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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, 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.

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.