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Graves Family Association







CAPT. THOMAS GRAVES OF VA, ANCESTORS AND DESCENDANTS

WHAT IS KNOWN -- SEE NEWEST RESEARCH RESULTS AT BOTTOM OF PAGE:

Not only is Capt. Thomas Graves of VA the first settler with the Graves surname in America, but he is also believed to be the immigrant ancestor of many Graves descendants in America. Capt. Thomas Graves was probably born about 1580, in England or Ireland, and arrived in Jamestown, VA in 1608. He was recorded as from Dublin, Ireland, in 1608, but was perhaps originally from the vicinity of London, England. His wife is believed to have been Katherine Croshaw (or Crosher), possibly daughter or sister of Raleigh Croshaw.

From the will of William Crashawe, PCC 97 Hale, 1 Nov. 1621, proved 6 Oct. 1626, as published in Virginia Settlers and English Adventurers, by Currer-Briggs: "William Crashaw, Bachelor in Divinity, Preacher of God's Word first in Bridlington, then at Beverley in Yorkshire, afterwards at the Temple, since then Pastor of the Church of Agnes Burton in the Diocese of York, now pastor of that too great parish of Whitechapel in the suburbs of London... (indicates he is married, and then bequeaths books to many libraries in Cambridge, London, Ireland, and Yorkshire, etc.) ... To the parish church of Hausworth in Yorkshire where I was born ... To my brother Thomas all my civil law books he hath not and 20/- to bestow on a fair Bible for my sister his wife." The will goes on to list other relatives and also mentions Sir Edwyn Sandys and others involved with the Virginia Company of London. It is possible that this may refer to Thomas Graves married to William's sister Katherine Crashaw.

It is possible that Capt. Thomas Graves studied law and was a barrister. Note the bequeathing of law books "to my brother Thomas" in the will of William Crashawe. Articles about the Croshaw family in the Graves Family Newsletter (pages 52-54, 1995, and page 81, 1994) are pertinent. They state that Capt. Raleigh Croshaw arrived in Oct. 1608 in Jamestown, VA with Capt. Thomas Graves. One of his sons, Joseph Croshaw, was a barrister, believed to have been trained in England, and apparently his father, Capt. Raleigh Croshaw, also had been a barrister there before he emigrated. A search for a barrister named Thomas Graves in England might be helpful.

In spite of much research over many years, this family has been shown to be the most difficult of any major Graves family to accurately define. The amount of new information gathered from our DNA study has been of tremendous value in giving us a much better understanding of the structure of the family of Capt. Thomas Graves of VA than we could ever have gotten by traditional research alone. However, many of us were surprised and puzzled by the discovery that the four lines that Capt. Thomas Graves initially appeared to descend from actually represented 4 different male ancestors, not just one. NOTE: The four lines have now been reduces to three and probably only two. The line that was eliminated is
  • Thomas1, John2, Thomas3, John4
  • (found to be gen. 270 descended from gen. 47 of Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, England). (See the chart summary of this family, and especially the discussion of the rationale for the several groups and the chart.) One question that needs answering is how this can be. A second question is, assuming this is correct, which of the 3 immigrants was Capt. Thomas Graves.) The three possible remaining lines are:
    1. Thomas1, John2, Ralph3, Ralph4 -- most likely line
    2. Thomas1, Thomas2, Thomas3, John4, John5
    3. Thomas1, Francis2 -- least likely line, possibly descended from gen. 28 or 166 (see below)
    With the first 2 lines, the generations at the end (that is, the 4th generation for the first one and the 5th for the third) are the earliest ancestor in that line for whom the DNA result has been confirmed by finding at least two descendants for whom this is the common ancestor. For Francis Graves, we do not have even a solid common ancestor that far back (only back to generation 6).

    Adventurers of Purse and Person, 4th edition, 2005, does not seem to support the conclusion that there were 3 or 4 separate immigrant ancestors of the descendants traditionally attributed to Capt. Thomas Graves. Possible explanations for the surprising results from DNA testing and the lack of agreement with Adventurers of Purse and Person are: (1) male descendants of only one of the sons of Capt. Thomas Graves survived and had male children,
    (2) there were events such as adoptions or children fathered by non-Graves men, causing lines of descendants that didn't have the DNA of Capt. Thomas Graves, or (3) this book and previous researchers are wrong and have included people who are not really descendants. The first option is a definite possibility, but the second option is extremely unlikely. That is because 3 of the 4 lines exactly match known Graves lines. The likelihood of a Graves couple adopting an unrelated Graves child, or of a Graves man fathering a child by the wife of an unrelated Graves man, seems remote. Option 3 is at least part of the problem; even with the best research, when documentation is incomplete there is a tendency to rely on less rigorous proof.

