GRAVES FAMILY BULLETIN

 

Vol. 17, No. 1, Jan. 29, 2015

 

A Free, Occasional, Online Summary of Items of Interest to Descendants of all Families of Graves, Greaves, Grieves, Grave, and other spelling variations Worldwide

 

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Copyright © 2015 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.

 

Information on how to be removed from the subscription list is at the end of this bulletin.  If you received this bulletin directly, then you are already subscribed.  If you received it from a friend and want to subscribe, send an email message with your full name to ken.graves@gravesfa.org.

 

Click on these links to visit the GFA website and our Facebook page.

 

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CONTENTS

 

** General Comments

** GFA Facebook Group

** A Summary of Important Events in Genetic Genealogy in 2014

** Another Suggestion to Preserve and Share Your Family Information

** Using Wikipedia for Information

** Online Learning From New England Historic Genealogical Society & Elsewhere

** 23andMe Making a Change to Its Genetic Genealogy Service

** AncestryDNA Test Now Available in the UK and Ireland

** The Present Size of the Consumer Genomics Market

** Resources for African-American Genealogy

** Top 100 Genealogy Websites for 2015

** Non-Paternal Events and Graves Ancestry

** Communicating With Long Lost Relatives

** How Technology is Changing Genealogy and the World

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things

 

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GENERAL COMMENTS

 

Those of you who love snow would have enjoyed being here earlier this week when we had slightly more that 2 feet of snow.  But it was nothing like the blizzard of 1978 when the town of Wrentham was hit with more than 40 inches.

 

I hope you find some items of help and interest in this issue.

 

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GFA FACEBOOK GROUP

 

This continues to grow and as of Jan. 26 had 1318 members.  Concetta Phillips and Karen Beverly, co-administrators helping Vann Graves and me, are doing a great job at welcoming and helping people.  Even if you have resisted joining Facebook, you should consider joining this group.  Many people have found it very helpful.

 

The best aspect of this for most people is the opportunity to find others with similar ancestry and interests, and to easily communicate with them.  Most people find that his easy interaction is much better than sending an email or using a messaging system such as provided by Ancestry.com or 23andMe.  Other features on the Facebook site are mentioned below.

 

At the top of the page is a Files link.  If you click on that, you will see a spreadsheet of Facebook group members sorted four different ways – by residence, by name, by genealogical group, and by genealogy number.  I suspect that many people in the groups don’t realize that this exists, since people keep asking how to find what genealogy they are part of.  I stopped updating this spreadsheet in March 2014 because people didn’t seem to use it and it was a lot of work to maintain.  Any comments you may have on the usefulness of the spreadsheet, the need to keep it updated, and a better alternative to it, will be appreciated.  Presently, the ways to find out what genealogy you are part of are:

           Search for your ancestors in the indexes on the GFA website

           Use the Search Website function on the GFA website by clicking the green button on the upper left side of any website page

           Check the Excel spreadsheet on the website (hover over the GFA/Forums drop-down tab at the top of any GFA website page, and then click on the GFA Facebook Group link) or in the Tools section of Facebook page

           Post the question (with sufficient information about your known ancestors) on the Facebook site

           Ask me.

 

In the Files area you will also see a series of files for GEDmatch numbers.  The most recent version should be the only one of interest.  GEDmatch numbers are those used on gedmatch.com for autosomal DNA results that have been uploaded from Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, Ancestry.com, and possibly other companies in the future.  GEDCOM numbers are the ID numbers for GEDCOMS uploaded to gedmatch.com in conjunction with those DNA results.  The GEDmatch website allows matching between DNA test results from different companies, and also provides tools not available anywhere else.  If you have taken the Family Finder test at Family Tree DNA, or the DNA test from Ancestry.com or 23andMe, you should upload your test results to this website.

 

Finally, take a look at the photos section of the page by clicking on the Photos link at the top of the page.  As you browse this section, just click on any picture of interest and the description and comments relating to it will be displayed.  Then, if you put your cursor over the picture, you will see arrows on either side of the picture, and you can click on one side or the other to scroll though as many pictures as you want.

 

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SOME ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

How can I find what genealogy I am part of?

