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Comparison of genealogy software

Obsolete and inactive

This page is very outdated because the idea never caught on. It was probably too much work to upload all the screen captures... and the resulting page took too much scrolling to do comparisons. Experimenting with collapsible tables to see if it make direct comparisons easier.

Illustrate some of the features of genealogy database programs other than Gramps.

Allow Gramps users who do not have access to these programs to visualize comments regarding them.

Lets start off with Personal Ancestral File 5.2 ( and Ancestral Quest 11 ( AQ has been updated within the last 6 months to AQ 12 but there seems to be little difference in appearance. If the two programs seem to be very similar that is because (as I understand it) the LDS Church bought the source and developmental rights to AQ 3 a long time ago. PAF 5.2 has been around for many years and is used by thousands of people around the world. It is available for free download from the LDS site. These programs have only Windoze versions although they run reasonably well on Wine.

Originally Family Tree Maker screens were going to be displayed but the version available is 9 years old and no longer representative. FTM screen shots are available at



The Family View

  • Note the upper-right-hand corner of some individual display blocks - that indicates that there is further information available, either sources, notes ...
  • Note the filled and unfilled arrows associated with the name blocks in PAF - open indicates a dead end while filled arrows point to further family information regarding that person. In AQ either the arrow is there or missing - same reasoning. Obviously, pressing the arrow moves the display to another family view.
  • To change focus between parents: in AQ double click the other parent, in PAF click the double headed arrow.
  • An edit screen is available for each individual and the marriage either as a menu choice or by double clicking.
  • Multiple spouses are indicated:
    • in PAF by a action bar above the base person's block- click to select the spouse from a list
    • in AQ in text above the spouse's block choose the spouse with an arrow to the right
  • Ordering of children is done through an edit menu.
  • The arrow left of the focus parent acts as a back button.
  • The PAF screen has a clean uncluttered appearance while displaying a maximum of information.

The Pedigree View

  • The two different expanded information blocks are features of both programs. Hovering the cursor over a name gets the block shown in the PAF display while a click gets the block shown in the AQ view.
  • Note the number of generations displayed (original display was about 800 pixels wide)
  • The URH corner and filled and unfilled arrows have a similar meaning as above

The Individual or Name List View

  • Click a category in the heading to sort, click again to reverse the sort.
  • Heading categories may be added, removed, resized and reordered.

Add/Edit Individual Screens

  • The basic business end of any program - where the data are entered. The same screen serves to add and edit information although with other titles.
  • The other two screens of AQ allow a bit more data to be added.
  • Custom events/categories can be added and grouped into another template.
  • Clicking the S to the right opens a screen for source data entry. AQ allows entry of a category for a source and uses it to filter the source display.
  • A menu choice in AQ's Tools and PAF's Options displays the font's full Unicode character map - select and click to insert the character. Another choice here pops-up the date calculator.
  • AQ's "To Do" and "Research Manager" are useful and generally underutilized features.
  • Date entry is pretty simple, corresponding to the "Text comment" of Gramps.
  • Place entry is similarly uncomplicated allowing a less complex sort or display.

FWIW Gramps export to GEDCOM choice of a PAF target works pretty well for both of these programs, except for address information.

submitted 17 Feb 08 by David Rowell [email protected]

See also