Genetic Affairs AutoFastClusters

There is an exciting new feature on Genetic Affairs – AutoFastCluster!!  You begin by entering your DNA matches and shared matches into the spreadsheet that’s now found inside Genetic Affairs.  Figure 1 shows the new spreadsheet in Genetic Affairs.

Figure 1. Genetic Affairs spreadsheet.

You enter the data into the online spreadsheet, select the cM range that you want to use, press ‘perform autocluster analysis’ and in a manner of seconds your clusters appear. An example of my results is shown in figure 2.  All the names are hidden for privacy.

Figure 2. AutoFastCluster results for my data.

The first match in the orange cluster is my known 2C. She and I share great grandparents, Thomas Byrnes and Bridget Mary Fenton. I wanted to get all of her matches and their shared matches into one large cluster analysis.  I used the online spreadsheet on Genetic Affairs, shown in figure 1, to enter my data for the analysis.  The AutoFastCluster gives a table at the bottom of the image with AutoCluster information.  Any of the notes you added to your match list will show up with that match in your cluster list.  Based on chatting with various matches I’ve been able to find connections to several surnames in our family.  Cluster 6, the pink one, contains surname Burns from County Roscommon, which is also where our Byrnes great grandfather was born.

Running an Analysis

To begin your analysis enter your DNA match, the amount of shared cM and any notes into the ‘Data match list’ on the left of the spreadsheet.  Next you add your shared matches into the ‘Shared match list’ on the right of the spreadsheet.  Figure 3 shows some data filled into the two lists.  None of the matches real names were used in this example.

Figure 3. Data entered into spreadsheet.

Once you’ve entered your data you decide what range for the max and min cM values. The highest cM value is 358 cM and the lowest is 20 cM, so I would run max 400 and min 15 cM.

At the bottom of your autocluster you have chose to save the cluster to your computer or go back to the spreadsheet page.  Figure 4 shows these options at the bottom of figure 2.

Figure 4. Options after you run an autocluster.

I often run a small test cluster and then go back and add more matches to my spreadsheet.  I find this particularly useful when I’m copying data from several different sites.  When you go back to the spreadsheet after running your cluster, it will initially be empty but clicking on ‘load’ will refill both lists with the data you most recently ran, which makes it very easy to add additional matches and their shared matches.  

Spreadsheet Options

There are a number of options shown on the spreadsheet between the two lists of data, as shown in figure 5. The Max, Min, Cluster size, and Name for the cluster are all used when you perform the Autocluster.  Other options allow you to export your data as CSV or Excel file, choose to clear your match list, your shared match list or both of them.  You can also save the match and shared match list locally in the program or add more rows to your lists if you need.  When you’re making your match list you need a minimum of 10 DNA matches in it in order to run a cluster analysis.

Figure 5. Options on spreadsheet.


The new AutoFastCluster feature provides an easy, rapid cluster analysis for your data.  It is displayed directly on your browser, and you don’t have to wait for an email and unzip the attached files n order to see your clusters.

Advanced Paste Options

I have been collecting my match and shared match data in two CSV files in Excel.  If you already have your data in a CSV or txt file you can copy and paste it into the Genetic Affairs spreadsheet. 

First select the ‘DNA Match name’ as if you were going to type in data.

Second hoover your mouse over the boundary between the ‘DNA Match name’ and ‘cM’ columns.  

Third left click your mouse and paste the data into the ‘DNA Match name’ list.   The same procedure is used to copy and paste data into the ‘Shared Match’ list.

Manual AutoClusters for LivingDNA

When I recently noticed that I had some matches at LivingDNA I did a Leeds1 analysis to analyze my shared matches to identify clusters. Now Genetic Affairs has a manual AutoCluster for LivingDNA that I can run using the CSV file that I made in my spreadsheet for my Leeds analysis. All I needed to do was to generate a second CSV file that contained my shared matches information.

