I know someone who has a PAF file he wants to use but can no longer access because Personal Ancestral File is gone from his computer. It's been discontinued, so he needs to move to something else and import the PAF file.

Is there a free and open source way of converting PAF to GEDCOM? I would like to help by converting the file and getting away from that proprietary format but without getting into commercial software or crosswalking through another proprietary format if possible.


There are two ways of doing this that I can think of:

  1. Use the free version of Ancestral Quest Basics available from here. It is written by the authors of PAF and allows PAF import and Gedcom export.
  2. Download PAF from one of the sites that still has it available for download such as this one
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If you don't mind it being online temporarily, you could simply upload it to ancestry.com as a private tree (make it unindexed also). Then download it as a GEDCOM (and delete it from ancestry). This isn't as cumbersome as it sounds!

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  • There are a few anomalies with Ancestry downloaded Gedcoms with the compatibility of them so I would advise doing this as a last resort if nothing else does what you want. – Colin Jun 14 '17 at 15:22
  • Good to know. Within my ecosystem (Mac/Reunion) they have worked well. – Jonny Perl Jun 15 '17 at 8:07

PAF v5.2 is available at:


links at top right of Page.

also checkout Answer #1.

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  • Welcome to Genealogy & Family History:SE. That doesn't really add anything to the existing answers. – sempaiscuba Oct 31 '17 at 10:32
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    PAF v5.2 is the original software that created these files and is probably the best software to convert them to Gedcom. – Silvertip45 Nov 4 '17 at 11:50
  • +1, this helped me as the link in the accepted answer is dead. – Helena Oct 7 '19 at 19:06

You may be able to do this using an old Family Tree Maker install, for which you would need a copy of PAF5EnglishSetup.exe. It went into binary heaven in 2002, but I kept a copy just in case of emergency.

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  • Welcome to G&FH SE! As a new user be sure to take the Tour to learn about our focussed Q&A format which is quite different from bulletin boards, discussion forums and other Q&A sites you may be used to. Here it is not permissible to include your contact details within a post, and so I am removing them. It is fine to make an offer like this within your usercard. I'm going to edit your answer to try and keep it within the site guidelines. – PolyGeo Feb 12 at 7:02

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