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GRAVES FAMILIES OF HERTFORD/HARLOW AREA, ENGLAND, HARTFORD, CT & VA

WHAT IS KNOWN:
It has been found through the Graves DNA study that Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT (genealogy 168) and Deacon George Graves of Hartford, CT (genealogy 65) shared a common ancestor, and were apparently brothers. George Grave(s) was born about 1600 in England, and settled in Hartford, CT about 1636 as one of the original proprietors. He may have come from London or vicinity, since a sister-in-law, Anna Graves, born about 1583, lived in London. Anna Graves had only one daughter, who died by 1675. A widow Ann Graves (possibly the same as Anna Graves) of Great Monores St., St. Botulph Parish, Aldgate (or Olgate), London, by will proven in 1676 gave annuities to the children of Deacon George Graves in case her grandson, Joseph Hardey, had no children. It is believed that George had a sister, Sarah Graves, who married Richard Lord of New London, CT. It is believed that George had another sister, Abigail Graves (gen. 345), who first married William Andrews and married second Nathaniel Barding, both in Hartford, CT or vicinity. George Graves may be the person recorded as "George Grave, freeholder in the Borough of Hertford", England in 1621, listed in Cussan's Hertfordshire. (It has also been suggested that George might have come from Braintree, Essex, England.) He was a weaver in comfortable circumstances. He was married first in England (possibly to Anne Andrews) and his two oldest children were born there.

It also seems possible that George Graves was related to John Graves (genealogy 337), who settled in Roxbury, MA in May 1633, arriving from Nazing (or Nazeing or Nasing), Essex, England, with wife and 5 children: John, Samuel, Jonathan, Sarah and Mary. His wife died soon after arrival and he then married Judith Alward or Allard in Dec. 1635. It may be that John Graves followed Rev. John Elliott from Nazeing. Rev. Elliot was one of the closest colleagues in England of Rev. Thomas Hooker (associated with the founding of Hartford, CT and with Deacon George Graves). "Elliot came to New England late in 1631, along with some other members of his congregation in Nazeing, who settled in Roxbury. Others from Nazeing would follow in the years immediately ensuing. Nazeing and Chelmsford [where Rev. Hooker was living] were only a few miles apart in western Essex." Nazeing is very close to Harlow, Essex.

Thomas Graves (genealogy 168) is believed to have been born before 1585 in England. He may have settled in Cambridge, MA (then called New Town), then moved to Hartford, CT by 1645, and later moved to Hatfield, MA. It may be more than coincidence that Thomas Graves lived in Hartford and then Hatfield, and Hertford and Hatfield are both in the area of England where he is believed to have originated.

It is believed by Kenneth V. Graves, but considered unlikely by other "experts", that Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT may be the same person as Thomas Graves, Engineer (genealogy 131), from Gravesend, Kent, England, going in 1629 to Salem, MA, and living in Cambridge, MA. The circumstancial evidence includes: (1) they had the same name, (2) there is no evidence that they are different people, (3) the known dates of their being in New England do not overlap, they were born about the same time, (5) they had the same number of children, and (6) many people who lived in Cambridge, MA later settled in Hartford, CT.

It is interesting to note that one branch of the descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves of VA (genealogy 169) shares a common ancestor with this family. It is not impossible (although unlikely) that this branch may turn out to be descended from Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT (gen. 168) rather than from gen. 169. See more discussion about the ancestry and descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves on the Capt. Thomas Graves page of the GFA website.

None of this family has yet been found in England.

PLACES WHERE THEY LIVED:
HERTFORD
According to Wikipedia, Hertford is the county town of Hertfordshire, England, and is also a civil parish in the East Hertfordshire district of the county. Forming a civil parish, the 2011 census put the population of Hertford at about 26,000. The earliest reference to the town appears in the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written by Bede in 731 AD. Hertford is at the confluence of four river valleys: the Rib, Beane and Mimram join the River Lea at Hertford to flow south toward the Thames as the Lee Navigation, after Hertford Castle Weir. The town centre still has its medieval layout with many timber-framed buildings hidden under later frontages. The town retains very much a country-town feel, despite lying only 19.2 miles (30.9 km) north of Central London.

BRAINTREE
According to Wikipedia, Braintree is a town in Essex, England. The principal settlement of Braintree District, it is located 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Chelmsford and 15 miles (24 km) west of Colchester. According to the 2011 Census, the town had a population of 41,634, while the urban area, which includes Great Notley, Rayne and High Garrett, had a population of 53,477. See information about attractions at http://www.visitessex.com/braintree.aspx.