See the discussion in the preceding article.

 

What is the meaning of genealogy numbers?

The number of each genealogy was just assigned sequentially as an ID number when each genealogy was created. They have no meaning other than to be able to easily identify and retrieve a particular genealogy. Regarding retrieval, using genealogy 168 as an example, you can go to the part of it that is online at www.gravesfa.org/gen168.htm. For other genealogies, just replace 168 with the appropriate 3-digit number (e.g., genealogy 28 would use 028 to replace 168).

 

Why are the ID numbers for genealogies sometimes called generation numbers?

This is probably because the abbreviation for genealogy and generation is the same.  Generations are actually the divisions within genealogies, where the earliest ancestor is generation 1, his or her children are generation 2, etc.

 

What can I do if I don’t receive an issue of the Graves Family Bulletin?

If you aren't subscribed and would like to be added to the subscription list, let me know your name and email address. If you are already subscribed but don't receive the bulletin, check your spam folder, contact your ISP, or read it on the GFA website (by clicking on the Bulletin link on the Products drop-down tab at the top of each page).

 

OTHER QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

More questions and answers can be seen on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page of the Graves Family Association website.  At the top right of every page on the website is a link to this page.

 

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A SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT EVENTS IN GENETIC GENEALOGY IN 2014

 

An excellent summary of many of the most important happenings in the field of genetic genealogy is the Dec. 30 article by Roberta Estes in her DNAeXplained blog.  The subjects included in her list include:

           Beyond the Tipping Point, the dramatic growth in DNA testing.

           Autosomal Testing Now the New Normal

           Ancient DNA, more testing is revealing surprising discoveries.

           Ancient DNA Available for Citizen Scientists

           Haplogroup Definition and the huge number of new SNP being discovered and placed on the human ancestral tree.

           10th Annual International Conference on Genetic Genealogy

           Education

           Ancestor Reconstruction, progress in reconstruction of the DNA profile of our ancestors.

           Tools to help us use the DNA data.

           Exits and Entrances of DNA companies.

           Ancestry and the controversy over the services they provide and don’t provide.

           The Seamy Side, opportunists and even hoaxes involving DNA.

           King Richard, the finding of his remains and the results of DNA testing.

           More Alike than Different, comparison and similarity of ethnicities.

           2015, what to expect and hope for in 2015.

 

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ANOTHER SUGGESTION TO PRESERVE AND SHARE YOUR FAMILY INFORMATION

 

As a follow-up to the article in the December issue of this bulletin, Judi Wutzke suggested submitting all family histories to the DAR Library in Washington, DC. She said: “You can do this through a DAR member in any chapter. If the book is accepted the chapter will probably pay for the postage if you donate a copy of the book. Our chapter donates at least one book each month.”

 

Other genealogy libraries are interested in receiving published genealogies, and most will accept them in manuscript form also.

 

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USING WIKIPEDIA FOR INFORMATION

 

I recently received some helpful input about Wikipedia from a reader, and thought it might be worthwhile discussing it here.  The dangers of relying on Wikipedia (and other sources found on the Internet) are probably even greater with regard to undocumented submitted genealogies, but that’s a subject for another article.  A good general rule is just because it has been published somewhere (online, in a magazine or newspaper, or on TV) doesn’t mean it’s correct.

 

A CRITIQUE AND CAUTIONARY ALERT

The comments to me included: “Wikipedia is known for its errors and in college and professional settings is forbidden to be used. It degrades the validity of the person who sent the material and cannot be trust one whit.” “Wikipedia has no peer review. The only items they mark are issues that are inflammatory, that’s all.

 

And, this is not only in college settings. It is in all professional environments. I know folks who have been fired for using Wikipedia. 99.99% are unlocked and not reviewed. This is according to their own management, 2 years ago, and due to cutbacks, they now review less!

 

Posting or promoting items from Wikipedia could degrade what you are doing. This is my concern. You have good information and reliable information. Yet, posting anything from Wikipedia would degrade your items with any authority automatically, whether or not the information is checked.

 

As for college, most colleges now provide Zero’s for any item that uses Wikipedia, regardless of the information.”

