Personal Ancestral File (PAF) is Discontinued

June 20, 2013  - by 

Beginning July 15, 2013, PAF will be retired and will no longer be available for download or support. PAF users should consider alternative products to meet their ongoing personal genealogy management needs.

For information on alternative products, please visit https://partners.familysearch.org/solutionsgallery/s/list?category=family_tree_management.

A great new opportunity

PAF began in 1984, has had over 3.2 million copies distributed, and has fulfilled a great purpose for the world. At the same time that we give a big “Thank You!” and “Goodbye” to PAF, we are excited to embrace what the future holds!

For the last several years, FamilySearch has focused on building relationships with partner organizations to deliver better overall services to the market.  This has facilitated better patron experiences with FamilySearch and the partner products.  FamilySearch recently introduced the Family Tree to all users in multiple languages.  Family Tree provides the capability for patrons to manage and share their family history information online at FamilySearch.org.  Each of our partners’ products support connectivity with the Family Tree.  FamilySearch is committed to strong partner relationships that enable more quality, choices, collaboration, and availability of records.  We encourage our patrons to use the products provided by these partners.

FamilySearch has worked hard to offer upgrades to all PAF users through partners that have produced significantly better alternatives to PAF.  Please visit https://partners.familysearch.org/solutionsgallery/s/list?category=family_tree_management for details, and get started with your upgrade today!

Guidelines for patrons

When working with ward members, please encourage them to visit https://partners.familysearch.org/solutionsgallery/s/list?category=family_tree_management, and help them get started in migrating to one of the recommended products.  It is appropriate and encouraged to host events or train patrons on how to migrate to the various products, discuss the advantages, and allow them to make their own choices.  When using church buildings and resources for these activities, please remember not to solicit sales or exclusively promote only a specific product to patrons, because we must maintain a neutral position while providing informative guidance to them. Also, third parties must abide by these guidelines if their employees or representatives are invited to participate in the activities in person or by phone or web conference.

Significant investment has been made to bring FamilySearch-certified products developed by partners to our patrons, and your help in moving patrons forward on a journey inclusive of our full offering of third-party solutions, within appropriate bounds, is much appreciated. For the full story, see the main FamilySearch blog.

David Pugmire

David Pugmire is a Product Marketing Manager at FamilySearch. David has an extensive technical and business background, and has created two start-ups in the family history industry. Prior jobs and roles include Product Manager of Visual Studio, Silverlight, Expression Studio, and he has worked on other flagship products at Microsoft, such as Windows.

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Comments

    1. Hi Adelita! Thank you for your question. The Personal Ancestral File software was discontinued nearly 8 years ago. If you have an old PAF file, you can open it with the Ancestral Quest software.

  1. Need advice on exporting PAF files to new data base. What do u recommend. & how do I do it. I am a few years behind…. thanks.

    1. Hi Yvonne! Thank you for your question. PAF has been discontinued as is no longer available. However, Ancestral Quest is the program from which PAF was created and it is available. Please check out information about Ancestral Quest here. The Ancestral Quest software will be able to import any PAF file you currently have. Once the file is in Ancestral Quest, you can either sync directly with FamilySearch or you can download a GEDCOM.

  2. I have recently retired and am starting back on family history. However, all of my files are on the former PAF program. What can I do to convert these files over to a readable format?

    1. Hi Balthasar! Thank you for your question. PAF has been discontinued as is no longer available. However, Ancestral Quest is the program from which PAF was created and it is available. Please check out information about Ancestral Quest here. The Ancestral Quest software will be able to import any PAF file you currently have. Once the file is in Ancestral Quest, you can either sync directly with FamilySearch or you can download a GEDCOM.

  3. I created my family tree in PAF years ago on another computer. I just came across my Unlock Certificate with product name : Personal Ancestral File Companion 5.4.13 and Product number: 2501. I have my pin and unlock key. Is there any way I can access my information?

    1. Hi Alysia! Thank you for your question. If you still have the computer the file is located on, you should be able to still access it.

  4. Arthur Daniel Leibyfrom my old pc because I had no printer for it & used the one at my office. I retired in 2013. says:

    I was not aware That PAF was discontinued. I have not had Internet access since 2013. The PAF program I have is on a broken pc. that I not longer have. most of data is saved to 3/12″ floppy desks which my “new” gift used pc here at my nursing home does not accommodate. I hate to think about having to re-enter all my data to a brand new system. I don’t want to lose my info either. I’ve investigated the better part of 12 or 13 lines in my extended family. My cousin purchased me a 1-yr member ship to “MyHeritage,” but I do not find that system as user friendly as PAF was for me. None of my PAF date was printed out (except a very, very little) because I did not have a printed for my old, broken, former pc & used only a little the printer from my office computer. I fully retired in 2013. My “new” gift computer here at the nursing home does not accommodate 3 1/2″ floppy discs. Any reasonable suggestions for what I could do? I am willing to ship my 31/2″ floppy discs to a “converter” if that is necessary. I am willing to pay a reasonable fee. I really don’t know what to do. I’m afraid if I tried to repost the date to a new genealogy program, I’m probably miss some info that I have in my handwritten notes. I’d rather “restart” from a “converted version” of what I’ve already data-entered and update that that having to star all over again. Never though (or understood—because I am not “computer savvy”) that I would be in this predicament once I had backed up thing on floppy disks. Already have 8 family trees data-entered on “free trial” “My Heritage,” but it says that is the limit, even though my cousin bought me 1-yr subs. All my older date (much of it) has bibliographic source materials and notes. None of the “My Heritage” charts have that. Please help. Please advise. God bless you. Thank you, too.

  5. I have some .paf files from the time when Personal Ancestral File software was available. Now, I do not know how to open the file or use the information. Can you help?

