Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Looking at Personal Ancestral File on Windows 10

I have been meaning to get back to writing about the black hole of genealogy, oh, I mean Personal Ancestral File, for quite a while. I did find a copy online. I did download a copy of the program to my Windows 10 computer. Yes, I do have the latest version of Windows 10. Yes, the program still works exactly as I remember it working over the years since I last used it consistently.

I started a new file and then decided to import my whole file from a different program. I forgot, like I used to do, that the imported GEDCOM file merged automatically into my open data file. Since I couldn't find the new file I had named by searching my entire computer, I imported another copy and then realized what I had done and yes, I had two full copies of my data in one huge PAF file. I realized how many times this had happened before and I also realized why there were so many duplicate entries in the Family Tree and why uploading or importing GEDCOM files is still a way to ruin a perfectly good genealogy file.

I also know why I think of PAF as the black hole of genealogy. If you would like to suffer some of the same problems, you can download a copy of Personal Ancestral File at

I have deleted the file and the program from my Windows 10 computer.


  1. quit "ragging" on PAF ... let people make that choice .... your GEDCOM example was "operator error" not a program malfunction.

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      The program did not ask where I wanted to put the GEDCOM file, it automatically added it to the open file. There was no warning that the file duplicated entries in the open file either on the first duplicate or the second. In both cases without asking, the program overwrote an existing file with a GEDCOM file. That is not user error.