 

ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION

A posting on the Harvard Guide to Using Sources called “What’s Wrong with Wikipedia?” states: “There’s nothing more convenient than Wikipedia if you’re looking for quick information, and when the stakes are low… In fact some instructors may advise their students to read entries for scientific concepts on Wikipedia as a way to begin understanding those concepts.  Nevertheless, when you’re doing academic research, you should be extremely cautious about using Wikipedia.”  “The fact that Wikipedia is not a reliable source for academic research doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to use basic reference materials when you’re trying to familiarize yourself with a topic.”

 

Another general article about the reliability of Wikipedia was in a 2013 blog article of the Delaware Division of Libraries here.  Their comments included: “It’s a useful tool, but caution is the key word!”  “When you find an article on Wikipedia, scroll to the end for the biographical information.  That can lead you to the gold.”

 

A third article that I especially like is from the Finding Dulcinea blog titled “The Top 10 Reasons Students Cannot Cite or Rely On Wikipedia.”

 

MY CONCLUSION

Wikipedia is helpful in providing introductory information about topics with which you may not be familiar.  Company press releases and blog articles that I often cite suffer from many of the same problems that Wikipedia has, however, and it is important for all of us to be skeptical and rely on multiple sources.  Therefore I will continue to provide occasional links to Wikipedia articles as introductory material, but will try to emphasize that such articles should not be relied on for academic research, and should never be considered as a primary source.  I’m sure most readers already realize that most articles in this bulletin are intended to provide general introduction to new topics, and are not intended as rigorous academic papers.

 

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ONLINE LEARNING FROM NEW ENGLAND HISTORIC GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY & ELSEWHERE

 

Visit the Online Learning Center page of New England Historic Genealogical Society’s American Ancestors website for subject guides on a variety of genealogical topics, informative videos, webinars, online courses, and more.  The online programs presently offered can be seen here.  The next free webinar is “Using Manuscripts in Your Genealogical Research” on Thursday, Feb. 19, and you can register here.  If you can’t attend the live broadcast, you can watch the recording that will be posted the following day.

 

Another educational resource that was discussed in an article in this bulletin (vol. 16, no.1, Jan. 23, 2014) was the learning videos from the University of Utah Genetic Science Learning Center. You can go to their main page to see the overall offerings.  From there you can click on a subject of interest such as “Chromosomes & Inheritance” in the “Genetics” section to see videos about the four types of DNA (autosomal, X-chromosome, Y-chromosome, and mitochondrial).

 

A third source of online education for genetic genealogy is Family Tree DNA.  The Learning Center, Frequently Asked Questions, and Webinars (including the many archived webinars) are three of the places to look.

 

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23ANDME MAKING A CHANGE TO ITS GENETIC GENEALOGY SERVICE

 

NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH MYHERITAGE

On Jan. 16, 23andMe, one of the 3 major providers of autosomal DNA testing, announced that they will be eliminating the family tree tool on its website.  It is giving all customers the option to get free usage of the family tree tool on MyHeritage.  The announcement says: “MyHeritage, the award-winning family tree company, enables you to do anything from build a basic family tree to connect to a database of 5.7 billion historical records, so you may discover more about your ancestors’ history in seconds.

 

As of May 1, 2015, the current 23andMe family tree tool will no longer be available. You will be able to access the MyHeritage family tree from within the 23andMe experience and share your tree with other 23andMe users on an ongoing basis.

 

You can start a new family tree on MyHeritage, or transfer your existing 23andMe family tree data - either way, it’s free [unless it exceeds about 250 individuals].

 

You can upgrade from the free service offered to 23andMe customers by purchasing a MyHeritage subscription at a discount of more than 50%. MyHeritage subscription plans give you access to their full suite of family discovery and research tools.”

 

More information is on the 23andMe website here.

 

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FTDNA AND MYHERITAGE

MyHeritage continues to provide links to FTDNA's Y, mtDNA, and combo products but not a stand-alone Family Finder test.  As part of affiliate agreements, both myHeritage and The Genealogist (a British genealogy research website) sell Family Tree DNA tests through their respective websites. These kits have standard Family Tree DNA kit numbers. All testing and results are the same as those for other Family Tree DNA customers.  Unlike myHeritage, The Genealogist does sell Family Finder.

