AutoClustering My Brother at Ancestry

AutoClustering fans are happy that Genetic Affairs has the AncestryDNA autoclustering working again. I ran a report this morning for my brother Jon. I used an upper limit of 600 cM and lower limit of 25 cM. This gave me a manageable 20 Clusters.

I had been trying to get a similar autocluster for myself, but had trouble getting it work for me. First, I notice that there appears to be a connection between Clusters 1 and 2 based on the grey squares.

Clustering By Size

I like to cluster by match size. That means that I sort my cluster list by largest match:

I push the cM arrow twice. This should put the arrow pointing down which will put the larger matches on the top. The highest match in this case is also Cluster 1 with the most people in it. Many of these people are my Hartley/Snell relatives who have tested at AncestryDNA.

After that, I see my Clusters 8 and 4.

Clusters 1, 8 and 4

Cluster 1 is easy. This has many of my Hartley 2nd cousins. They descend from Hartley and Snell. I know one of the more distant relatives in this group descends from the Snell side only. The Snell side gets back to Colonial Massachusetts. My second great grandfather Isaiah Hatch Snell was born in 1837.

The top match in Cluster 8 is my 1st cousin’s daughter:

That would normally only identify this Cluster as maternal. However, in this case, I know that I am related to Otis on the Schwechheimer and Gangnus Lines. These two families lived in a German Colony in Latvia, where some of the families intermingled. Our common Schwechheimer ancestor was born in 1772.

Cluster 4: Nicholson/Ellis

This Cluster is lead by Carolyn. I have been in touch with Carolyn and Joan and know that they both descend from Nicholson and Ellis. They were both from Sheffield, England on my mother’s side. William Nicholson was born in 1836.

Here is a summary so far:

This is good news. Out of the top three clusters, I have three out of my four grandparents represented. I know common ancestors.

The Next Three Clusters: 9, 6 and 18

Cluster 9 gives me my fourth grandparent side. The match is with Ron. Our common ancestors are Clarke and Spratt on my Frazer grandparent side. Our common ancestor Thomas Clarke was born about 1823.

Cluster 6 is on my Frazer/Frazer side. Clarke/Spratt is from the mother of my Frazer grandmother’s side. Frazer is from her paternal side. This line goes back a ways, but it has been well researched.

Cluster 18 has only two people in it, but it is a great cluster as it represents my Pilgrim ancestry. The first match in the Cluster and I descend from Harvey Bradford, who is a descendant of William Bradford from the Mayflower. Harvey Bradford was born in 1809.

Here is a summary of Jon’s top six Clusters:

The pink represents maternal and blue is paternal. Frazer/Frazer means that I had two Frazer ancestors who married each other.

Clusters 5, 10 and 14

At some point these Clusters will be more difficult to nail down.

Cluster 5 appears to center in on my Parker ancestors who lived on Cape Cod and Nantucket.

Cluster 10 has some Spratt names. This name is my biggest brick wall. My Spratt ancestor died young in County Sligo, Ireland and I can’t find much information about her.

Cluster 14 is not obvious to me. YK and John have a shared match with Gladys from Cluster 6. The third person has a Frazer tree. I would say that Cluster 14 is another flavor of my intermarried Frazer Lines.

So while Cluster 14 was not obvious at first, I was able to figure it out through Shared Matches.

Clusters 7, 11, and 2

I am now getting deeper into the less obvious clusters.

Some people in Cluster 7 match Ron. Ron and I share Clarke, Spratt and McMaster heritage back in Ireland.

I have been in touch with Patricia from Cluster 11. She has uploaded to Gedmatch. The match is definitely on my Frazer side and that should hark back to Ireland. My guess is the Clarke/Spratt Lines.

Cluster 2

Cluster 2 is a large one with connection to my Hartley 2nd cousins in Cluster #1 based on the gray squares. Just because there are many in a cluster does not mean that the cluster is easy to identify. This is the 12th cluster by size of match. There are 18 members in the Cluster. Peter has the highest match to Jon. Peter also has 62 Shared Matches at AncestryDNA.

