Formation of spurious grains during directional solidification (DS) of Al-7 wt.% Si and Al-19 wt.% Cu alloys through an abrupt increase in cross-sectional area has been examined by experiments and by numerical simulations. Stray grains were observed in the Al-19 wt.% Cu samples and almost none in the Al-7 wt.% Si. The locations of the stray grains correlate well where numerical solutions indicate the solute-rich melt to be flowing up the thermal gradient faster than the isotherm velocity. It is proposed that the spurious grain formation occurred by fragmentation of slender tertiary dendrite arms was enhanced by thermosolutal convection. In Al-7 wt.% Si, the dendrite fragments sink in the surrounding melt and get trapped in the dendritic array growing around them, and therefore they do not grow further. In the Al-19 wt.% Cu alloy, on the other hand, the dendrite fragments float in the surrounding melt and some find conducive thermal conditions for further growth and become stray grains.