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Graves Family Association

Ken Graves was in England from September 10 through September 18. Bruce and Lola Graves (descended from John Greaves of St. Mary’s Co., MD, gen. 247) went also. The main purpose of the trip was to meet as many descendants of Greaves, Graves, Grieve(s), etc., families as possible, and try to gather genealogical information and DNA testing samples from them. The times and places of each of the 8 scheduled meetings were as follows.

Tuesday, May 9 - Departure from the U.S.

Wednesday, May 10, 7:00 p.m., Chester, Dene Hotel, 95 Hoole Rd. Both Greaves and Graves family members attended. Brian Johnson (a Graves descendant) was of great help in arranging the meeting. The walk on the city wall, the old part of the city, and the view of the horse racing grounds were very interesting.

Thursday, May 11, 7:30 p.m., Keswick, Crosthwaite Church Parish Room. The Lake District is one of the most scenic in England. Both Grave and Graves family members were there. We spent a lot of time after the presentation talking about various Grave and Graves families.

Friday, May 12, 5:30 p.m., Sunderland, Old Parish Church, Church St. East at junction with Coronation St., followed by a buffet. Robert Moon and Sally Schoon of the Friends of Sunderland Old Parish Church were of great help in hosting us and arranging the meeting. The GFA is now an affiliated society with them. At the meeting were members of the Grieve, Grieves, Greaves and Graves families.

Saturday, May 13, 1:00 p.m., York, King's Manor, University of York, Exhibition Square, next to the City Art Gallery. Both Graves and Greaves family members were there. The city wall and the old part of the city were very interesting.

Sunday, May 14, 4:00 p.m., Boston, Travel Inn, Wainfleet Rd. (A52) near junction with Spilsby Rd. (A16). There were only Graves family members there.

Monday, May 15, 7:00 p.m., Coventry, Old Coventrians Rugby Football Club, Tile Hill Lane, at junction of A45 and B4102. Geoff Barwick, chairman of the Coventry Family History Society, was our very gracious host at this meeting. He and his wife even treated us to a delicious supper before the meeting. Both Graves and Greaves family members were there. The following morning we visited Mickleton Manor and Church before driving to Cottenham.

Tuesday, May 16, 6:30 p.m., Cottenham, in the library at Cottenham Village College, High Street. Only Graves family members were there. Chris Graves, originally from Cottenham, was very helpful in arranging the meeting. He gave us a tour of Cambridge.

Wednesday, May 17, 7:00 p.m., London, Hyde Park Family History Centre, 54-68 Exhibition Rd. We were treated to lunch by Adrian Graves. Only Graves family members attended the meeting. I was obviously rather tired by this meeting, and was glad I hadn’t scheduled more meetings. The next day I did a combination walking and open-top bus tour of London before being driven to Heathrow by Archie Affleck-Graves.

The meetings were very successful. Attendance ranged from 6 at the first meeting in Chester to 35 at Keswick, and generally was around 20. We were in competition with the horse races in Chester, a jazz festival in Keswick, and the UEFA Champions League football (soccer) final in London. (Unfortunately for the English fans, Barcelona beat Arsenal 2-1 to win their first European Cup in 14 years.) There was no obvious advantage to holding a meeting in a city such as London versus in a small town such as Keswick.

14 DNA kits were distributed, most for testing on the spot, all for the 37-marker Y-DNA test. Several other people promised to order a testing kit from the website. (To order, go to the GFA website at https://gravesfa.org, scroll down to the DNA section, and click on the link for “How to sign up”.) The DNA test results are expected back by early July.

Although much genealogical information was gathered, a major challenge is to get more from all those tested plus other family members.

Prior to the trip, I sent press releases to all newspapers in each area, contacted local history and genealogy societies, and sent letters to those with the surname who were listed in online telephone directories. I was also interviewed by BBC radio while I was there. As a result of this publicity, contact was made with others who couldn’t attend but who may provide family information in the future.