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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions relating to Personal Ancestral File (PAF)

Is there a relationship between PAF and Ancestral Quest?

In 1999, Incline Software, with some strategic help from its partners, helped the LDS Church develop PAF 4 based on the newly released AQ 3.0. Both PAF 4 and the newer PAF 5 are therefore very similar to AQ. Since 1999, while the LDS Church has developed adjustments and new features into PAF, Incline Software has also developed dramatic new features into AQ.

If a user of PAF were to decide to upgrade to AQ, he/she would be able to take advantage of these wonderful new features with virtually no learning curve, as the PAF he/she is used to is so similar to AQ.

Alternatively, the PAF 5 user could use AQ as a PAF Add-in, as AQ is a FamilySearch certified PAF Add-in.

How is AQ compatible with PAF?

Ancestral Quest versions 16, 15, 14, 12.1, and 12 are fully compatible with a PAF 5 database. See the chart below. If you have an earlier version of AQ, you may want to read through the history presented below.

The earlier versions of AQ used the same data file structure as was then used by PAF. As a result, a user could use AQ by itself, or a PAF user could use AQ as a supplemental program to PAF. Since PAF was then a DOS program, and AQ was a Windows program, many PAF users took advantage of the graphical Windows reports and screen of AQ to work with their PAF data. So while there was not an official relationship between PAF and AQ, many users found a natural synergy.

In about 1997, PAF 3 was introduced with a changed database structure. Shortly thereafter, Incline Software upgraded AQ 3.0 to work with this new database, so that the synergy between PAF and AQ could continue. As we were about to release AQ 3.0, we started helping the church develop PAF 4.0 from our AQ 3.0. So there were then 3 programs that could all use the same data files: PAF 3 (DOS), AQ 3 (Windows) and PAF 4 (Windows).

Incline Software felt that the data structures used by PAF 3, and enhanced by AQ 3 and PAF 4, had limitations, so Incline Software developed its own .aq data structure that overcame these limitations. AQ 3.0 gave users the choice of using the more powerful .aq database, or of using the limited .paf database that would allow them to continue to use PAF 3 or PAF 4 with that data.

PAF 5 introduced yet another data structure. None of the older versions of PAF or of AQ could read this new format. With AQ 2002 (version 10) and later with version 11, AQ can still work with the older PAF database as well as with its own .aq database. Versions 10 and 11 could also read the newer PAF 5 database, but cannot update the PAF 5 data file -- they could only read the file and produce its improved reports and web pages from the data. A PAF 5 user would have to use PAF 5 rather than AQ to make changes to the data.

Starting with AQ version 12.0, AQ no longer worked with the older .paf files from PAF 3 and 4, but instead AQ 16, 15, 14 and 12.x work directly with the newer PAF 5 format of the file.

This chart may help clarify to versions and compatability levels:

  Earlier Data Structure
.paf Data Structure
Prior to PAF 5
.paf Data Structure
PAF 2.31
and earlier
Edit none none
AQ 2.2
and earlier
Edit none none
PAF 3 Convert Edit none
PAF 4 Convert Edit none
AQ 3 Convert Edit none
AQ 10/11 Convert Edit Read Only
PAF 5 none Convert Edit
AQ 12.x/14/15/16 Convert Convert Edit

To help you read this table, let's translate the last three lines:

  • Both AQ 10 and AQ 11 can convert an older PAF database into a newer database. They can directly work with the .paf file that was also used by PAF 3 and PAF 4. They can read, but not edit, a new .paf file that is used by PAF 5, and they can also convert this file into any of the databases that they directly use.
  • PAF 5 cannot in any way work with an older PAF data file from prior to PAF 3. It can convert a .paf file that was used by PAF 3 or PAF 4 into its new format. It can directly work with its newer .paf file.
  • AQ 12.0, 12.1, 14, 15 and 16 can directly edit a PAF 5 data file. They can open up a .paf file just as PAF 5 can. Any changes you make to the .paf database in AQ 12.x/14/15/16 will be apparent in PAF 5, and vice versa. AQ 12.x/14/15/16 no longer edits a .paf file created with PAF 4 or with earlier versions of AQ (version 3 through 11) -- instead, it will convert this file to either a .paf file compatible with PAF 5, or to a .aq file, based on the options you set. You can then continue to work on this file in one of these newer formats.
What are the advantages and limitations on using a .paf database file within Ancestral Quest?

If you edit a Personal Ancestral File 5.x database (.paf) file within Ancestral Quest, you will have true compatibility with PAF 5. You can use the same data file in AQ 15/14/12.x and in PAF 5.x and switch back and forth between the programs whenever you wish. You can also use any of the PAF utilities or Add-on programs that enhance a PAF 5.x database file.

