When I first installed PAF back in the 1980s on my old CPM machine, everyone at the local Family History Center was cautiously curious. I worked in the computer industry and they wanted to see how this new-fangled computer software thing worked.
I loved PAF. It allowed me to organize my information. I probably didn’t use it exactly correctly, because I typed everything into the notes field which was, thankfully, of unlimited size.
I later discovered I should have been using source fields and such, but I’m not even sure there was a source field initially.
When the Mormon Church discontinued support for PAF in 2013, I was greatly saddened, not because the software had been free and I was now going to have to purchase software, but because I knew that software so well and was so comfortable using it. I didn’t want to have to take the time to evaluate and learn anything else. To me, software is only a tool and the tool I had was fine.
So, I’ve used it for the past 2+ years unsupported, but I know full well that with the advent of new operating systems, one day it’s not going to work anymore and I surely don’t want to have a crisis and have to adapt on top of a crisis situation. I knew it was better to be proactive.
Recently, I had a forced upgrade to Window 10 with the purchase of a new laptop, and I need my genealogy on my laptop. I mean, you never know when you’re going to need to refer to your genealogy! If you think I’m kidding, I met one my closest cousins, Kathy, at a client site about 15 years ago (how can it have been that long???) completely by accident and yes, we compared our family trees on my laptop. I just remember wondering if our unknown “cousinhood” was the reason we got along so well. We went on to become and remain very close friends.
- I asked several people with large data bases if they had problems when they converted. Specifically, anyone with large notes files, if the entire notes file came over, or they lost data. The reviews were unanimously and overwhelmingly positive for RootsMagic, with data bases far larger than mine with its 37,000+ records.
- RootsMagic had everything that I wanted but without being overly complex, cluttered or busy.
- RootsMagic was intuitive to use.
- RootsMagic felt very PAFlike to me in terms of screen layout and functions, just PAF on steroids.
- RootsMagic offers a “RootsMagic for PAF Users Guide” which made me feel better.
So, here’s my last look at PAF on my computer. I feel a bit guilty, like I’m abandoning an old friend or an old car that has served me so well for a very long time.
I imported my file into RootsMagic which took an amazingly short time, so short that I was sure there was a problem. There wasn’t. I checked notes, they were there. Now obviously I can’t check all 37,000+ records individually, but some of the larger ones are there and intact – all of the records I checked were fine.
Here’s my first look at the equivalent screen in Rootsmagic. I was very pleased to see that my all-caps first names for my direct line ancestors had come over as all-caps.
And guess what, the first I thing I see to do is something that has been bugging me forever. I discovered that my grandparents had a child that died, but when I added the child, PAF put them at the end of the list. Yes, that could have been changed, but it wasn’t easy nor intuitive, so I never did.
Well, it’s easy and intuitive now and I fixed it with ‘move up’ and ‘move down’ arrows. Yes, I like this software already. Little triangles pop up, discretely, if there is something you need to look at. I clicked on the one for this child.
It told me I hadn’t added the sex for the child, and I hadn’t because I don’t know the sex of the child. Thank goodness not many of my entries have problem lists, and the ones that do are short.
But hey, look, I’m already using two new features I didn’t have before. I think I like RootsMagic.
Next, I printed RootsMagic for PAF Users which equates PAF functions to RootsMagic functions in the lingo of the PAF user, and went through this document step by step.
All in all, less than an hour and I’m up and running and feeling confident. I have changed the children’s birth orders in several families, edited a few things and now all I have to do is to keep myself from going back and looking at PAF, out of habit. Goodbye really needs to be goodbye. Goodbye old friend!