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AutoCluster - new tool to group shared matches

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  • AutoCluster - new tool to group shared matches

    This post may fall under a forum rule not to promote other businesses, but if so, I guess it will be deleted. I think the tool being discussed is similar to using GEDmatch or DNAGedcom, in that those two are websites that provide other tools to use with your DNA file or match list, and each has a tool or level that requires payment to use. If GEDmatch and DNAGedcom can be discussed in the forums here, I think this tool can be, as well.

    A few days ago, I came across mention of this new tool, which can be used to automatically "cluster" shared matches on charts showing groups that may represent branches of your family. I have not tried it, but was wondering if others had heard of it and had tried it. It is called "AutoCluster," by a company called Genetic Affairs. AutoCluster retrieves matches from three companies: FTDNA, 23andMe and Ancestry. The result is a graph to visualize the clusters of shared matches, which essentially replaces using a spreadsheet to do so. Many people don't even use a spreadsheet to organize their matches into such groups, so for them and those that do use spreadsheets (but find it difficult or tedious), this could be a useful tool. After using an initial supply of free "credits," additional credits are available to purchase at a reasonable fee.

    From their website, an "Explanation of AutoCluster analysis:"
    AutoCluster organizes your AncestryDNA matches into shared match clusters that likely represent branches of your family. Each of the colored cells represents an intersection between two of your matches, meaning, they both match you and each other. These cells in turn are grouped together both physically and by color to create a powerful visual chart of your shared matches clusters. *

    Each color represents one shared match cluster. Members of a cluster match you and most or all of the other cluster members. Everyone in a cluster will likely be on the same ancestral line, although the MRCA between any of the matches and between you and any match may vary. The generational level of the clusters may vary as well. One may be your paternal grandmother’s branch, another may be your paternal grandfather’s father’s branch.

    You may see several gray cells that do not belong to any color-grouped cluster. They usually represent a shared match where one of the two cousins is too closely related to you to belong to just one cluster. Each of these cousins belongs to a color-grouped cluster, the gray cell indicates that one of them belongs in both clusters. Unfortunately, the underlying code does not support multiple cluster membership.

    * For more information on match clustering, see Bettinger, Blaine T. “Clustering Shared Matches,” The Genetic Genealogist, 3 January 2017.
    There has been quite a discussion in the Facebook group "Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques," (moderated by Blaine Bettinger) by people using this tool. It is a bit hard to follow unless you are also using it. Even if I decide to try it, I don't have time to do so for at least a month or more, so I'm just seeing if anyone here has experience with it in the meantime.

    My concern is that in order to use AutoCluster, it needs to have your login information for any of the three companies it can use. I'm not sure if there is any workaround for that (apparently there is for Ancestry). The FAQ page on their website also has a link to the manual for AutoCluster, and a video tutorial (in which I found the audio quality to be very poor). Even if I decide to try it, I don't have time to do so for at least a month or more, so I'm just seeing if anyone here has experience with it in the meantime.

  • #2
    Roberta Estes has just blogged about AutoCluster today, which may help explain it better than I can.

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    • #3
      This is very interesting. Visual tools are can be real time savers - once you have mastered how to use and interpret them.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by KATM View Post
        I have not tried it, but was wondering if others had heard of it and had tried it ...
        My concern is that in order to use AutoCluster, it needs to have your login information ...
        KATM - I've been following the posts on auto-clustering since it was first mentioned on GGT&T, but haven't tried it. Like you, I'm concerned about password security. Not sure if you've seen today's thread started by Jon Prain, which asks for level-headed evaluations of its usefulness - it's well worth a read. Included in the thread is a question about password security, and a very sensible suggestion to change your password after receiving the data/files.

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        • #5
          Sounds good - I will check it out when time allows. Too much time on the computer already today!

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