Upgraded software soon available for home-computer genealogy

Refinements to the Personal Ancestral File - making it easier for home computer owners to store, manage and share their genealogical information - have been announced by the Church Family History Department.

The Personal Ancestral File is a Church-originated software program for storing family group records, pedigree charts and other genealogical information in home computers. Past refinements have allowed users to share data by telephone and to submit information on computer disk to the Family History Department for temple ordinance work and inclusion in the Ancestral File, a large genealogical data base.Release 2.2 of the Personal Ancestral File - which has the most recent refinements - will be available in mid-December, according to Lance Jacob, team leader in the Ancestral File Operations Unit of the Family History Department.

The new release supersedes and replaces Release 2.1 and all previous MS-DOS releases of the Personal Ancestral File. (See July 16, 1988, Church News for information about Release 2.1.)

Jacob said Release 2.2 has the features of the previous versions plus these refinements among others:

  • Duplicate entries of the same individual can be merged into a single entry.
  • Information can be entered into the computer as a pedigree chart is being searched. Previously, information could only be entered into the computer from the main menu portion of the program.
  • The program has been updated to comply with recent changes made in the standards to qualify names for temple ordinances.
  • A key component of the software package has been the Genealogical Information Exchange program, which allows a user to share information with another user via computer disk. In the past it was necessary to copy all of the information that was copied from another user's data base into one's own data base. Now, it is possible to copy selected portions of the other user's information, avoiding records one may not want.

Jacob said computer owners who already have previous versions of the Personal Ancestral File will be able to buy upgrade packages incorporating the new refinements. Registered users will receive a letter giving information on how to order the upgrade package.

For now, Release 2.2 is only available in a version for MS-DOS (IBM-compatible) computers. However Release 2.1 was made available for Macintosh computers last November and will still be available, Jacob said.

The Personal Ancestral File continues to grow in popularity, Jacob said, estimating that more than 100,000 have been sold so far. Based on user registrations, he said that roughly half of the owners are not Church members.

The price of Release 2.2 will be $35, the same as previous releases. Inquiries may be addressed to Ancestral File Operations, 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. The telephone number is (801)240-2584.

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