 

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ANCESTRYDNA TEST NOW AVAILABLE IN THE UK AND IRELAND

 

The AncestryDNA autosomal DNA test from Ancestry is now being sold in the UK and Ireland.  Emails began to be sent to Ancestry subscribers in those countries on Jan. 27.  It is interesting to see that the price being charged is much more than in the U.S.  You can see more on Debbie Kennett’s blog here.

 

In contrast, Family Tree DNA sells their tests in almost every country of the world, offer many more types of DNA tests, provide DNA information and tools not available at Ancestry, charge less for both the test and shipping, and are the only testing company to provide help through surname and other projects.

 

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THE PRESENT SIZE OF THE CONSUMER GENOMICS MARKET

 

Debbie Kennett, in her Cruwys News blog, has estimated the number of customers of each DNA testing company to arrive at an estimate of the current size of the consumer genomics market.  Her article can be seen here.  Ancestry and 23andMe only sell autosomal DNA tests, and the Genographic test is mostly an autosomal test.  Family Tree DNA is the only company that sells a wide variety of tests, and the estimate of the number of Family Finder autosomal tests they have sold is about 120,000. 

 

Total number of individuals tested at each of the four big companies:

Genographis Project

705343

23andMe

800,000+

Family Tree DNA

565,000 (estimate)

AncestryDNA

740,000 (estimate)

TOTAL

2,810,343

 

Allowing for overlap (people testing at multiple companies, she estimates that “there are currently around two and a half million people in the world who have paid for a DNA test with the big four companies.”

 

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RESOURCES FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN GENEALOGY

 

The most recent addition to this subject that I have seen is a blog article, 7 Jan. 2015, by Michael J. Leclerc of Mocavo.  It can be seen here.  The three resources that are discussed are:

1.       African-American Historical and Genealogical Society

2.       African-American Archaeology, History, and Cultures

3.       Cyndi’s List

 

There is also a very interesting article by Karin Berry, Jan. 28, on the Ancestry blog titled “The Great Migration: How to Find Your African-American Ancestors.”  This article is the first in a series of three that will describe how to use Ancestry to research African-Americans during the Great Migration, when 6 million African-Americans migrated to the North between 1910 and 1930.  Other articles of interest can be found by going to the blog page and doing a search.

 

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TOP 100 GENEALOGY WEBSITES FOR 2015

 

Debbie Kennett has just called attention to an article about the top 100 genealogy websites for 2015 from Genealogy in Time magazine.  They have determined the popularity of websites by 3 factors: how many people visit a website, how much time is spent there, and how much content is consumed.  It is not based solely on how many people go to a website.  The top 10 in the list of 100 are in the table below.  In the complete listing it is interesting to see some of those often mentioned in this bulletin, such as Family Tree DNA at number 14, Eastman’s Genealogy Newsletter at 28.

 

Rank

Website

Category

Country

Free Pay

2014 Rank

Address

1

Ancestry.com

records

USA

pay

1

http://www.ancestry.com/

2

FamilySearch

records

USA

free

3

https://www.familysearch.org/

3

Find A Grave

cemetery

USA

free

2

http://www.findagrave.com/

4

Ancestry.co.uk

records

UK

pay

6

http://www.ancestry.co.uk/

5

MyHeritage.com

family tree

USA

pay

4

http://www.myheritage.com/

6

GeneaNet

family tree

France

free

7

http://www.geneanet.org/

7

Geni.com

family tree

USA

pay

5

http://www.geni.com/

8

Genealogy.com

records

USA

pay

9

http://genealogy.com/

9

Ancestry.com.au

records

Australia

pay

17

http://www.ancestry.com.au/

10

FindMyPast UK

records

UK

pay

18

http://www.findmypast.co.uk/

 

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NON-PATERNAL EVENTS AND GRAVES ANCESTRY

 

Discontinuities in a male genetic line are commonly described as non-paternal events (NPE’s).  These are usually identified when the Y-DNA test results of a male are not the same as those of other males of the same surname descended from a common male ancestor of that surname.  There are a number of possible reasons for this discrepancy including:

           Illegitimacy outside marriage where the male son takes the maiden name of his biological mother.

