Do you sometimes feel frustrated as you try to sort out the connections between DNA matches and shared ancestors? I do, and I think we all need help with this from time to time. The AutoKinship tool at GeneticAffairs.com can quickly offer possible solutions to the problem. AutoKinship can help you construct a family tree of DNA matches from 23andMe that point to shared/common ancestors when there are few clues about who those ancestors are. The tool is similar to the predicted family tree at 23andMe which groups matches by the amount of DNA shared matches share with each other. The tool doesn’t provide names of ancestors, but helps you figure out where people could belong in your tree.
The tool is also available for MyHeritage if you enter the shared matches data manually. Updated 2022: GEDmatch now has it’s own AutoKinship report within GEDmatch. Roberta Estes wrote about it here: AutoKinship at GEDmatch by Genetic Affairs.
How can this help you?
The AutoKinship tool can reduce the amount of time you need to spend to discern connections between yourself and DNA matches. This tool is very helpful in unknown parentage research since it is not necessary to have the names of all of the ancestors that connect you to your DNA matches.
Some key reasons to use the AutoKinship tool:
-Predict a family tree when researching unknown parentage.
-Help you discern how your DNA matches are related to you.
-Speed up the process of building family trees for your DNA matches if they have only a small stubby family tree or no tree at all.
-The AutoKinship family trees are predicted based on the amount of DNA shared between you and your DNA matches, and how much DNA they share with each other.
DNA Company Data
DNA data from 23andMe.com, MyHeritage.com, and GEDmatch.com can be used in AutoKinship analyses. In addition to providing the amount of DNA shared between you and your DNA matches, they also tell you how much DNA your matches share with each other. This second piece of information is extremely important in predicting the relationships in AutoKinship. We recommend you start with 23andME data, since that’s the easiest option at Genetic Affairs. To use MyHeritage, you have to manually enter the shared matches. You can use the new GEDmatch AutoKinship at GEDmatch, and that’s easy too!
The screenshot below shows the homepage of Genetic Affairs. You can create a login and try Genetic Affairs for free to get started. The 200 credits you receive in the free trial will help you do AutoCluster and AutoSegment analyses for high cM matches. You can also try AutoTree analysis, Rule-based AutoCluster, manual AutoCluster, reclustering of MyHeritage AutoCluster, Generate Clusters for DNA painter, and group-like clustering.
It costs about .75 cents for one DNA report. If you need to use a more powerful server to process the report, it costs 100 credits, or $1. I subscribed to Genetic Affairs at the lowest level, for $5 per month. I get 550 credits per month, and it’s more than I can use.
To get started, register for an account, and subscribe. You can turn off the subscription without penalty.
An AutoKinship analysis can be used with your DNA results from MyHeritage, 23andme, or GEDmatch. These companies show the amount of DNA that is shared between you and your matches, as well as how much your DNA matches share with each other.
Click on “Run AutoKinship” to get started. Choose the option for the DNA company where you tested.
The following page will open if you choose “Run AutoKinship for 23andMe.” Next, choose the “Profiles” box for the DNA tester whose results you want to use. I used the 23andMe profile for a client who has given permission to use privatized data and images for educational purposes.
This page will open next, choose “AutoKinship” by clicking on the box corresponding to the DNA tester.
When this next page opens, choose the parameters you want to use. I raised the maximum shared cM to 400, and lowered the minimum shared cM to 30. I kept the default minimum shared DNA.
The AutoKinship report for 23andMe was emailed quickly – 14 minutes from the time I ordered the report!
AutoClusters as well as an AutoKinship report were created. I extracted the data from the downloaded zipped file and examined it.
I found this report interesting. It shows how much DNA the tester shares with each DNA match (column C) and how much each DNA match shares in cM with the tester’s other DNA matches. The entries also indicate if the people are in a triangulated group (TG). I ended up not using the AutoKinship report for 23andMe, since it was the research subject’s child, and I didn’t find any DNA matches who were related to the research subject’s paternal line.
Next, I decided to use MyHeritage data for the research subject’s AutoKinship report.
Below is the order form for an AutoKinship report. This is the “standalone tool.” There are several steps that need to be done to obtain the information needed for the AutoKinship report. After you get the information, you will fill in DNA match names, amount of shared DNA in centimorgans, and generations. In the box on the right, you’ll fill in the DNA match name, their shared match, and the amount of DNA they share. A large amount of data can be added at the same time, or you can enter information in the boxes manually.
Click on the blue box for written instructions for using MyHeritage data.
- Go to MyHeritage, click on “DNA” and a menu will open where you can select “DNA Tools.”
- Next choose “Explore” in the AutoClusters box.
- If you manage more than one DNA kit, choose the name of the tester for whom you are researching.
- Click on Generate.
- Genetic Affairs will send the report in an email.
- Download the report to your computer
- Unzip the file.
Open the HTML file, and find the cluster you want to use to build AutoKinship trees
I chose this first red cluster to examine in depth.
Use the AutoCluster HTML report to start. This is what it generally looks like in your computer file system.
Go to the member’s front page of Genetic Affairs. Choose “Transform AutoCluster HTML.”
Click on Choose File” and navigate to Click on the file with the .html ending.
The Excel File automatically downloaded on my computer. Open the Excel file and look at the bottom bar to see the reports. The tabs are numbered according to the cluster numbers and the data on the page corresponds with the people and amount of shared DNA among the people in the cluster.
- To get the “In Common With” data,
- Select the icw_[cluster #] tab at the bottom
- Go to the DNA tester’s MyHeritage Review DNA Match page
- Enter the amount of DNA shared between the DNA match and the shared matches on the right side of the Review DNA Match page in column C.
- Go to the AutoKinship Stand alone tool at Genetic affairs. (See image below)
- Copy the data from the excel spreadsheet tab that has just the number of the cluster on the bottom. Click on “Import DNA matches data.” This white box opens, click in the box and Paste the data. It will populate the table on the left.
- Next copy the information from the chosen cluster’s icw tab, click on import shared matches data and paste the icw info into the white box, and it will populate in the table on the right side.
I had created a What Are the Odds? (WATO) pedigree in the DNA Painter website that illustrated the family tree of the people in cluster 1 and how I thought they were related. Next, I downloaded the WATO tree.
- Go back to the AutoKinship Standalone tool in Genetic Affairs that looks like the image below after the bulk import feature has been used.
- Choose the downloaded WATO file.
- Click on Perform AutoKinship analysis and after about 10 minutes, check email for the report.
After downloading the report from the Genetic Affairs email, I opened the following reports:
Ten reconstructed AutoKinship trees were created which showed different configurations of the family tree that were the most probable. These trees give me new ideas about how my research subject is connected to his DNA matches. In the AutoKinship tree below, the research subject is a second cousin once removed (2C1R) to the highest DNA match in this family group.
This information is useful because it gives me a visual that shows how far back I need to build the DNA matches’ family trees to find the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) with the research subject. I can manually estimate how many generations the MRCA is based on the amounts of shared DNA and the Shared cM Project tool at DNAPainter.com. When limited time is available, the AutoKinship tool can automate the process and generate alternatives that may not have been considered before.
Try Genetic Affairs AutoKinship tool, I think you’ll like it. I’m thrilled that these tools were developed to help us all find answers to our family history research questions!