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  • Ancestral Author is an easy program to use. It guides you step by step through a procedure that transforms your genealogical research into an Adobe PDF document. Why PDF? Click here.

  • The PDF format is ideal for distributing your genealogical data. Distribute through email, on the internet, or print it out and use postal mail.

  • PDFs are less easily abused than GEDCOMs. They can't be indiscriminately uploaded to Rootsweb, FamilySearch, or other websites; and they can't easily be imported into somebody's genealogy database.

  • Easily transform a downloaded GEDCOM into a PDF. Just drag the GEDCOM onto the Ancestral Author desktop icon, and in a few seconds you'll have a fully hyperlinked and indexed PDF document. This makes it easy to view GEDCOMs downloaded from FamilySearch,, Rootsweb,, etc.

  • Or use the Ancestral Author wizard to create more elaborate PDF documents with title pages, chapters, sections, indexes, source references, table of contents, etc. See a small sample PDF document created by Ancestral Author here.

  • You can add pictures to your titles pages, such as a family crest, an old picture of the homestead, or a picture of your great-grandparents. Click here for more info.

  • You can embed pictures within the text of your document. For example, if you've written a biography of your ancestor, you can import a picture of him or her, give it a caption, and place it on the page containing the biography. For a sample, click here. You can also use this capability  to import scanned images of old documents. For a sample of this, click here. (It may take a while for the PDF file to download. You'll need have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer.)

  • You can automatically extract descendant reports from your GEDCOM, starting with any individual, including any number of generations. Any number of descendant reports can be extracted. For example, you can extract your father's ancestry in one descendant report, and your mother's ancestry in another. Each descendant report can be placed in the PDF document with its own chapter, and its own title: "Ancestry of My Mom", "Ancestry of My Dad".

  • Names are hyperlinked to pages. This makes it easy to navigate the genealogical relationships. Click on a hyperlinked name, and you are brought immediately to the page on which that person appears.

  • The index is fully hyperlinked too. Once you find someone in the index, just click on the page number, and you are brought immediately to that page.

  • Creates PDF documents up to 72,000 pages long, with 4.5 million hyperlinks. Extra capacity beyond these limits is also available. Send email to

  • Want to write a chapter that describes your research? Or acknowledge help from other researchers? No problem. Just write the chapter in an ordinary text file, using your favorite text editor, and import it into Ancestral Author. You can give it a chapter heading like "Acknowledgements", "Research Notes", etc.

  • Want to create an appendix that includes wills, deeds, and other research documents? Again, use the text file import facility, and give them chapter headings like "Appendix A - Wills", or "Appendix B - Deeds". You can import scanned images of these documents, too; giving your readers the opportunity to see the original documents.

  • Names can be output in uppercase or lowercase, depending on your preference.

  • You can format notes in a variety of ways, or suppress them altogether.

  • Two levels of chapter heading are supported. LEVEL 1 headings are used for chapters, LEVEL 2 headings are used for sections within a chapter. Any number of headings can be specified.

  • Headings are placed in a PDF outline view. Like a table of contents, it allows you to see the structure of the document at a glance, and to quickly jump to any chapter or section in the document. If you've included a table of contents in your document, the headings will appear there too.

  • Once you've set up your PDF document exactly the way you want, with the right chapters, headings, title page, and descendants reports, you can save the settings in a script file. From that point forward, import the script file into Ancestral Author and it will automatically regenerate your PDF document with hardly any effort on your part.

  • Source references are shown in the PDF file with a numerical superscript next to birth, death, burial location, and marriage events. If the PDF file is long, it can be cumbersome to scroll to the Sources And Endnotes chapter at the end of the document. To avoid this problem, you can insert source annotations (post-it notes) in the left margins of the document. Double click on the post-it note, and sources for the individual are displayed in a popup window.

  • Download Ancestral Author and give it a try. The trial version emits a watermark across each page. Register Ancestral Author to eliminate the watermark.