    1. Hi Marilyn! Thank you for your question. PAF has been discontinued and is no longer available. However, Ancestral Quest is the program from which PAF was created and it is available. Please check out information about Ancestral Quest here. The Ancestral Quest software will be able to import any PAF file you currently have.

    1. Hi Emma! Thank you for your question. PAF has been discontinued and is no longer available. However, Ancestral Quest is the program from which PAF was created and it is available. Please check out information about Ancestral Quest here. The Ancestral Quest software will be able to import any PAF file you currently have.

  6. Was working with My Heritage and clicked on combine accounts. Had PAF open to hand type names. If I click on a name on PAF the program freezes. The only way to close it is Ctrl/Alt/Del. Tried loading the backup PAF file. Same issue.

    1. Hi Barry! Thank you for your feedback. PAF has been discontinued for nearly 8 years. I’m not sure how MyHeritage would be having an effect on your PAF program. Please contact FamilySearch Help for assistance.

      1. What I was seeking is understanding as to whether there is a known method of fixing a freezing issue with PAF. I understand that this software hasn’t been supported for a very long time. Just asking if there is a known fix. Thanks.

  7. The link to suggested applications in lieu of PAF v5.2 yields a “404 Page Not Found” error…
    As a webmaster myself, I really like your 404 landing page. Very nicely done!

      1. Hi David! Thank you for letting us know about the broken link. I’ve notified the editorial team. In the mean time, please check out the FamilySearch Solutions Gallery for current family tree management software solutions. Thank you for reading the blog!

        1. Amy, it’s been a little over a month since I reported the “404 – Page Not Found” error. The referenced link (https://www.familysearch.org/PAF) is still throwing a 404 error. I wanted to let you know because that is the main focus of the referenced article with respect to this paragraph that I am quoting from above.

          [QUOTE]
          FamilySearch has worked hard to offer upgrades to all PAF users through partners that have produced significantly better alternatives to PAF. Please visit http://familysearch.org/PAF for details, and get started with your upgrade today!
          [/QUOTE]

          Do you know if anybody in the Editorial Team has actually seen your input? Since your readers are pointed to this non-existent webpage to learn more about the details and especially with respect to the point of the “get started with your upgrade today!” Not many upgrades are going to be possible since the link is broken. Folks have no clue as to what this non-existent webpage says about that.

          Please “rattle somebody’s chain” to see if this 404 – Page Not Found error can be fixed sooner than later. I for one am interested in seeing what this webpage says about the “details” and what it says about getting started with my upgrade today. I am still using PAF version 5.2 for some of my genealogy work.

          Thanks Amy for your time and assistance! Signed, Pastor Dave

          1. Hi David! Thank you again for your feedback. Yes, the editorial team knows about this URL error. PAF has been completely discontinued. The recommendations are to upgrade to a software program that accepts PAF files. I previously suggested for you to check out the FamilySearch Solutions Gallery to select a PAF replacement. AncestralQuest is the closest software available today to PAF: https://www.ancquest.com/paf/

            1. Hi Amy, my concern for this broken link is a new user to your website looking for a PAF replacement will reach a dead-end as it stands now. You would have to look at the webpage’s stats to see how many visitors are clicking on the broken link. As for me, I have already migrated to several very good replacements. They are:

              – Family Tree Maker 2019
              – Legacy 9.0
              – RootsMagic 7

              Each of these have their strengths and weaknesses so I use all three and keep them synced manually if I have a few changes or by exporting/importing a GEDCOM file if I have many changes.

              I have not tried AncestralQuest. I may give it a try sometime later this year.

              Have a blessed day!

              Signed, Pastor Dave

  8. I have PAF on my Laptop and would like to copy it onto my apple Ipad. It would make it easier to add information. I wondered about using Dropbox to do it, or is there another way.

    1. Hi Carolyn! Thank you for your question. PAF was discontinued in 2013 and is no longer supported. There is no utility to access PAF on an iPad. The FamilySearch Family Tree is available as an app for iPad. Also RootsMagic for iOS runs on an iPad and you can upload the old PAF files into RootsMagic desktop. Check out RootsMagic for iOS in the FamilySearch Solutions Gallery.

      1. I heard that Parallels allows PAF to work on iPad. Allowed me to uce on Mimi Mac.

    2. Carolyn Carlier, as Amy Archibald mentioned, “RootsMagic for iOS runs on an iPad and you can upload the old PAF files into RootsMagic desktop.” The current version is RootsMagic 7 which I use and like it very much. A new version, RootsMagic 8, is in the works and will hopefully be released this year. Let me know if you have any questions about RootsMagic 7. I use the Windows version but I would expect the iOS version to be very similar if not identical in operation. There is a free trial period where you can “test drive” the application on your iPad. Visit https://www.rootsmagic.com/Try/. Have a great time researching your roots! Dave

  9. Many of the ‘third party’ products do not offer 24/7 support. A lot of members are working on Family History on weekends and after business hours world wide. If you encounters a problem Friday PM you have to Waite till Monday to get help (maybe) Then you can not duplicate problem, and computer has been unusable all weekend.

    1. So if technical support is iffy on weekends and after hours, then who can we contact?

  10. I have an old computer which i was using PAF 3.01 what advice do you have on moving this information to a more up graded family tree program. now in 2021.
    I have been using it for years.
    please contact me at my email.
    thank you
    Larry Lalonde
    Ontario, Canada

    1. Hi Larry! Thank you for your question. PAF has been discontinued and is no longer available. However, Ancestral Quest is the program from which PAF was created and it is available. Please check out information about Ancestral Quest here. The Ancestral Quest software will be able to import any PAF file you currently have.