           An infidelity within marriage where the male child still takes the surname of his mother s husband.

           A widow remarries and a male child takes the surname of his new step-father.

           Informal adoption, where an orphan or foster boy takes the surname of his guardian.

           A family name-change, where a man might take the maiden name of his wife or mother in order to inherit land or property.

 

John Creer has written a blog article called “The Incidence of Non-Paternal Events (NPE’s) in Men of Manx Origin” that is pertinent to our Graves and Greaves families also.  One interesting point in the article is that an average rate of NPE incidence of 2% per generation has been determined by some researchers.  At that rate, for a family line started 800 years ago, a male descendant of that line would have a 49% probability of having an NPE today.  Even at a 1% incidence rate, a male descendant would have a 28% probability.

 

IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR GRAVES/GREAVES ANCESTRAL STUDY

This is pertinent to the attempt by the Graves Family Association to trace the ancestries of all the various Graves/Greaves families and to determine the number of progenitors.  For families whose Y-DNA does not match that of any other Graves/Greaves family, there are two possibilities.  One is that the descendants in the country of origin (usually England) have not yet been tested, and the other is that there was an NPE and male descendants of that part of the family may actually be found to match male descendants of a family of another surname.  More attention should be paid to this second possibility.  Two cautionary notes need to be made here: (1) just because the male (or males) who was tested does not match others of the same surname does not necessarily mean that he is not a Graves/Greaves descendant; he still may be through a female ancestor; and (2) a Y-DNA match with another surname does not necessarily mean that there was an NPE in that person’s line, since the match with the other surname could have been before the establishment of permanent surnames.

 

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COMMUNICATING WITH LONG LOST RELATIVES

 

In a Jan. 23 article titled “Realizing the Illusion: Communicating With Long Lost Relatives” in his Through the Trees blog, Shannon Christmas (descended from Capt. Thomas Graves of gen. 169) gives some very helpful tips on how to contact your DNA matches.  In case you have despaired of communicating with and getting responses from most of your DNA matches, here are some suggestions for overcoming that problem.

 

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HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING GENEALOGY AND THE WORLD

 

A Jan. 27 article in Slate titled “How Technology Is Changing the Family Tree” discusses the promise and pitfalls of America’s obsession with genealogy, supported by Silicon Valley startups like 23andMe and new online platforms like WikiTree.

 

DNA testing has the potential to show that clear demarcations of ethnicity are basically a myth and that we are all intertwined.  This could have a democratizing effect.  Collaborative family history sites like WikiTree allow you to put your family tree online.  Then if your tree overlaps with another family tree, you can merge the two.  Some people visualize a global family tree created this way.  In fact, author A. J. Jacobs is organizing the Global Family Reunion in the New York Hall of Science, Flushing, NY (the site of two World’s Fairs) on June 6, 2015.

 

Among the potential downsides to these developments are loss of privacy, misuse of information, and the inevitable errors in creating and merging family trees.  But, as the article concludes: “When technology indulges our desire to know more about ourselves, perhaps curiosity will always outweigh caution.”

 

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ABOUT THIS BULLETIN:

This bulletin is written and edited by Kenneth V. Graves, ken.graves@gravesfa.org.

 

TO SUBMIT MATERIAL TO THIS BULLETIN:

Send any material you would like to have included in this bulletin to ken.graves@gravesfa.org.  The editor reserves the right to accept, edit or reject any material submitted.

 

TO JOIN THE GRAVES FAMILY ASSOCIATION:

If you do not already belong to the GFA, you can join by sending $20 per year to Graves Family Association, 20 Binney Circle, Wrentham, MA 02093 (more details on GFA website).  Payment may also be sent electronically to gfa@gravesfa.org via PayPal.

 

COPYRIGHTS:

Although the contents of this bulletin are copyrighted by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves, you are hereby granted permission, unless otherwise specified, to re-distribute part or all to other parties for non-commercial purposes only.