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Graves Family Association


The goals of this project are to find the ancestral home of this Graves/Greaves family in England, to connect the various parts of the family with each other, and to find descendants of the family in England so they can be Y-DNA tested. All of the Y-DNA testing is being done at Family Tree DNA in Houston, TX.

Genealogies for the various parts of this family that share a common ancestor are found on the Graves Family Association website at gravesfa.org. The numbers assigned to each of those families have no meaning and were just used as the next available number. Charts for each genealogy are also on the GFA website. Y-DNA test results (which show who is part of which family) for everyone in this group who has been tested are in the master Y-DNA summary table here. There is a SNP chart here that shows the Graves/Greaves family of interest, all descended from SNP R-BY1744. The SNP chart shows how the various families are connected with each other.


WHAT IS KNOWN: It was originally believed that the largest group of Graves and Greaves families in England and America was descended from the family of Beeley, Derbyshire (genealogy 228), and that this group included the Greaves family of Stepney, London (genealogy 28), the Greaves family of Macclesfield, Cheshire (genealogy 334), and various families of the U.S. (including John Graves of Concord, MA, gen. 166, John Greaves of St. Mary's Co., MD, gen. 247, and Francis Graves of VA, gen. 220).

However, Y-DNA SNP test results in 2017 and later showed that the Greaves family of Beeley (gen. 228) and Macclesfield (gen. 334) certainly appear to be in a Y-DNA group called R1-228a, not part of this group. Although having more than one test for each of these genealogies would be better, the evidence seems quite believable. The genealogies for Norton, South Yorkshire are in group R1-197, not in this group.

All the others (including the family of gen. 28) are in Y-DNA group 228b.

All the genealogies in this group probably share a common Greaves/Graves ancestor, probably in the 1500s.

Note that there are two branches of the family, one having SNP BY1745 and the other having BY18000. All of the BY18000 immigrants seem to have settled in Virginia. For the immigrants to America having BY1745, some ended up in the north (Massachusetts and Connecticut, and later in Canada), and some in Virginia.

Research was conducted in the late 1800's by Eben Putnam, some of it published as "Notes on the Ancestry of Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves of Charlestown, Mass.", Historical Collections of the Essex Institute, vol. 31, 1895. His research, primarily in wills, provided much information about the Greaves family of Stepney and Limehouse, Middlesex, from which Rear Admiral Thomas Graves of Charlestown, MA was descended.

John Greaves of genealogy 247 was probably born about 1670-1680 in England, based on when his children were born, and died in 1748 in St. Mary's Co., MD.

It was previously suspected that John might be a son or grandson of William Greaves (son of Peter Greaves) of genealogy 336. However, that now seems less likely, since the Y-DNA results don't match. (Gen. 336 is in Y-DNA group R1-197.) Peter Greaves was probably born about 1570, and was of Greenhill, parish of Norton, County Derby (now suburban Sheffield, South Yorkshire). Greenhill is about 165 miles north of London. It is interesting to see that it is also only about 13 miles from Beeley. See the beginning of genealogy 247 for speculation on the ancestry of this family.

It has been speculated that he was born 1619 in Gloucester, England, son of John Graves of Gloucester, who was born 17 Sept. 1581 in Gloucester, and had a total of 3 wives. Another possibility is that he was from the same place as Rev. Peter Bulkley, the pastor of his church in Concord, MA, who was born in Odell, Bedfordshire. It is also possible that John Graves was from Kent, England, since many of the early settlers of Concord were.

It is interesting to note that if this family did originate in the area of Sheffield, Derbyshire, and if at least some of them migrated to London, then the Odell location for John Graves makes the most sense, since it is on the path between the two cities.

Francis Graves was previously believed to be the youngest son of Capt. Thomas Graves who arrived in Jamestown, VA in 1608. It now appears that the youngest child of Capt. Thomas Graves was a daughter with that name. Substantiating this is the fact that Y-DNA testing has shown that the descendants of Francis do not match either of the other sons of Capt. Thomas Graves.

Clark C. Graves wrote: “Francis appears in Virginia records in 1672, when the Council grants him 730 acres, for having transported 14 persons, and himself." Clark speculates: "Some of the fourteen transportees may have been tenants on Francis's family's estate in England, willing to follow a younger (non-inheriting), Greaves- a second or third son of the lord, on a colonial adventure into the wilderness. Francis could have been the "Franciscus Greaves", chr. 1645, Cathedral Ch. of St Peter & St. Paul, Sheffield, s/o Richard Greaves and Alice Dayles (Dale). If so, he appears to have a younger, brother, John Greaves, chr Bradfield, 1648, who would be a candidate to be my John Graves, who formally alleges himself to be an age that would calculate to a birth in 1648.”

Francis may be a key individual in the expedition to America from England. If he really was born in England, rather than someplace in America, his given name is infrequent and should be easier to find than, say, "John".

Clark also wrote: "In thinking about Francis' age at the time of his arrival, it strikes me that he could not have been much under 25 years old, nor would he have been much older than thirty. I envision him about 28-29, correlating to a birth year around 1644-6.” One bit of information about Francis Graves that indicates a possible ancestral connection with families like gen. 28 is that Richard Graves, son od Francis, was involved in coastal trace with a sloop.


  • More research is needed to try to find the ancestors of this part of the Greaves family. It would be helpful to find people in likely areas of England to be Y-DNA tested.
  • Eben Putnam's research of wills for the family of gen. 28 needs to be extended to find more descendants and earlier ancestry.
  • We should try to find where the associates of the early settlers of this family in America were from.
  • Because of the involvement of some of this family group in maritime activities (sailing and shipbuilding), we should try to contact descendants of families in England (such as gen. 68, which contains many admirals) with these historic occupations and try to get them Y-DNA tested.