Personal Ancestral File

by Gerhard Ruf (

Copyright 2004

updated 17 Nov 2004


            Personal Ancestral File (PAF) is the oldest of the fully featured genealogical database programs and the only one of the major available programs with no features disabled in the free download. It is also available for minimal cost on CD. Most users have not started using some of its unique features. This class will delve into some of these features that improve the quality of your data and provide assistance with your research.

A. Program Sources:

            1) Download (free)

                        a) go to

                                    click on “Order/Download Products”

                                    click on “Software Downloads - free”

                                    click on the “Download” button to the right of “Personal Ancestral File"

                                    follow the other screens, including the registration screen

                        b) go directly to

                        c) download All Languages ( 38.9 MB) or English (9.7 MB) and the Lessons (8.5 MB)

                        d) PAF Data Viewer for Palm (52 KB) is also available

            2) Purchase on CD ($8.25) from an LDS Distribution Center (includes PAF Companion)

                        a) on the Internet with a credit card from to

                                    click on “Order/Download Products”

                                    click on “Software & Databases”

                                    click on “Personal Ancestral File"

                                    click on the “Add” button

                                    follow the other screens, including the registration screen, or

                        b) by phone (toll free in the US) with a credit card at (800)537-5971

B. Little utilized reports and lists (from File/Print/Lists)

            1) Places sorted alphabetically (find inconsistencies in entered places)

                        a) Correcting errors can be done manually with Global Search and Replace, or

                        b) more automatically with US Cities Galore or World Place Advisor.

            2) Possible problems (identifies logical (data) errors)

                        (also run File/Check/Repair to correct program caused errors)

            3) Unlinked individuals

                        a) only finds singe names not linked to any other names

C. Advanced Focus/Filter (from the Search pull-down menu)

            1) use Help/Lessons #7, screen 3 for a graphic representation of relationship filter options

            2) combine options for unique filtering

            3) examples:

                        find all who are not connected to the main tree

                        find !Research (works like a “to do” list)

                        find all who were born (married, died, etc.) in a specific place

D. Custom Reports (from File/Print/Custom)

            1) setting up a report for a research trip

            2) determine what information you want, in what order

E. Multi-media (pictures, sound, video clips)

            1) Slide show

            2) Scrapbook

F. Online searching of the current individual at (from Tools pull-down menu)

            - PAFPal utility program adds,,, &

F. Other utility programs interface directly with PAF to expand its abilities (also appear in Tools)

            1) Resource File Viewer (Interfaces with 19 sets of resource file CDs)

                        Vital Records Indexes, Mormon Immigration Index, Censuses (British, Canadian, US)

            2) Pedigree Resource Files (PRF) - currently 85 CDs of contributed research.

            3) PAF Companion - provides additional reports, views and a unique analysis with PRF

            4) PAF Pal - data modification and presentation enhancements

            5) PAF Insight - compare, merge, synchronize and Internet IGI searching and insertion of data

            6) PAF Wiz - unique reports, web page creation, export multimedia with data, and online


G. PAF has the unique ability to interface directly (other programs require GEDCOM) and receive data automatically from TempleReady for Windows.


            PAF is a fully-featured genealogy program that provides some unique functions. Its popularity has resulted in many utilities to enhance its functionality.