Personal Ancestry Writer is a free genealogy program for the Macintosh that has been around for years. I first wrote about it nine years ago in the February 10, 1997, edition of this newsletter. (You can read that article at http://eogn.com/archives/news9706.txt). Now author Howard Metcalfe has released version 50. Yes, that's fifty releases.
Personal Ancestry Writer II (often referred to as "PAWriter II") is available in two versions: one for MacOS 8.6/9.x and one for MacOS X. It is modeled on Personal Ancestral File (PAF) for the Macintosh. PAF was sold by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), but all development stopped on that program some years. PAF also has problems when operating on OS X. In contrast, Personal Ancestry Writer II has many of the same features as PAF but is actively being developed and supported. It also works well on OS X.
Personal Ancestry Writer II keeps all of its text files in RTF format so that you can use AppleWorks, Microsoft Office for Macintosh, OpenOffice.org, or any other word processor for editing. You do not have to learn a different word processor just for use in your genealogy work.
Personal Ancestry Writer II also generates files for the web in HTML format and desktop publishing files in MML format for FrameMaker. The generated report files include genealogical dictionaries, registers, ahnentafels, and lineages, as well as some interesting text files and pedigree charts.
PAWriter version 50 was released on Saturday, March 25, 2006, with changes from version 49 as follows:
- Added pictures and a Pictures Menu
- Reassigned command-B, -O (letter O) and -W; command-B will now be used to show/hide the shortcut buttons while command-O and command-W will be used in the Pictures menu.
- Added tagging of people with pictures, and with pictures that can't be found.
- Added a Window menu.
- Updated the reference guide to reflect these changes. See the reference guide, Basic Navigation > Accessing Pictures, for an overview.
You can learn more about Personal Ancestry Writer II, a free genealogy program for Macintosh systems, at: http://www.lanopalera.net/Genealogy/AboutPAWriter.html