NAZEING
Nazeing is a village and parish in Essex, England. Within the parish are the separate settlements of Upper Nazeing, Middle Nazeing, and Lower Nazeing. The Prime Meridian passes to the west of Lower Nazeing. The parish is 3,952 acres lying about four miles north of Waltham Abbey and bounded on the west by the river Lea.

WHAT IS NEEDED:

  • An attempt needs to be made to find descendants of Graves families from the Hertford, England area to participate in the DNA study to try to find a match.
  • Traditional research needs to be undertaken in the Hertford, England area to try to learn more about this family in England.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE POSSIBLE ORIGIN OF THIS FAMILY

The following article was published in The Graves Family Bulletin, vol. 17, no. 9, Dec. 11, 2015. (This issue of the GF Bulletin can be seen by clicking here.

SOME CLUES ABOUT THE POSSIBLE ANCESTRY OF CAPT. THOMAS GRAVES OF VIRGINIA

Dr. Charles Graves of Geneva Switzerland, descended from genealogy 70 (Richard Greaves of Bradfield, Yorkshire and Chesterfield, Derbyshire), has found some interesting information about the possible origin of Capt. Thomas Graves of genealogy 169 in England. Since people associated with each other in their country of origin often migrated to other places as a group or to places where associates have gone, he has investigated the associates of Capt. Thomas Graves in Virginia, and where those people may have come from in England. He has submitted the following article (with minor editing by me). Comments and further investigation are encouraged.

I encourage others to use this approach to find the likely place of origin of other ancestors. This applies to origins within the same country as well as migration from Europe to other continents.

Regarding the Captain Thomas Graves of Jamestown DNA we consulted the Internet for the history of him and found the following names of persons who had been associated with him from about 1608, in the Hungar’s church, or as spouses of his children. 15 of these names were Hertfordshire families (10 living within about 10 miles of Much Hadham, Herts, in the period 1550-1600 and 5 within 20 miles of that village). 5 of the family names did not seem to be from Hertfordshire.

  • Christopher Newport, a Newport family at Barkway, Herts
  • George Yeardley, a Weston, Herts. Family
  • Walter Shelley, no Herts. connection
  • Henry Singleton, married Helen Bush at Little Hadham, Herts.
  • Thomas Edge, no definite Herts. connection.
  • Crowshaw family at Cheshunt, Herts.
  • Obedience Robins, a Baldock, Herts. family
  • John Howe, a Hunsdon, Cheshunt or Gilstead, Herts. family
  • William Stone, from Watford, Herts.
  • William Burdett, from Walken near Baldock, Herts.
  • William Andrews, from Flamstead near St. Albans, Herts.
  • John Wilkins, a Baldock, Herts. family
  • Edward Drews, a St. Albans, Herts. family
  • Alex Mountray, William Benimann, Stephen Carlkton, no apparent Herts. connection.
  • Nathaniel Eaton, St. Albans, Herts
  • Frances Doughty, Sawbridgeworth, 3 miles from Much Hadham, Herts. (one of the husbands of Capt. Thomas Graves’ daughter Ann was a Frances Doughty -- probably from the Doughty family from this same Sawbridgeworth, Herts, a short distance southeast of Much Hadham).
  • Thomas Sprigg and Jane MacGuffy, no apparent connection to Herts.

Moreover, one article in the Internet about Captain Thomas Graves notes that he was listed as Thomas Grave (p. 304, Virginia Company of London, Vol. IV). My research on baptismal records in Hertfordshire (www.familysearch.org) show only the following persons called Thomas Grave or Thomas Graves born in Herts. 1550-1600:
  • Thomas Graves, bap. 1570 Cheshunt, father Thomas Graves
  • Thomas Grave, bap. 1571 Much Hadham, father John Grave
  • Thomas Grave, bap. 1575 Much Hadham, father John Grave
  • Thomas Grave, bap 1584 Much Hadham, mother Johann (Joan) Grave (no father listed)
  • Thomas Grave, bap. 1588 Thundridge, Herts, father Thomas Grave

Many Grave family members were listed in Cheshunt, Much Hadham and Thundridge in Herts in that period. Some early 17th century Grave family members were bap. in Baldock, Herts (see above references to Baldock).

Verlinda was one of Capt. Thomas Graves’ daughters. This name appears to be taken from the Vrlyn family of St. Giles Cripplegate parish in London, an important church related to overseas colonial expansion. As for Katherine Croshawe someone with this name (wife of Capt. Thomas Graves?) was baptised 1580 at St. Mary Woolnoth church in London (father Edward). It was also an important church with members related to overseas expansion.

