oct 15, 2013

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

The PAF is great easy to use .I’ve been using the product for many years now to research more family history. Now with the decision to no longer continue maintaining the PAF software to keep it current with the ongoing changes in PC operating system and security software, we are now being forced to look for a replacement.

As we all know that an unsupported product will quickly die and all the years in collecting and storing our personal family information on a PAF, could find us not being able to access this information.

The decision to move the personal family history from our personal computer to an online data base and not allow the option to say in who can see this information is very short sighted.

There is Private family information that I would never make available for the world to see let alone be used. Please bring back support for the PAF if not the past 13 years has been a waste as I can never allow such personal information to be made public.

Biggest Pro: it is very easy to use
Biggest Con: none/

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) Review by EMOC,  Oct 13, 2013

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

Fantastic - simple, clean, easy, intuitive, great to teach newbies with, uncluttered, powerful in it’s ability to record as much detail as required in terms of sources, notes & pictures ….
Really gutted that support has been discontinued .. surely someone is able to re-release this very eloquent software for use again .. and for Mac.

Biggest Pro: Clean, easy to use and intuitive .. plenty of capacity for as much detail as required.
Biggest Con: Perhaps a more modern ‘marriage’ arrangement; but a workaround is still possible.

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