Frequently Asked Questions and Media

What happened to Ancestry support?

On the 29th of May 2020 I received a cease and desist letter from ZwillGen, the legal representatives from Ancestry. They urged me stop all activities regarding the analysis of Ancestry profiles. See here for our announcement.

Help, I didn't receive an email

First, check the junk and or spam folder of your mail provider. If it is not in these folders, check for a notification (in the top right of the screen) on our members page. If a notification is present, the analysis came through on our end. Some email providers are known to block our emails. In that case, you might want to switch to another email provider (for instance a Gmail address). If no notification is present, you might want to try again in a later stage. In addition, check the website credentials by clicking on the update/retrieve new profiles button. If there is no error message, the credentials should be still fine.

What is AutoCluster?

AutoCluster is an analysis provided by Genetic Affairs that downloads, given certain user defined thresholds, your matches together with their shared matches. Next, we perform a clustering analysis which groups together DNA matches that have a similar shared matches profile. These groups of DNA matches are likely to have a common ancestors. It's comparable with the Leeds method of Dana Leeds but much faster and more comprehensive. MyHeritage decided to take a license on AutoCluster in the beginning of 2019. Their nice blog post about their implementation contains a nice explanation of AutoCluster.

What is AutoTree?

AutoTree identifies common ancestors and reconstructs genealogical trees from AutoCluster clusters. AutoTree works for persons with unknown parentage to assist in identifying their birth families (for instance adoptees or donor-conceived persons). Two excellent blog posts discuss AutoTree. The first one discussed AutoTree for Ancestry profiles (from Kitty Cooper) whereas the second one discusses AutoTree for FTDNA (from Roberta Estes).

My email does not contain an attachment

The body of the AutoCluster mail sometimes provides hints concerning the absense of attachments. For instance the AutoCluster might not work properly if not enough DNA matches were identified given the user defined criteria. In that case, use the table with all the matches to determine the cM settings that might yield a result. Another scenario where the HTML attachment is missing is when the email client is blocking certain attachments. In that case, go to the webmail link to download the results.

How does a typical AutoCluster result look like?

The analysis is started after setting the cM thresholds for a given profile. An email will be send to you after approximately 15-20 minutes. If all went well, this email will contain an attachment with a zipped file. After unpacking/unzipping the zipped attachment, a folder will appear with an HTML and Excel file. Open the HTML file in your browser to display the AutoCluster results. If the chart is very large and/or slow, use the Excel file to examine your clusters.

The attachments have a .dat extension

Some email clients have been shown to rename the zip files to .dat files. In that case, download the .dat files to your hard drive, rename them to something that ends with .zip and unpack them.

What does an AutoCluster analysis cost?

Check out our prices page.

What type of DNA data is being employed?

For all of our analyses, we employs autosomal DNA data only. We currently don't have any application for mtDNA and/or Y DNA. Note that we don't use the raw data but instead use the matches and the shared matches to create the clusters.

How does Genetic Affairs protect my privacy and keep my information secure?

Security and privacy are very important to us. We made it our top priority to provide a strong security. We address this topic in several sub-topics that are placed underneath. Moreover, check out our privacy policy.

Do you have to store sensitive login and password information?

Genetic Affairs is able to retrieve DNA matches for several DNA matching companies. To download DNA matches of these companies we need to store your login credentials. See the next section concerning the secure storage of these credentials.

How do you store my login information?

Since we have to use login information for 23andme, FamilyTreeDNA and AncestryDNA, we use an isolated database in which we encrypt and store the passwords of these websites. This database is only available in a private network in the cloud and not exposed to the Internet.

Are there additional ways to increase my security?

With respect to AncestryDNA, it is possible to use a separate dummy account. By employing the sharing AncestryDNA results it is possible to allow your separate account to have access to your DNA matches. By employing this system, there is no risk of unauthorized access to your raw DNA data.

Are the servers you use safely managed

Our systems have been developed with scalability and privacy in mind. For example, the traffic to our web-servers is encrypted and only exposed to the internet via a load balancer. By following this approach, we prevent direct internet access to the web-servers. In addition, we use a private isolated virtual network to host our database and other back-end components. Moreover, we employ ready to use dedicated cloud webservers that have been designed with the sole purpose of securely serving websites.

Is my credit card data safe?

We use the Stripe internet commerce platform to handle our payments. By using the Stripe platform, your credit card data is stored on the infrastructure of Stripe. The only information that we store is the Stripe customer number and if an active credit-card is linked to your Stripe account.

Who is behind Genetic Affairs?

See the About page.

Is there a manual?

There is a manual available, click on this link.

Have a question that is not in the list?

Check out our manual

Not covered by the manual? Please contact us

Have a question that is not in our list? Please

contact us

Also, check out our manual

Have a question concerning our shared matches clustering method AutoCluster?

Blog posts and YouTube

Various blog posts and YouTube clips have been created concerning the usage of AutoCluster of Genetic Affairs.

Video tutorials of AutoCluster from Genetic Affairs