PROS / There are an abundance of search types and relationship calculators to find people and connections in large databases.
CONS / The problem-spotter feature is unable to catch obvious errors.
VERDICT / The organizing and listing features in Ancestral Quest make it a good fit for genealogists with large databases; however, the program does have issues with catching errors.
Like all the best genealogy software, Ancestral Quest connects to popular genealogy websites like Ancestry, FamilySearch and MyHeritage. You can also add and bookmark your favorite sites around the web using the in-app browser. This program is a good fit for people with thousands of recorded ancestors.
Ancestral Quest has several tools for calculating relationships and searching for individuals in a huge database. There are three different searches available on the toolbar: One icon is reserved for searching individuals and marriages, another for individuals, and a third for relationships. While these are useful, this is a redundant feature. Many programs have simple customizable searches in one option.
Many of the searchable genealogy sites have family tree builder features available, but Ancestral Quest can’t synchronize trees to the web or import sources directly into the software from most of these. You can export trees to and from FamilySearch with the proper login and ID credentials. This is because Ancestral Quest is one of only three programs in our genealogy software review that is FamilySearch certified.
In addition to performing searches, you can calculate relationships and view connections between people. Even if two individuals are generations apart, you can see the relationship listed on a bottom panel in the software. You can set the desired person as the root individual and then roll your mouse over the person you want to know his or her connection to. Ancestral Quest also has a relationship calculator in the toolbar that allows you to see the connection in greater detail.
Another useful feature in Ancestral Quest is the ditto tool. For siblings, multiple marriages or any kinds of relationship linking many people to an individual, the ditto tool connects individuals in bulk. This allows you to add multiple children to the same couple quickly. Also, if you find duplicates in your database, you can combine profiles with the merge tool on the toolbar.
Ancestral Quest has a problem-spotter feature, but it needs improvement. To test this feature, we intentionally listed a child born two years after his mother’s birthdate. While this should be an obvious error, the program didn’t catch this flaw in our listing. Additionally, it didn’t always point out duplicate entries as other family history software we reviewed did.
Another test we performed was the importation of test GEDCOM files. These files contained data for 68 individual family members. Ancestral Quest correctly imported names, dates and event locations of each individual, but some of the family connections were lost, and we needed to reconnect them once we opened the file within Ancestral Quest.
When it comes to charting, Ancestral Quest is best for professional, academic or record-keeping purposes. You can customize the look of your charts with basic color-coding to differentiate family lines. The best genealogy software provides vivid, visually appealing backgrounds and templates to create heirlooms and genealogy-related gifts – features Ancestral Quest lacks.
Ancestral Quest can create formatted citations based on the sources you enter. Sources plug in via a blank text field, or you can enter source information through established text fields. The program has a long list of source types you can add to your database, but it asks for the same criteria regardless of the citation type.
With its extensive search features, Ancestral Quest is best suited for users with large databases. You can search for specifics beyond an individual’s profile. Relationship searches, marriage searches and individual searches help you find exactly what you need in a sea of people. Despite this, the program has its quirks, the most notable being the flawed problem-spotter feature.