Next, I’ll look at some of the trees from Cluster 2 Members. Candy has this ancestor in her tree:

This is her only listed ancestor in the area where my colonial Massachusetts ancestors lived. Looking at another Ancestry Tree, I find these parents for Betsey:

I see only one Swift in my genealogical list, but many Wing’s. So that is a possibility.

Another Cluster 2 person has Wing in his ancestry and other surnames from the area around SE Massachusetts where my ancestors lived.

Cross-referencing Jon’s Cluster 2

Next, I’ll look at my Clusters to see where Jon’s Cluster 2 people are. Peter is Jon’s top match in Cluster 2. Peter is in my Cluster 1. In my previous Blog, I identified my Cluster 1 as my Colonial Massachusetts matches. In fact, the first 12 in Jon’s Cluster 2 are in my Cluster 1.

William is in my Cluster 1, but falls below the 25 cM level for Jon. William also has a Wareham ancestor:

There are other possibilities.

Here is my 8th cousin Linda from my Cluster 1:

According to Ancestry, Linda and I match at 23.8 cM and we are 8th cousins with common ancestors in the 1660’s. Right now, this couple is as good a guess as any other.  However, this couple is out nine generations from Linda and me. At that level, I would have 32 couples that would be possibilities. These 32 are just my Massachusetts Colonial ancestors who lived around that time.  All I have to do is disprove the other 31 couples or link my Cluster 1 members or Jon’s Cluster 2 to Finney and Warren.

Here is a summary of my top 12 Clusters:

At this point, I could give up or forge on into the unknown.

Forging On Into the Unknown with Clusters 3, 19 and 12

I’m at a loss for Cluster 3. For one thing, this is my brother Jon’s Cluster and I don’t have many notes on his matches. Perhaps a cross-reference to my clusters would help. Unfortunately, none of the people in Jon’s Cluster 3 are in any of my clusters. It’s a mystery. I suppose autoclustering more siblings may help.

Kitty from Jon’s Cluster 19 is in my Cluster 24

Bonnie is in Jon’s Cluster 12. Again I don’t see any of Jon’s Cluster 12 members in any of my clusters. Bonnie has a Hulme ancestor from Manchester, England that might be worth pursuing.

Jon’s Last Five Clusters

I recognize Jon’s Cluster 20. One member has a McMaster ancestor that I believe is related on McMaster and Frazer sides. If I am right, our common ancestor William McMaster was born about 1790.

Cluster 13

None of Jon’s Cluster 13 members match my clusters. Fortunately Catriona who has a private tree is on Gedmatch and I can tell she is related on my Frazer grandparent side.

Cluster 15

Jon has a Shared Ancestor Hint here, so that makes things easier:

This match is also part of a Snell and a Luther Circle at AncestryDNA. This is another of Jon’s Clusters where I have no members in my clusters.

Cluster 16

I don’t see anyone in Jon’s Cluster 16 that is in any of my clusters.

Jon’s 20 Cluster Summary

By Cluster:

Comparing Jon’s Clusters To MIne

I was able to cross-reference Jon’s clusters to mine in most cases. However, 30% of the time, Jon’s clusters were not found among my clusters. Also some of Jon’s clusters that I was able to decipher more or less, I had not figured out on my clusters. Finally, Jon has a match with someone who goes back to our most recent male Bradford. This is a match that I don’t have, but the cluster is one that has been identified.

Summary and Conclusions

  • I autoclustered my brother Jon’s matches at a lower level of 25 cM and upper level of 600 cM. That was a good level for Jon and resulted in 20 Clusters
  • I looked at Jon’s clusters starting with the largest matches. The higher match clusters were easy to figure out. At about halfway down the list, the common ancestors began to get more difficult to figure out.
  • I was able to find many common ancestors. I tried finding common ancestors for one of my Colonial Massachusetts clusters, but that was difficult.
  • Many of Jon’s clusters with matches near the last half of Jon’s list had no corresponding cluster for my matches. I found this to be interesting. This would lead me to look at more of my sibling clusters.
  • 18 of 20 (90%) of Jon’s clusters were on his paternal side.
  • Finally, I cross-referenced Jon’s clusters to many of my own clusters. This showed where Jon’s clusters did or did not match mine. In some cases, Jon’s clusters identified some of my own clusters that I had not figured out yet.



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