Pros / There are an abundance of search types and relationship calculators to find people and connections in large databases.
Cons / The problem-spotter missed some obvious errors during our testing.
Verdict / Genealogists with a lot of names to organize can benefit from this software, since you can import GEDCOM files and sync your family tree with FamilySearch, but its quirks keep it just shy of the top three.
Editor's Note: Ancestral Quest 15 is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. The manufacturer lists the new version as offering the following features: record hints from MyHeritage, FamilySearch and Findmypast; link and exchange scrapbook items with FamilySearch Memories; family view child list enhancements; pedigrees viewable up to seven generations; enhanced merge tools. We will evaluate, rank and review Ancestral Quest 15 when we next update the Genealogy Software reviews. Meanwhile, enjoy our review below about Ancestral Quest 14.
Ancestral Quest is great for genealogists who want to organize the names and records of thousands of ancestors in their database. It has a huge database with several options for calculating relationships and searching for ancestors and other individuals.
In addition to its own database, this genealogy software connects to popular genealogy websites like Ancestry and MyHeritage. While it connects to these databases, you can’t synchronize trees to the web or import sources directly into Ancestral Quest from most of the major searchable genealogy websites. However, Ancestral Quest is FamilySearch certified, which means you can, at least, export family trees using a proper login and ID credentials from the FamilySearch website. This is an advantage, as FamilySearch is one of the biggest online family search services, but it would be nice to have more options.
You can also import and export GEDCOM files using this program. When we tested this feature, Ancestry Quest successfully imported the names, dates and event locations of the 68 individuals in our file. We could access the names in a variety of formats and see several generations of an individual in a pedigree.
You can view an individual and their spouse and children on a single family screen separate from the rest of the names, or click on another tab to view a complete list of all the names in your file. Importing personal files with your ancestors' names is easy to do and doesn't require any reformatting or reconfiguring once it's in the program. Once the names you already have are laid out in a pedigree chart, you can fill in the missing names and information as your research reveals it.
Ancestral Quest has several tools for calculating relationships and searching for individuals. 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.
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's problem-spotter tool is nice to have, but it didn’t function as well as others did in our testing. 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 did.
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. But unlike some of the best genealogy software, Ancestral Quest lacks vivid, visually appealing backgrounds and templates that would allow you to create stunning heirlooms and genealogy-related gifts.
You can use Ancestral Quest to 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.
Ancestral Quest has a number of options for educating yourself on how to use the software and getting answers to your questions when you run into problems. There are helpful tutorials, FAQs and a number you can call on the company website. The representatives are good at responding promptly to emails as well, if that is your preferred communication method. The software is available for Mac and PC operating systems.
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. However, the program has its quirks, the most notable being the flawed problem-spotter feature.