To run manual AutoCluster for LivingDNA, I started with my match list from LivingDNA, shown in figure 1. I had put the name2 in Column A and the cM values in Column B, as shown in figure 2, when I ran my Leeds analysis. 

Figure 1. My list of matches from LivingDNA.

Now I added notes in Column C to my known matches because these notes will show up with my AutoCluster analysis. Both column B and C are optional, so it even works if you only supply the DNA match names. Then I saved the file as a CSV file.

Figure 2. Match file for manual AutoCluster for LivingDNA analysis.

The second file the manual AutoCluster analysis requires is a CSV file containing the shared matches. The first column of this file holds the match and the second column contains the shared match. One of the easiest ways to do get this information is to ‘view profile’ of each LivingDNA match, as shown in figure 3. 

Figure 3. View profile for an individual match.

Then scroll to the bottom of the shared matches page, highlight the entire page and copy its contents. Alternatively, you can select each shared match individually and paste it in the spreadsheet. The shared matches image from LivingDNA is shown in figure 4.

Figure 4. Highlighted shared matches for Van from LivingDNA.

Next paste the shared match information into a text editor such as Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on Mac. I’m using a Mac so the image in figure 5 is from Mac TextEdit. 

Figure 5. The copied shared matches in TextEdit.

The Mac TextEdit preserved the formatting from LivingDNA, however when I copied the names into my spreadsheet and saved as a CSV file, all the formatting disappeared and the file only contained text.  If you are using Notepad on Windows the formatting disappears when you copy it into Notepad.  Figure 6 shows my spreadsheet with the match’s name in Column A and the shared matches in Column B.

Figure 6. Shared match file for manual Auto-Cluster analysis.

The shared match file was also saved as CSV file.  I was using Excel to make these but any spreadsheet program, such as Notepad on Mac or Google spreadsheet, can be used. in order for manual Genetic Affairs AutoCluster recognizes the files, the word ‘shared’ needs to appear in the shared matches filename.  Other than that any filenames can be used.  

Next I put my data into Genetic Affairs for manual AutoCluster analysis, the URL of this analysis is:   Figure 7 shows the setup page.

Figure 7. Genetic Affairs manual AutoCluster entry page.

My closest match on LivingDNA is one of my Irish cousins who shares 59 cM with me.  So I the AutoCluster from max 60 cM down to 9 cM.

The AutoCluster results are sent as a zip file to your email.  First save the zip file to your computer and then unzip it.  It contains an html file with the auto cluster and an Excel file.  Figure 8 shows the auto clusters for my 60-9 cM manual AutoCluster for LivingDNA analysis.

Figure  8. Results for my 60 to 9 cM manual AutoCluster for LivingDNA.

I noticed there are some grey squares associated with the large purple cluster. Unfortunately I don’t know any of the matches in that cluster. This looks like a great opportunity to contact some of the matches there and try and find the connection. Three of my great grandparents on my Dad’s side came from Ireland, and many of my matches on LivingDNA are from Ireland or Great Britain, so they likely match me somewhere on my Dad’s side. All of my Mom’s family came from Germany. For more details on analyzing grey squares see What are Grey squares

Looking at the cluster table below my AutoCluster I can see the notes that I added for my known cousins.  The cluster table is shown in Figure 9. I’ve chatted with Mike several times and know that he matches both my Dad’s mother’s and father’s sides of my family. Harry only matches on my Dad’s father’s side.

Figure 9. Part of the cluster table from my 60-9 cM AutoCluster analysis showing the notes I added to known cousins.

A manual AutoCluster for LivingDNA analysis costs 25 credits. When you first sign up for Genetic Affairs you receive 200 free credits which allows you to run several analyses. When you decide to purchase more credits each credit costs $0.01 in US dollars. So 25 credits costs $0.25 in US dollars.


I’ve found that by generating an addition CSV file of my shared matches when I’m doing a Leeds analysis, I can now run a manual AutoCluster for my LivingDNA data. The AutoCluster gives a different visualization than my initial Leeds analysis.


  2. All names are changed for privacy reasons.