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.


5 Answers 5


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 Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group: http://www.SVCGG.org/pages/downloads.html

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!

  • 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
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 15:22
  • Good to know. Within my ecosystem (Mac/Reunion) they have worked well.
    – Jonny Perl
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 8:07

Update to posted URL for PAF 5.2.18 . . .

Old: Silicon Valley PAF User Group http://www.SVPAFUG.org/pages/downloads.html

New: Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group http://www.SVCGG.org/pages/downloads.html

The link simply takes you to http://parowansoftware.com


As others have said you can download and install PAF5 from the links posted...

You can also open PAF files into RootsMagic. The current RootsMagic version is RM9.. I prefer & still use RM7. RootsMagic was basically the replacement or successor to PAF when PAF was discontinued. You can import your PAF file into RootsMagic.. You can then create a gedcom to upload to Ancestry, MyHeritage or any other genealogical site.

RootsMagic 7 and before is a program somewhat resembling PAF.. that older app feel. RootsMagic 8 & 9, is an app that almost looks and feels like a website.. I prefer RootsMagic 7.

You can download RootsMagic from their download page.. The free version is good for normal genealogical purposes. Here is the download page: https://www.rootsmagic.com/Download/


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.

  • 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
    Commented Feb 12, 2020 at 7:02

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