Frequently asked questions
From PAF users
What does it mean that PAF is no longer supported?
FamilySearch will not assist users with features of PAF. FamilySearch will provide limited support for moving PAF data to a compatible third-party app.
Can I continue using PAF?
Yes. PAF will continue to work on all versions of Windows as of 2013, including Windows 8. Just be aware that it will no longer be supported or improved. We strongly recommend choosing an alternative product (see above).
Can I put my PAF data online in FamilySearch Family Tree?
Since PAF does not integrate with FamilySearch Family Tree directly, you will need to use an alternative product, as suggested here. These products will be able to import your PAF data directly, enabling you to connect to FamilySearch and copy your data to and from the web as desired.
Which third-party app should I use?
The answer to this is completely subject to your preference. Therefore, we suggest you check out each of the apps and compare for yourself. We have provided a simple set of links to information and downloads about the products with our recommended partners (see above).
Does FamilySearch endorse the use of third-party apps?
Yes. The Family History Department has made significant investments in conjunction with our partners in order to offer great solutions for everyone. Using third-party products in conjunction with FamilySearch online services is something we encourage and fully endorse.
Will Family Insight continue to work?
Yes. Just bear in mind that PAF itself is no longer supported. Please contact Ohana Software for more information and support.
Will Charting Companion for PAF (previously known as PAF Companion) continue to work?
Yes. Just bear in mind that PAF itself is no longer supported. Please contact Progeny Genealogy for more information and support.
Will FamilySearch make the source code of PAF available to software developers?
At this time, there are no plans to release the source code as open source or in any other structure. Continuing development of PAF, even outside of FamilySearch, would still put FamilySearch in a position to support it (by perception, if not obligation). Our support staff is targeted toward other goals and priorities after JULY 15, 2013.
That is rather sad, especially the last bit. It would be a nice gesture if the PAF source code were to be released as open source, to allow others to develop in in new and more interesting ways.
What is also difficult is that there is nothing on the page to show where you can download the most recent versions of PAF before the cut-off date. I still use PAF 4.0 and will continue to use it, as an essential adjunct to Legacy.
The problem is that when Legacy imports data from Gedcom files, it messes up the record order, and the RINs are all wrong. My workaround has been to import the Gedcom files into PAF 4.0, which Legacy can import directly, and when it does so, the RINs are correct.
But if PAF 4.0 is no longer going to be available, perhaps Legacy will drop the ability to import files directly from it, and then I won't be able to upgrade to future versions of Legacy.
Perhaps it's time to start looking at RootsMagic, which many have spoken highly of.
In a blog posting today, FamilySearch announced the retirement of it’s Personal Ancestral File (PAF) genealogy software...
The linked page recommends that PAF users upgrade to family history software from one of the FamilySearch parters. Of the three options listed, RootsMagic is the only software certified to utilize the full capabilities of FamilySearch Family Tree, including sharing data, ordinances, discussions, sources, and change history.
We understand that change isn’t easy, so we’ve worked hard at putting together some new tools and supports to make the transition as painless as possible for PAF users.
The thing is that in my main Legacy file I never merge records, because that would mess up the RINs. If I find a duplicate record, I change the name of the person to ZZblank, and reuse that for the next new person I enter.
In my PAF quick-'n-dirty research files, I merge records all the time. I wonder if any of the PAF replacements on offer can do that kind of stuff as quickly and easily as PAF could?
Of course PAF had limitations -- it could not search or filter on locations, for instance. But it would make it dead easy to enter a lot of records from the same location by automatic fill in. In Legacy one sometimes has to wait up to a minute during which it is "not responding" while it looks things up, which slows down data entry considerably.