I have two software programs. One is the free version from the Lds, which I use for my husbands line. The other is software by FTM, which I paid for, and use for my line.
I like the Lds version the best.
I always wanted to try Legacy...I have both FTM and PAF right now. FTM has an easy learning curve and is pretty straight forward. I like the reports you can print out and the search features for ancestry. PAF is ok. I like the charts but don't really like the format. I wonder if John is correct when he says the LDS may no longer be updating the program.
Personal Ancestral File (often called PAF) is one of the most popular genealogy programs available. It is produced by the LDS Church (the Mormons) and is made available to everyone at no charge. Millions of genealogists around the world use Personal Ancestral File.
There is one problem: the program hasn't had a significant update in years. In fact, it is a rather old-fashioned genealogy program by today's standards. Other free programs now offer more features than what is found in PAF. Even more features can be found in programs **SPAM** for rather low prices.
Remember when PAF used to sell for $35.00? Those days are long gone.
Now a senior representative from the LDS Church has confirmed the rumors that have floated around for years: the LDS Church will not expend any more funds to develop a modern version of Personal Ancestral File.
LDS Church Historian, Elder Marlin K. Jensen, gave the keynote address at the October 6-7, 2006, Northern Utah Family History Conference and Symposium. He told how Personal Ancestral File was a major force in genealogy in past years. However, when the LDS Church senior executives look today at all the things that the Church could do to promote interest in genealogy and to provide resources to genealogists, it is obvious that commercial organizations are already providing excellent free and low-cost genealogy software. Any efforts by the LDS Church to "compete" with the commercial organizations will not help meet the Church's goals to promote interest in genealogy and to provide appropriate resources to aid genealogists.
Instead, Jensen reports that the LDS Church's executives feel that the Church would be better served by concentrating its expenditures on the items that the Church can do best: digitizing microfilm and improving in-home access to original records, primarily via the www.FamilySearch.org web site.
Please do not worry about PAF going away, notwithstanding Elder Jensen's pronouncement. The report you read suffers by being incomplete. PAF and FamilySearch.org are pioneering their way into new territory.
FamilySearch.org is undergoing dramatic changes and will soon launch a web-based version of Personal Ancestral File (to use computer geek terminology, a web-app). Using this web-based version, which will have something of the look and feel of PAF but may be known by another name, will allow users from around the world to post their family history on a password-protected portion of FamilySearch.org (i.e., you will be able to protect your own posted genealogy from alteration via the use of a password, which you may distribute to trusted, collaborating researchers. With this new system, a common family history online may be edited and augmented by a team of researchers, not just by one. By eliminating the inevitable chokepoints which arise when one person is maintaining the family history and trying to reconcile the work of many researchers sent to them, we will all begin to see online family trees growing quicker and more accurately. To be sure, there are versions of this system already apparent at Ancestry.com, Rootsweb.com, and OneGreatFamily.com. The new system--and I have seen the beta test--will be like the others, but on steroids. It will allow family photographs to be posted, digital, yellow Post-it notes for individuals and families (helpful where there are some questions that need collaboration and additional research), audio and video files. Current users of any genealogy program will be able to export GEDCOM files to the FamilySearch.org website, then add their multimedia files later (this may change and allow the full file to be posted).
One of the excellent aspects of shifting to a web app is that updates and upgrades to the online genealogy application can happen instantaneously, worldwide, to all users, no purchase or download necessary.
Another excellent aspect of these changes is the survivability of data. The Church has invested in several highly secure server farms and data centers. The main one is deep inside the legendary Granite Mountain; another one is located in Ashburn, Virginia (taking advantage of AOL and MCI technology not currently used), and there are additional redundant backups of all the genealogical information currently uploaded to the FamilySearch.org website, both now and in the future. Thus, if the worst should happen, the efforts of millions of people to discover and to record their family history will survive.
Many other developments are progressing and will be rolled out in two-phases over the next eighteen months. The high-speed scanning of microfilm is being coupled with IBM pattern-recognition technology making not only optical character recognition (OCR) of printed matter possible, but more and more, the recognition of personal handwriting, too, a la, Palm's Graffiti II software.
(By the way, I recently attended a large training meeting for members of the Church involved in family history and temple work where much of this was related.)
So, please do not panic but understand that the Church is not getting out of helping people to find their ancestors. Where one door closes, as Cervantes said, another door opens, and that is precisely what is occurring with Personal Ancestral File 5.2 and with FamilySearch.org. Old doors are being closed; new ones are opening.
John Thank You for posting the articles. Hope I didn't offend you by implying that you were incorrect! I guess its part of the whole "need documents" thing to prove all comments...Hazards of the "trade" I guess!
Its funny you should ask..been spending the last little while just trying to figure out this same thing. If you're like me, (and probably a few others here) you jumped in and took all this info without a plan and now are stuck with loads of papers and no direction.
There are lots of ways to organize records. The method you use depends on what is most comfortable for you but it all starts with the same basics.
I also invested in some books which gave a lot of helpful hints. So far, my favourite is Family History 101 by Marcia D. Yannizze Melnyk. The reading was easy and the tips useful.
Invest in file folders, index cards, 3 ring binders and use the pedigree and family groups sheets. I have binders for each of my generations and file folders for my direct ancestors. I then file all the documents according to family. I realized after reading these books that there is still some "tweaking" that I need to do to make the system more efficient but so far it keeps me organized. I also bought some index cards (different colors for male and female) and keep all my info recorded on them by alphabetical order.