History of Ancestral Quest

The Personal Ancestral File program (PAF) was written using the MSDOS operating system, and also ran under clones of that operating system, such as PCDOS.

As the Windows environment became more popular, those responsible for PAF could see that they needed to make choices in the near future. The Windows operating system would eventually overshadow, then eliminate MSDOS. They most likely faced three options:

1.  Retrain their MSDOS computer programmers to write code for the Windows operating system, then rewrite PAF.

2.  Hire Windows programmers to replace some or all of the MSDOS programmers, and have them rewrite PAF.

3.  Find an existing genealogical software program which ran under Windows, and replace the MSDOS version of PAF.

They met with Gaylon Findlay, of Incline Software, and discussed this with him. He donated the source code for Ancestral Quest to the church. They made minor changes to the outward appearance, and released it as Personal Ancestral File 4.0.

Many users of Ancestral Quest began using the PAF program.

PAF and Ancestral Quest shared a parallel development up to PAF version 5.2.18. At that point, the church stopped development of PAF. Ancestral Quest has continued its development.

Ancestral Quest opens, reads and writes PAF files, which can then be opened, read and written by PAF. Ancestral Quest is a certified Add-In to PAF, and was the first product to be certified for access to the new.familysearch.org databases.

Ancestral Quest is like PAF on steroids. From the other point of view, PAF is like a brain-dead version of Ancestral Quest.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, Dale McIntyre.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here?  Leave a Comment.

Modified 2015-03-29


  1. Richard Durrans

    Dale. Would like to contact you about a problem I am having trying to merge a file in AQ-14 and AQ-15.

  2. David Miller

    I am switching from Windows to Linux Mint; is there an AQ version for Linux in the near future? If not, how about some help with using “wine” a linux program used to “run” other windows programs. (No, not the bottle of good stuff ;~) Have been using PAF and later AQ since 1989 and don’t really want to switch.

    • David, sorry about the delay. AQ runs on the Mac, which is similar to LINUX, so It may happen some day. The main problem is that the number of windows users is huge. The number of Mac users is large. The number of LINUX users who have an interest in Family History is somewhat smaller. It becomes a question of the most efficient use of staff time. Probably the best way to get an answer is to ask the people who write the code. Try gfindlay@ancquest.com.

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