AncestorNews: PAF in Palm

As most regular readers of the newsletter know, I bought a palm-sized machine last year and began exploring genealogy software. In a recent issue I wrote about GedVisor, one of the newest software programs for handhelds such as Palms, Visors and the new Sony CLIE. Recently, a new—and free—program was introduced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Using the new Personal Ancestral File software, you can convert your family file to a format which can be read by all machines using the Palm Operating System (OS). Here's how to get it.

Go to FamilySearch at, click on Order/Download Products, then on Software Downloads Free, then on Personal Ancestral File 5.1. You'll next see a screen description of PAF, a license agreement and finally a registration screen. Once you've filled out the registration, you can download PAF 5.1. However, you'll also need to download the PAF for Palm operating systems. The link for it is near the bottom of the download screen—it's easy to miss, and in fact I did! Install PAF for PalmOS in the usual manner via a hot synch.

To convert your GEDCOM to PalmOS format, just open your desktop PAF program, click on File, then Export. The eighth choice down is to export to PalmOS format. You can also choose whether you want the export to include notes, sources and confidential data. Once converted, just perform a hot synch on your handheld machine and your data will be transferred.

If you still don't have a handheld, this might be a good time to buy. With several new models recently introduced, I've seen some great rebates and prices. You'll find the biggest choices at Palm and Handspring.

If you're interested in other genealogy software for handhelds, check out these programs.