Thus, to search for DNA connections with Grave /Graves families in Hertfordshire, probably we should start with the Grave families since that seems to be the main Herts. family with Grave/Graves name in the 17th century. I found a couple of persons residing in Herts. today with that name: Nils Grave and Stephen John Grave. I am trying to locate their addresses in order to write them. However if Capt. Thomas Graves is the Thomas Grave born of Joan Grave 1584 at Much Hadham then we have a problem. Apparently the same Joan Grave married Josias Paneley at Sawbridgeworeth near Much Hadham in 1588 and a Joan Grave married a Basil Milles 1597 at Stevenage, Herts. but we do not know if this Josias or this Basil was the father of Thomas Grave bap. 1584 of mother Joan (see additional comments about Josias Paneley toward the end of this article).

From our work within www.familysearch,org, we determined that there were four males named Thomas Grave/Graves born in Hertfordshire 1550-1600 at the era when the adventurers who founded Jamestown were largely Hertfordshire adventurers (see above). We have simply eliminated Thomas Graves bap 1570 at Cheshunt since his family members’ names (Edward, Elizabeth) do not appear in Capt. Thomas Graves’ family. But there were at least three ‘Thomas Grave’ as candidates for the Captain, i.e. Thomas Grave bap. 1576 (of father John) and Thomas Grave bap. 1584 (of mother Joan) both at Much Hadham, and Thomas Grave bap 1588 of father Thomas. at Thundridge, Herts.

These Thomas Grave apparently had children in Herts. later, as follows:
  • John Grave child of Thomas Grave bap. 1626 at Thundridge
  • Mary Grave child of Thomas Grave bap. 1602 at Baldock
  • Margaret Grave daughter of Thomas Grave bap 1615 at Baldock
  • Frances Grave child of Thomas Grave bap. 1616 at Baldock
  • George Grave child of Thomas Grave bap., 1609 at Baldock
  • Robert Grave child of Thomas Grave bap 22 July 1619 at Baldock
  • Mary Grave bap 1625 at Widford (next to Much Hadham) of Thomas Grave and Margaret

At first glance it appears that there were several Thomas Grave families having children, 1600-1626 in Herts, that probably Thomas Grave of Thundridge (bap 1588) was involved and that (one or both) Thomas Grave of Much Hadham (bap 1575, 1584) were involved. That some children were baptized by Thomas Grave at Baldock (near where at least 5 of the Jamestown adventurers came from) seems to indicate that that Thomas Grave may have been Capt. Thomas Graves of Jamestown.

But if those children baptized at Baldock were of Capt. Thomas Graves, what happened to them? They are not listed as children of Capt. Thomas on Graves family records in Jamestown colony. However, Frances Graves is listed as Capt. Thomas Graves’ last daughter in those records, but no further information was available to the researchers about her.

The Frances Grave shown baptized at Baldock above was perhaps the one later listed in Herts. as marrying John Baker at Great Munden, Herts in 1672. Great Munden (represented by the hamlet of Nasty, which is in the civil parish of Great Munden, on the following map) is about 7 miles from Much Hadham, home of the two Thomas Grave (bap. 1575, 1584) whom we are concerned about.

As for a Robert Grave (bap. 1619 at Baldock of Thomas Grave) he was perhaps the Robert Grave father of a son Robert Grave baptized at the Abbey St. Albans, Herts. in 1640.

As for a George Grave, there was a George Grave son of George Grave bap. at Much Hadham 1631 and 1644 and a George Grave son of George Grave bap. 1644 at Baldock, Herts. Here we seem to have the same George Grave (bap. 1644) listed at both Much Hadham and Baldock, Herts. reinforcing our view that the children bap. at Baldock have a relation to the two Thomas Grave bap. at Much Hadham in 1575 and 1584.

This Robert Grave son of Thomas Grave was baptized at Baldock on July 22, 1619. Captain Thomas Graves was placed in charge of his ‘hundred’ in Virginia in May 1618, but he joined the Legislative assembly on July 30 1619 (Wikipedia article). After the bap. of Robert Grave at Baldock in 1619 no other children of Thomas Grave were known there. This at least proves that the Thomas Grave at Baldock could be Capt. Thomas Graves of Jamestown. It also indicates (if it was Capt. Thomas Graves) that the Captain decided to leave some of his children (Mary?, Frances, George and Robert) in Herts and to carry only his sons John and Thomas with him to America.

What about those two recorded sons John and Thomas? Their records of birth are difficult to find. I did find a record for a John Grave son of Thomas Grave bap. at Blackmoor End, Essex (25 miles east of Much Hadham, Herts.) in 1612. This coincides with generalized suppositions about his birthdate. Moreover, for Thomas there is a baptismal record of a Thomas Graves son of Thomas Graves baptized at abbey St Albans, Herts. in 1617. This also coincides with generally held suppositions. After all, Capt. Thomas Graves was called ‘Graves’ by the time he was becoming a leader in Virginia.

