Re-Running My FTDNA Autoclusters

It looks like I have not run my autoclusters at FTDNA since 2018. As I recall, I didn’t get as much out of FTDNA as I did with Ancestry autoclustering. However, Ancestry autoclustering is not a valid option. I figured that autoclustering would be a good summary to show any important new matches that I may have missed.

First Try

I used the suggested parameters the first time, but the lower cutoff for a match at 50 cM was way too high. I just got three known Frazer relatives. This was less than helpful:

My assumption is that P means paternal side match as FTDNA makes that distinction based on testing or your own input. This showed that everyone matched everyone else except for Paul and Kenneth.

Second Autocluster with a Lower Cutoff of 15 cM

15 cM is a pretty good number because that is usually considered to be a high chance that the match is not by chance. Here is the 2nd run minus the names:

The Frazer Cluster – Red

The three Frazers who were in my first botched attempt are now in the red Cluster 3. There are an additional three people in that Cluster. Two I know and one I don’t know. One that I do know is sister to Susan who showed up in the first three person autocluster. That leaves Larry who shows a tree. Good news. His tree is a little sparse:

It’s sort of fun trying to build out these trees, but often frustrating finding the link. Here are some of Larry’s surnames:

Oldham and Hamilton were helpful names:

So I didn’t find an obvious connection. Too bad. I tried. Something may show up in the future.

Frazer/McMaster Connections Between Cluster 2 and 3

I think that the gray match between Robert and Paul is in the McMaster side. However, Benjamin and Robert don’t have trees at ancestry. My guess is that Robert descends from Edward Mcmaster and Celia Clarke:

Cluster 1 – Rathfelder

Cluster 1 is on my Rathfelder side based on a test by my cousin Catherine. However, I don’t know anything about Pamela and Romy. Romy appears to be from Germany. Pamela has a tree, but I don’t feel like going back a few hundred years of genealogy to figure out the connection:


Cluster 4: Maternal/Paternal Connection?

Cluster 4 is a bit mysteriious as it shows as a maternal cluster.

However, Craig has matches with Susan and Margaret. My assumption is that the connection is not through either of the two lines that I am related to these three people. I thinnk that Kenneth and Margaret are siblings.

Cluster 5: Big, Brown and Paternal

My assumption is that this could be my colonial Massachusetts side due to the number of matches. I also assume that the boxes with a P in it are the larger matches. Again, we see a maternal/paternal crossover. I would assume that this person (Brandy in the pink cluster) matches my mom but also has colonial Massachusetts ancestry.

Letterless Clusters 7 and 8

I’m on my own to figure out if these two clusters are maternal or paternal.

Cluster 7 in gray has a P connection with the brown cluster. Cluster 8 has connections with the pink and blue Maternal Clusters. Ned is the top match in Cluster 8. I had thought that my match with him went back to the Pilgrims on my paternal side, which seems to go against the side matches shown in gray.

Sarah in Cluster 9

Sarah is a familiar name in Cluster 9. She is my third cousin once removed:

However, that is almost impossible to tell from her FTDNA tree:

Her Margaret Shreak should be Margaret Shroek.

Clusters 10-13

Here there is no maternal or paternal designation. I’m on my own to figure these out:

I recognize Tracey as the first match in Cluster 12. She has a tree which I have built out in the past:

I have many matches which go back to the name of Lougheed in Ireland. I suppose this would be on my Spratt Line which I know the least about – or possibly Clarke.

Amy is also in that small Cluster 12:

Amy and Tracey are no doubt close relatives as they both share the ancestor of William Alexander Parr born 1939.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Autocluster is a good way to look at your matches as it puts them in groups with similar matches. It helps make sure you haven’t missed any important DNA matchs.
  • AncestryDNA autoclusters are more helpful, but they have not been available for a while. Perhaps FTDNA has tweaked their matching criteria which has also made FTDNA autoclustering more useful.
  • With thirteen clusters, one might expect these matches to be at around the third cousin level. Sarah was, but others are unidentifiable, so likely go out further.
  • The gray connections between clusters can be confusing, as they seem to indicate connections between maternal and paternal clusters in many cases.
  • When checking for connections, you have to look at locations. In my case, where I am missing information on my Clarke and Spratt ancestors from Sligo, finding common Sligo ancestry with my DNA matches can be a hint.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *