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PAW2U is the universal binary version of Personal Ancestry Writer II, aka PAWriter. It combines most of the features of the LDS Personal Ancestral File program (PAF) for the Mac, for which all development stopped a few years ago after release 2.3.1, with additional features that generate Web pages in HTML, word processing files in RTF for example, AppleWorks, and desktop publishing files in MML for FrameMaker. The generated report files include genealogical dictionaries, registers, ahnentafels and lineages-such as appear on this site-as well as some interesting text files and pedigree charts.

PAWriter also provides more...

What's New

Version 103.0:
  • Two errors were corrected (i.e., using the tab key in the main window when no people were tagged, and not updating the tagged people count when exchanging cached people)


OS X 10.6.6 or later

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PAW2U User Discussion

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Lusi Member IconComment+0


Reply1 reply
Version 100
Howard H. Metcalfe (Developer)

A PAF file is a data file, not a GEDCOM file. PAWriter only imports GEDCOM files. You need to find a way to run PAF and generate a GEDCOM file from it using the ANSEL character set. Then you can import that GEDCOM into PAWriter.

Ramafan Member IconReview+1

It's a great app in function the only problem I have, as a designer, is its so darn ugly.

Reply7 replies
Version 99
Howard H. Metcalfe (Developer)

Form follows function.

And a KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) GUI is appropriate for a free app that the author wrote for himself and then decided to share with anyone who might find it useful. No corporation here, just the little old author.


Maybe you two should get in touch? I love good GUIs but very often programers don't see the need or don't have the skill or time to also cover the GUI side of things...

Howard H. Metcalfe (Developer)

It would help if the reviewers on this subject would be specific about where the GUI is ugly.



Mr. Metcalfe:

It's not actually ugly per se, just kind of grey. I'm sure you've looked at the other major genealogy programs so you can compare yours and theirs, and as you say you're just one guy.

While getting (perhaps a volunteer?) GUI designer might help streamline things and gussy it up, what not enough people take the time to say is "thank you for making a free genealogical program available to those who would fine it useful, and thanks for your efforts to update and support it." We kind of take that for granted sometimes. :)

Howard H. Metcalfe (Developer)

Thanks for the kind words, Charles M. As to the greyness, note that the background color for the PAWriter windows can be chosen in Preferences. I like a gold color for my use. Also bear in mind that this is a hobby for me, and a part-time one at that. Most of my time is devoted to genealogical research and other pursuits of interest to me. But thanks again for your comments.


Howard, maybe your software would be a good candidate to be put under an OpenSource License? Do that and put the code on GitHub and everybody would benefit.

Then other developers could actually contribute to your work and send improvements. Did you ever consider that?

Howard H. Metcalfe (Developer)

RE Monkeyjunkey entry dated10 Aig 2013:

Please note that I developed PAWriter for my own use and then decided to share it with anyone who might find it useful. It is not a full-time occupation for me. Also note that PAWriter has no restrictions on its use, and I have no objection to anyone who wished to duplicate the functionality of PAWriter for general usage. Just give me a little credit in such a new program and I'm happy. I don't wish to continue expanding PAWriter, and welcome anyone else who does, from scratch. Just use its functionality in a new programs and have fun. I simply don't have the time nor effort to support someone else's efforts in that direction. So please have fun pursuing such an effort, open source or not. I just won't be available except for occasional questions. Sorry.

By the way, PAWriter is written in what used to be called REALbasic, the REALstudio, and now Xojo.

Anapat Member IconReview+12

I agree with other comments on this page. PAW2U is an incredible program for genealogy and it is free. I use it actually to understand the relationship in my wife's family were families and kids are numerous. As they all have those long tahitian names, it is great that the software always asks me to check the spelling. I could even establish the relationship correctly when descent or pedigree are confusing because men and women in Tahiti have often more than one partner in their lives. There is also a lot of child adoption. I tried other programs on the Mac before and I agree that this one is the easiest to use and the best also for its perfect respect of GEDCOM files, so you can exchange and compare your research with others over the internet and even on different platforms. Thanks to the developer for this great piece of software ! I also love the retro style of the interface it's so simple and well made !

Reply0 replies
Version 92
Tianissimo Member IconComment+0

This sounds great. I'll try it.

Reply0 replies
Version 88
nealnt Member IconComment+21

This program is designed with the Christian faiths in mind. The references to baptism for instance is nor relevant to many religions and I wish could be removed. How about making some of these fields user selectable? Maybe I want to include Bar Mitzvah date instead of baptism date?

Reply1 reply
Version 85

Baptism dates is not meant to be secular. If you've spent any time researching genealogy you'd find that baptismal records are the best and sometimes only way to verify findings.

Hurtig Member IconComment+8

MacWorld posted a four-mice review of PAWriter in July 2007 at http://www.macworld.com/article/57840/2007/05/paw69.html

Reply0 replies
Version 84
NikonMD Member IconComment+1

Any genealogist who ever used PAF knows it is an efficient way to save and document your genealogy research. PAWriter II continues the tradition. It may look a little old school, but the familiar layout is very easy to navigate and moving around your family tree is very straight forward. PAWriter has added some impressive tools to the old Mac version of PAF and for me PAWriter was a godsend and an inspiration to continue documenting my research. PAWriter II 84 is an example of how good the author is at keeping the program functional and stable. If you need more features then you can always export a GEDCOM file for use in another program, but for me PAWriter II does it all.

Reply0 replies
Version 84
appledogx Member IconReview+146

It is good to find a free geneology program.

I do see some shortcomings, though. It does not provide for entry of same-sex partners in families, requiring partners to be a man and a woman. In this day and age, it would be more useful to allow different mixes in partners. It was also impossible to cancel entry of a partner, from what I could see.

The user interface seems very OS-9, and the default color for the background is horrible. Fortunately, you can change it.

Reply3 replies
Version 84

Why would same-sex partnerships need a genealogy program? Obviously they cannot procreate and therefore they are a dead end of evolution. Most countries that allow these kinds of partnerships don't allow adoption. The purpose of a genealogy program is to show the different generations of a traditional family over long periods of time with marriage, children, births and deaths.


In response to Big-Mac-XXL. It may be important for some people to show the family relationship, not just pure genetic genealogy. Also, there are states where these couples adopt and in the future that is most likely going to open up and become a more frequent thing.


Big-Mac-XXL-Female couples have children and male couples use surrogates. Genealogy programs also help us track genetic disorders and health problems. Keeping track of extended and blended families makes our trees richer and documents history.

sjha Member IconReview+124

I am very impressed with this application. Having tried a number of genealogy applications this was the only freeware one that imported properly from a GEDCOM file (one that several non-free applications could not cope with). Highly recommended.

Reply0 replies
Version 83
user icon-3
Version 96
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Current Version (103.x)


Downloads 16,438
Version Downloads 538
License Free
Date 11 Mar 2014
Platform OS X / Intel 32
Price Free
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