There has been speculation as to the last name of Capt. Thomas Graves’ wife, supposedly a Croewshaw (Crosher). There is no information about this in Herts. records except for the fact that a wife of a Thomas Grave of Thundridge or Much Hadham was a Margaret. A wife was not specifically related to the Baldock births or baptisms, but only to the 1625 Widford, Herts. birth. By 1625 Captain Thomas Grave was permanently settled in Virginia. I have researched the various Baldock-related ‘adventurers’ families of Newport, Yeardley, Robins, Burdett and Willkins but found no ‘Katherine’ born of those families in Herts. Thus, Capt. Thomas Graves apparently did not marry a sister of these his colleagues.

Thus, it appears that Captain Thomas Graves was called Thomas Grave in Hertfordshire, that he had a family there (some of whom did not go to Virginia) and that he was either the son of John Grave of Much Hadham, Herts. baptized in 1575 or the son of Joan Grave (mother) baptized in 1584 at Much Hadham. In any case a Herts. Grave DNA should be sought, particularly since Capt. Thomas Graves was named as Thomas Grave in the Virginia company records, and since many of his early colleagues at Jamestown were from Hertfordshire (as shown above) and because there were a few Thomas Grave baptized in Herts. at the appropriate time.

More information about Josias Paneley: Note: Josias Paneley married a Joan Grave in 1588 at Strawbridgeworth, Herts She was perhaps Joan Grave, the mother of Thomas Grave baptized at Much Hadham (a few miles from Strawbridgeworth) in 1584. The children of this couple were Jone bap. 1592 at Strawbridge-worth 1592; Arthur bap. 1594 at ditto; Margaret bap. 1597 at ditto; John bap. 1601 at ditto; and Mary bap. 1605 at ditto. Other records of a Paneley family are to be found in Herts. (16th-17th century only)

For what it is worth, Josias Paneley (he married Joan Grave in 1588 at Sawbridgeworth, Herts) had the following children (no mother named but no doubt it was Joan Grave)
  • Jone bap 1592 Sawbridgeworth, Herts.
  • Artur bap 1594 ditto
  • Margaret 1597 ditto
  • John 1601 ditto
  • Mary 1605 ditto

That ‘Jone’ (female) was the first named child might indicate that Joan Grave was his wife. (Joan Grave was the mother of Thomas Grave bap. Much Hadham 1584 and a Joan Grave married Josias Paneley in 1588).

Some of the places mentioned in the article:
  • Much Hadham, Herts., home of the Thomas Grave families, was seat of the country house of the Bishops of London. Katherine of Valois (widow of king Henry V) gave birth here to Edmond Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, whose son was king Henry VII
  • Blackmore End (near Chipping Ongar, Essex) held an Augustinian monastery confiscated by king Henry VIII and made into one of his country residences. His bastard son, Henry Fitzroy, was born here.
  • Sawbridgeworth in Herts. was close by a residence called Pishobury belonging to Anne Boleyn, wife of King Henry VIII. Ralph Joselyn, twice mayor of London, was buried in the church.
  • Baldock, Herts. was a busy market town on the entry to the ‘Great North Road’ out of London. It had been founded by the Knights Templar (chivalric Order with strong connections to the Levant)
  • Widford, Herts. was the early home of John Eliot (1604-1680) first Puritan missionary to the American Indians. He arrived in Boston in 1631.
  • Abbey St. Albans, Herts. After the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII, the abbey was purchased by the town of St. Albans in 1553. It was made into a parish church. Its dilapidated roof was repaired by King James I in 1612. (Jamestown in America was named after this king). Note above:Thomas Graves, son of Thomas Graves (Capt. Thomas Graves?) was baptized here at the abbey church in 1617.

It is quite striking that all the places associated with the Thomas Grave /Thomas Graves of this article had strong connections to the bishops and mayors of London and to the royal family members.

A Google map of the area where these people lived is especially interesting because it coincides with where the ancestors of the genealogy 168/169/65 group of families lived (in Hertford, Harlow, Nazeing, and Hatfield). Although I had thought there was a slight possibility that the descendants of the Thomas-John-Ralph-Ralph-etc. line of genealogy 169 was from a descendant of gen. 168 that moved to Virginia (rather than actually from Capt. Thomas Graves, in spite of the strong evidence to the contrary), the article above strongly supports the idea that Capt. Thomas Graves was from Hertfordshire and the Y-DNA of his descendants should match that of genealogy 168. The map is below, with most of the towns in the preceding article underlined in red, and those associated with the origins of the genealogies in Y-DNA group 168 with red lines both above and below.