Comparison of genealogy software

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This page will try to illustrate some of the features of genealogy database programs other than Gramps. It will serve to allow Gramps users who do not have access to these programs to understand those programs.

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. Originally Family Tree Maker screens were going to be displayed but the version available is 9 years old and no longer representatiove. FTM screen shots are available at ''. These programs have only Windoze versions although they run reasonably well on Wine.

These are 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 - open indicates a dead end while filled arrows point to further family information regarding that person. Obviously, pressing the arrow moves the display to another family view.
  • 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.

 These are the Pegigree 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

 These are 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 and reordered.
These are the basic Add/Edit individual screens



  • The same basic screen serves to add and edit information although with other titles, the basic business end of any program - where the data are entered.
  • The other two screens of AQ allow a bit more data to be added.
  • Here we begin to see the philosophical difference between Gramps and other programs, Gramps has a far deeper commitment to an event driven life.
  • Clicking the S opens a screen for source data entry. AQ allows entry of a category for a source and uses it to filter the source display.

submitted 17 Feb 08 by David Rowell [email protected]