AutoCluster Your AncestryDNA Matches!


AncestryDNA recently announced that they sold about a gazillion kits over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period. That translates into more shared matches for everyone! Woohoo! But who else is a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of matches in our match lists? Who are all these strangers? What does it mean? What should you do? Empower your AncestryDNA Shared Matches with Genetic Affairs AutoCluster.


The brilliance of AncestryDNA is in the number of matches we get. Leverage your endless match list with the AncestryDNA Shared Matches tool to see how those matches naturally fall into groups of people who all match each other (we call them clusters). Those clusters likely represent branches of your family. Most of us have made paper and pencil lists, used spreadsheets, tried browser extensions, and other methods (pulsating blobs, anyone?) to sort and track these groups. These methods can be prone to error, don’t provide sufficient granularity, and are too time-consuming.


Clustering IS VITAL. Once you have identified how your AncestryDNA shared matches cluster, you can use pedigree or tree triangulation to identify the likely most recent common ancestor (MRCA) or ancestors among members of a cluster, which helps to identify people who belong in your family tree. How does that work? Pick a cluster. Look at all the trees in that cluster. Find people and families who appear in more than one tree. Find where these reappearing families intersect through marriage. Try to plug those couples or their descendants into your own tree. Eureka! You’ve just identified a branch of your ancestry. Knowing where your matches belong in your tree grows that tree and helps you bust through brick walls. (Ok, ok, I admit my description of pedigree triangulation is scant, at best. Surely, someone has blogged about it?)


There’s a new tool called Genetic Affairs AutoCluster that automatically sorts your AncestryDNA Shared Matches, organizes them into color-coded clusters, and presents it all to you in a dynamic, easy to understand matrix format that you can sort several ways. You can adjust which of your AncestryDNA Shared Matches are included. AutoClusters also comes with a data table containing all the matches that is searchable and sortable and tells you who has a tree!! And gives you a link to that tree. The tool also works for FTDNA and 23andMe.

Your AutoCluster might look like this:





Thank you Evert-Jan Blom, developer for Genetic Affairs AutoCluster and fellow DNA enthusiast for giving me something that works!



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Categories: Genealogy
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