FamilySearch Features of
Ancestral Quest
General Information

FamilySearch Certified Logo

Ancestral Quest is certified by FamilySearch to access and update the Family Tree database of, and to reserve and request ordinances. It is also a FamilySearch certified PAF add-in, which means that a user of PAF 5 can use AQ to synchronize his/her local PAF database with the Family Tree of FamilySearch and then reserve ordinances, print FORs, and track the progress of the ordinances. So whether you use AQ by itself, or want to use PAF with AQ as an add-in, you will be able to synchronize your data with FamilySearch Family Tree. In 1999, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints licensed the Ancestral Quest code. Their product, PAF 5, is derived from that older version of AQ.

Ancestral Quest is a full-featured family tree records manager that has been available for Windows users since 1994, and is now also available for Mac users. Over the years, Incline Software has licensed the software to be modified by many different companies and sold under many different names. Ancestral Quest, along with its licensed derivatives, is arguably one of the most widely used family tree software products in the world*. (See product description.)

Ancestral Quest Basics is a free version of AQ. All of the essential features of AQ are available in AQ Basics, but some of the more advanced features are missing. Most of the capabilities to work with FamilySearch are available in AQ Basics.

If you are just a beginner, you might want to get started by downloading AQ, then create a new file, and then use the “Import Family Lines” feature to download ancestors from into your file to get you started. Whether you use Ancestral Quest or AQ Basics, this feature will be available for free use to download data from

Who Should Use Ancestral Quest?

  • Anyone interested in recording their family tree will find Ancestral Quest to be an easy-to-use, fully functional program.
  • Users of PAF 4 and PAF 5 are already used to the screens, methods and reports of AQ, because these versions of PAF were developed from an earlier version of AQ. If they are ready for a major upgrade for PAF, then switching to AQ will feel like a major upgrade to PAF. While AQ is not developed or maintained by the LDS Church, it is developed and maintained by the company who provided the primary code for PAF 5 to the LDS Church.
  • Users of PAF 5 who want to continue to use their PAF 5 program will find that AQ is the ideal PAF Add-in. It will work beside PAF 5 to provide additional functionality not available in PAF 5, such as the new capabilities to work with FamilySearch Family Tree, and yet let the user continue to use PAF 5 as their main program.

What are The New Features?

  • Perform matches on individuals or groups to determine which of your local records have corresponding records in the Family Tree of
  • With the click of a mouse, import individuals and families from FS into your local file, or export individuals and families from your local file into FS. No more need to use GEDCOM to transfer information from your local file into FS.
  • Easily identify and combine duplicates in FamilySearch Family Tree.
  • Compare individuals in your database side-by-side with the corresponding individuals in FS, and synchronize information between your file and the Family Tree with the click of a mouse.
  • Compare families in your file side-by-side with the corresponding families in FS as you update your families with any additional information in the Family Tree, and update the Family Tree with information from your file.
  • Reserve ordinances, create FORs, track the progress of ordinances to keep your local file up-to-date, and assign ordinance cards to others. Unreserve ordinances as needed.
  • Compare, upload and download FamilySearch Memories and AQ Scrapbook items using AQ's Memories Manager
  • Import ancestors from the Family Tree into your existing file or create a new file with ancestral lines from the Family Tree. All LDS Ordinances will be brought into your local file from FS if you have the LDS options turned on.
  • New columns in the Name List let you sort by FS ID to help you identify which individuals have been linked to FS and which have not.

What Users are Saying About the
FamilySearch Features of Ancestral Quest

"Wow. Your new capability with FamilySearch is, indeed, impressive. It is head and shoulders above others that I have had the privilege of seeing."

- a Family History Center staff member.

"As I use AQ, I find myself wanting to exclaim over and over again how nicely the options are laid out and how logically the FS functions are invoked."

- Marshall Brough, Australia

"This new Ancestral Quest is absolutely brilliant for interfacing with the FamilySearch site. ... I can see myself losing lots of sleep. When I am excited about something all I want to do is use it. This is brilliant for genealogy. Absolutely brilliant.

This program is extremely fast."

- Ken Doyle, Australia

"For the last week, I have been linking/syncing/combining and adding new records via AQ into FS. I have now linked/synced/combined or added over 26,000 individuals into FS from my 83,000-person data base. Many of those that I have linked/synced are records of the same persons on whom I "donated" data ten years ago to PRF. However, literally thousands of persons in my data base are "new" individuals which I've entered into FS via AQ. This work keeps me (actually my computer) busy 8-10 hours a day.

I mention the above so you can appreciate the "heavy lifting" that AQ has been doing. The more I use AQ with FS, the more I like it and the more I appreciate what you folks at AQ have accomplished. Thanks for an outstanding product."

- AJG, Ellicott City, Maryland

"Ancestral Quest is an incredible program. The recent interface with FamilySearch is unbelievable. I was trying to make it way too hard. It is complex, but worth it. The tutorial opens doors you could never imagine having access to."

- Nancy Oram

* Ancestral Quest has been published under its own name of "Ancestral Quest," along with the titles of "LDS Ancestral Quest", "Family Ties", "Family Trees Quick N Easy", "Heritage Family Tree Deluxe", and "Family Tree Heritage". Licensed, altered versions of the code have been distributed by as "Ancestry Family Tree" and by the LDS Church as "Personal Ancestral File".