Reviews say there are few negatives about Personal Ancestral File (PAF) -- it's free, and its powerful functions and easy interface make it an ancestor to other genealogical software. But there are no current plans to update version 5.2, and its creator, the Church of Latter-day Saints, has said it will no longer support the software. Experts say data input is easy, it can handle different languages (Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters, too), and the Windows programs are good for novices and pros. But there are few features for books or web pages, and you'll need to spend about $8.25 on a software upgrade if you want decent charts. If you want more robust software, reviews point to RootsMagic Essentials (free) or RootsMagic 4 (*Est. $30).
Family Tree Magazine provides a thorough review, though software programs are not rated. Personal Ancestral File also receives a brief synopsis, followed by a longer review in About.com's genealogy software roundup. Choice (an Australian magazine) lists a dated review but provides good information about the program's strengths and weaknesses. GenSoftReviews.com posts user ratings and comments for Personal Ancestral File. TopTenReviews.com also has a review, albeit a very brief one.
1. Family Tree Magazine
Software isn't ranked by editors at Family Tree Magazine, but pros and cons for each title are listed, and a long review is included as well. Personal Ancestral File has lots of plusses, but a drawback is it's no longer being upgraded.
Review: Personal Ancestral File, Rick Crume, Sept. 27, 2009
Professional genealogist Kimberly Powell ranks software based on her "personal choice." Personal Ancestral File gets 3.5 out of 5 stars and is deemed user friendly. A longer review is available by clicking on the software title. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Genealogy Software Reviews & Roundup 2007, Kimberly Powell, October 2007
3. Choice magazine
Editors of this Australian consumer magazine test and rate 11 genealogy software programs and report that Personal Ancestral File is the best choice for beginners who aren't sure if they will stick with genealogy. Some features, however, require the purchase of PAF Companion (*Est. $8.25) chart-making software.
Review: Test: Family Tree Software, Editors of Choice, November 2006
This short review calls PAF a solid program, though the reviewer doesn't discuss all of its features. PAF does not make the top 10 list for genealogy programs.
Review: Personal Ancestral File, Lecia Monsen
About a dozen users rate Personal Ancestral File, giving it a high overall score.
Review: Personal Ancestral File, Contributors to GenSoftReviews.com