Humanities › History & Culture Personal Ancestral File 5.2 Share Flipboard Email Print Andrew Bret Wallis / Getty Images History & Culture Genealogy Vital Records Around the World Basics Surnames Genealogy Fun American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated June 18, 2019 Personal Ancestral File has been discontinued. According to FamilySearch.org, "On July 15, 2013, PAF was retired and is no longer available for download or support. Current PAF users may continue to use the software on their personal computers." One of the oldest and most popular genealogy software programs available, this family tree software from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was available for free download until 2013. Powerful and full-featured, the tool is also very user-friendly, making it perfect for novice computer users and genealogists. If you want fancy charts, you'll have to spring for the add-on program, PAF Companion ($13.50). And if your primary goal is publishing a family Web site or book, there are better options. Pros Very intuitive and easy to useCustomizable data entry templatesAvailable for free downloadWidely used and supported Cons Full range of charts and reports only available with an add-on, PAF CompanionOnly basic multimedia capabilitiesPublishing options are limitedNot updated very frequently Description Available for free download or $6 on CD-ROM.View screens and print reports in either English, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean or Swedish.Type names and places using characters from any language.Create personalized templates to customize data entry.Five generation pedigree view offers easy navigation through large family treesSingle name field rather than separate fields for given names, surname and suffix titles.Prints basic reports and charts. Fancy charts and book publishing options available through an add-on.Attach images, sound clips, and video files, or easily create basic scrapbooks and slide-shows.Easily prepares information for TempleReady.Select individuals and families for export to your Palm handheld and view your data on the go. Guide Review - Personal Ancestral File 5.2 Personal Ancestral File 5.2 is surprisingly powerful and feature-packed given that it is a free program. Multiple views, including a five-generation pedigree view, make the program easy to navigate and the data entry screen is simple to use. Customizable data entry templates mean that you can create your own fields to match the information you wish to record. Source documentation options are adequate, though not as customizable as I would like. Multimedia options include attaching unlimited images, sound clips and video files to individuals, and creating basic scrapbooks and slideshows. Only a single image can be attached to each source, however, and none can be attached to families, events or places. Despite its wealth of data recording features, PAF lacks fancier charts (e.g. hourglass chart, everything chart, etc.) and many customized reports, unless you spring for the add-on program, PAF Companion ($13.50 US). Of all the genealogy software programs, Personal Ancestral File offers the best support for users with free support through LDS Family History Centers, PAF User Groups, and online. And since PAF is from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it's likely that the software will continue to be developed and supported. If you want something that's easy to use and uncomplicated, and aren't focused on publishing your family information in a book or online, then add PAF to your shortlist.