Just like children, genetic genealogists are always on the lookout for a new toy (tool) to play with. I’m not saying that in a bad way. I count myself in the group. We are always looking for that new tool that will help us with our DNA analysis and for me, I’m always looking for a tool that will help me break down my brick wall.
The tool I’m talking about this week, and sometimes it seems like they come out weekly, is Genetic Affairs. I saw this tool when it launched a few weeks ago and what it did was collect all your DNA sign-ins and then it would send you notices when you had new matches. You can set it for daily, weekly, monthly or a mix of updates. At the time I didn’t give it much of a look because I know enough about myself that I’m checking all my profiles pretty regularly and didn’t think I needed to pay for the service.
But then this week I saw several of the Facebook pages talking about AutoClusters. What the AutoClusters function does is it takes the DNA matches you have at Ancestry, 23andMe or Family Tree DNA and it organizes your matches into shared match clusters that most likely represent branches of your family. Well after I saw a few examples I had to play with it. When you sign up for an account you automatically get 200 credits. So no need to pay for anything until you give it a try
For my first try, I used the standard settings which start the autoCluster with matches 250cM and stops autoCluster with matches that share less than 50cM for Approach A (you have the option of using as many as 1800 cM and as low as 9 cM). Note that there are in fact three Approaches. Approach B is based on relationships and Approach C is a combination of cM and relationships.
The results are sent to your email. In the email, it told me based on the parameters I had 20 matches that fit the criteria. It then listed the matches and told me how many cM we shared, our predicted relationship and the number of other matches we had in common. Not really info that you couldn’t get by looking but it’s nice to have it all in a list.
This is my list. Note that I can click on any of the names and it will take me directly to that person in Ancestry
Attached to the email are three reports.
- a csv file of all my matches
- a csv file of the autoCluster
- a html file of my autoCluster
Below is my html file of my autoCluster (this piqued my interest)
(At Ancestry I have 4 clusters and only 2 have 4 or more people)
Below the chart is an explanation of the parameters used and then a list of the names in each cluster with the cM shared, longest segment, whether they have a tree, the predicted relationship. It also gives a list of those people that are not included on the cluster chart because although they meet the parameters they don’t have any others to cluster with.
Depending on which company you’ve run your report on you’ll get other varied information.
On FTDNA you’ll see if you share X, mt information, Y information and notes
On 23andMe it shows your notes.
Below are my FTDNA report and 23andMe report based on approach A
As you can see at FTDNA I have 17 clusters and 67 people. But each cluster doesn’t have that many people in them. Only cluster 1, 2,3, 4 and 5 have 3 or more people.
My 23andMe results show me that I don’t have a lot of matches there. 🙂 But it does tell me that these 4 people are connected.
After running these reports I opted to get a membership. You can choose as low as $5 per month (for 550 credits) and as high as $50 per month. I also decided that I would opt for a monthly report on my 23andMe as I don’t check it as often as I should.
For the most part, I want to run more reports and see what the information tells me. Keep in mind if you are like me and are the gatekeeper of several DNA kits on Ancestry or FTDNA then you can run these same reports for other members of your family. I’ve already run the report on my mom’s DNA.
Each year I believe I’m close to breaking my brick walls. I get especially hopeful when every time I turn around we’re getting more and more tools (toys) for our genetic toolbox (toybox).
Note that since writing this blog but before it was posted to you. Roberta Estates has written a wonderful explanation of Genetic Affairs.
Note: This post above contains affiliate links. This means I make a percentage on sales via these links. This does not INCREASE the price you pay as a consumer. It’s simply a supplement to my income so I can continue to support The DNA Angel Project and to make donations to the Alzheimer’s’ Society