The other advantages of editing a PAF file within Ancestral Quest include:

  • Ancestral File Numbers can be entered and edited. In PAF, they can only be added to the database through GEDCOM imports and they cannot be edited.
  • You can enter the following types of information, which you will not be able to access from the PAF 5 program, but are always available in AQ:
    • The Source Definition screen has an extra field for additional information, such as translator or compiler.
    • Sources can be assigned a category. AQ uses this to allow you to filter your sources, and more easily find the source you are looking for.
    • Sources can be flagged as a 'master' source, further helping in the filtering.
    • Sources can be assigned a quality code, such as Primary Evidence, Secondary Evidence, etc.
    • The citation detail has a quality code field; it also has a reference field in which you can enter a code specifying where that document can be found in your paper filing system.
    • Notes can be entered for a repository.
    • You can add To Do/Research Items.
    • You can manage DNA test results for each person
    • You can mark a child as confidential, or a set of parents as confidential
    • You can mark a spouse as confidential, or a relationship as confidential
    • Mark an individual as 'Not a Problem', so that in AQ's Possible Problem report, this individual will not be listed.
    • Mark an individual as having never married.
    • Mark a couple as having had no children
    • You can edit the various other sentences that are used in the Book reports – not just the sentences dealing with an event, but sentences that transition sections of the book.
    • To assist in printing images of sources, information about how a source image should be presented on a report is stored.

There are some limitations on what you can do with the PAF database file within Ancestral Quest, however. The following commands and/or features will be unavailable:

  • Within the Add/Edit Individual dialog box, you cannot choose a different Birth Rite; the only available option is Christening. You can, however, add a different birth rite as an Other Event.
  • You are limited the option of using Quick Entry (Simple); the Quick Entry (Advanced) feature is not available.
  • Bookmarks are not available
  • In the Edit menu, the following are disabled:
    • Quick Entry Place List
    • Replace Names/Dates/Places
  • In the Tools menu, the following are disabled:
    • Convert Names to Mixed Case
    • Convert Place Abbreviations
    • Change Log
How do I convert a PAF database over to an AQ database format?

To convert from a .paf database to the .aq database format, follow these steps:

  1. Have the desired PAF database opened up within Ancestral Quest.
  2. Up on the menu bar, click on File, then select Database Converter.
  3. In the window that appears, notice that the dot will appear next to Ancestral Quest, indicating the type of database to which you are converting.
  4. Click to select the checkbox labeled Preserve old RIN Numbers if you want to keep the RINS the same in the new AQ database as in the PAF file from which you are converting.
  5. Click the Continue button.
  6. The Save As dialog box appears. Here, you can choose the location for the new file and give the file a filename. It will use the same filename as the PAF file by default, and you can keep that option. Or, if you wish, you can change the file name to something completely different (As an example, if your PAF database is Smith.paf, the default new name for the AQ database will be Smith.aq. You could change that name to something else, however, if desired). Once you have the proper location and file name, click the Convert button to continue.

The database will then be copied to the new AQ format. The original PAF database file will remain untouched. A window appears to state that the conversion is complete. This window also may instruct you on what to do to correct any Custom Events sentences. Click OK when you are done with that window.

Note: We need to explain a little about something going on after you convert the file.

  1. You had the PAF database open in AQ.
  2. You then converted the PAF database to an AQ database format.
  3. The newly created .aq database opened up, in front of the .paf database, so there are now two copies of AQ running, one with each version of the same database.
  4. Look down at the Windows Taskbar (along the bottom edge of your screen). You should see at least one button for AQ (if you do see just one button for AQ, point to it with your mouse). There is one button/thumbnail of AQ with the .paf file, then another button/thumbnail for AQ with the .aq file.
  5. Click on the first button/thumbnail to view the .paf file.
  6. To verify that you are viewing the .paf file, down on the AQ Status Bar, at the bottom of this AQ program window, check the filename. It should end with .paf.
  7. Exit out of this Ancestral Quest window (click the X on the red button in the upper-right corner of this AQ window).
  8. You should now be in the AQ program window containing the .aq database.
  9. Now, when you exit out of AQ, since the .aq database was the last one closed, it should automatically reopen the next time you run Ancestral Quest, directly.

You can now delete the PAF database file, if desired. Note that if you keep both versions of the database, they are completely different copies of that file. If you go into PAF, you will be editing the original PAF database, and not the new AQ database. Likewise, if you go into the AQ file in Ancestral Quest, you will be editing the new AQ database, and not the original PAF database.

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