    TENTATIVE CONCLUSIONS:
    (1) Of the four male genetic lines listed above, line 2 has been conclusively established as genealogy 270, and is not from Capt. Thomas Graves. It is descended from genealogy 47 It is no longer shown on the Y-DNA chart for genealogy 169.
    (2) Line 3 may have been from Capt. Thomas Graves, possibly through a child of a female descendant, but is very unlikely to be descended from Capt. Thomas Graves through a direct male line. This is because the Y-DNA of descendants does not match that of any other known Graves family.
    (3) Line 4 has seemed unlikely to be from Capt. Thomas Graves because it was discovered and documented later than the other lines, the documentation seems weaker than that of line 1, and there is evidence that the offspring of Capt. Thomas was a daughter named Frances rather than a son named Francis. It has therefore been believed that the male Francis Graves was a son of another Graves man, and he now heads up genealogy 220. Clak C. Graves believes that Francis Graves was descended from one of the Graves families that settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (either gen. 28 or 166).
    (4) Line 1 is considered the most likely line of descent from Capt. Thomas Graves because it seems to have the strongest documentation. However, the records seem to show that Francis Graves of line 4 was living on the Eastern shore in close proximity to Capt. Thomas Graves and his daughters, so line 4 cannot be absolutely ruled out.

    RESEARCH ALREADY DONE:
    The ancestry of Capt. Thomas Graves has been given variously be different people. Some of the more common claims (none with credible evidence) are:

    1. According to Mr. Jefferson James Graves of Ross, California (in a paper dated 1938, filed as a transcript in the Filson Club, Louisville, KY), Capt. Thomas Graves was the second son of John Graves, Jr., Mayor of Hull (the commonly-used name for Kingston upon Hull), England in 1598, who was a son of John Graves, Lord Mayor of York, England in 1570. That John Graves was a son of Hugh Graves, son of Robert Graves of Cleckheaton. According to Jefferson J. Graves, the sons of John Graves, Jr. were Hugh, Thomas, Benjamin and John. This ancestral line is that of the Graves family of Yorkshire and Mickleton Manor (genealogy 68).
      Mr. Ken Smallbone of Basingstoke, Hants, England, a researcher I hired in 1996, conducted a search of wills at the Borthwick Institute, York. Among other documents, he found the wills of Hugh Graves of York (will proved 1589) and of John Graves of Kingston on Hull (will proved 1615), and an administration for the estate of Thomas Graves of Kingston on Hull (granted to his widow Margaret in 1627). The conclusion is that this cannot be Capt. Thomas Graves, since Thomas of Hull inherited considerable property in England, his wife was not named Katherine, and he had died by 1627 (rather than 1635-36 for Capt. Thomas Graves).
    2. According to various contributors to the LDS Ancestral File and elsewhere, his parents were Thomas Graves (b.c. 1556 of Lamborne, Berkshire, England) and Joan Blagrove (b.c. 1560, of Lamborne, daughter of Thomas Blagrove and Joan Bellame). Various spellings of the place have been used, and there is a Lambourn in Berkshire, west of London, between Reading and Swindon.
      I contacted all those who provided this ancestry, and was not able to obtain any substantiation from anyone. Mrs. Jean Wall did a limited search in Salt Lake City and was not able to either substantiate or disprove this ancestry. She did find a Blagrove genealogy book there. It showed a Thomas Blagrove and Joan Bellame with children John and Mary. No mention of a Thomas Graves marrying a Joan Blagrove was on the chart. However, John Blagrove was shown with wife Joane. According to James Lawler: "The will of Thomas Graves (wife Joan) (Blagrove from marriage license) with child son Thomas is extant." But this will has been neither found nor examined. I also hired genealogist Neil D. Thompson of Salt Lake City to investigate this possible ancestry; he was not able to find any substantiation.
    3. Another unsupported source gives his father as Capt. Henry Graves.
    4. Another unsupported source said he was descended from the Greaves family of Beeley, Derbyshire (genealogy 228).
    5. The Historic Jamestowne website at www.historicjamestowne/biographies/ gives a possible place and date of birth as Feb. 9, 1587 in Leeds, Yorkshire. There is a reference on the LDS website to this event on film 170475, with father as Edward Graves. No evidence is given to support this Thomas being the same person as the 1608 settler.

    SOME CLUES ABOUT THE POSSIBLE ANCESTRY OF CAPT. THOMAS GRAVES OF VIRGINIA (fom Graves Family Bulletin, vol. 17, issue 9, Dec. 11, 2015)

    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.

    WHAT IS NEEDED:

    • DNA tests are needed on other direct male lines from generations 2 and 3 of the first 3 lines. For Francis Graves, DNA tests are needed on other direct male lines to confirm that the Y-DNA test results for genealogy 220 are correct. To see which lines have already been tested and which lines need participating descendants, look at < a href="DNAchart169.pdf">the frequently updated chart for genealogy 169 or all the charts for Capt. Thomas Graves or the chart for Francis Graves (which has been separated from the Capt. Thomas Graves genealogy and charts).
    • The records should be searched to find the basis for the claim that Capt. Thomas Graves was a son of Thomas Graves and Joan Blagrove of Lamborne, Berkshire, England. Although research has already found there is no merit to this claim, it has been so widely disseminated that more evidence to support or disprove it needs to be provided.
    • Three of the four lines match families found in England. The first line matches with genealogies 168, 65, etc., and is known to have come from the area around Hertford, England. Line 2 matches with genealogy 47 from Northamptonshire. Line 4 (Francis Graves) matches with genealogies 28, 28A, 228, etc., from London, Derbyshire, etc. These families need to be researched in England, with the hope that the connection with America may be found by this research.
    • There are lines from Capt. Thomas Graves that have been shown by DNA analysis to be in the wrong place. These include: sample 1354, which belongs with Thomas2 and not Ralph3; sample 15646, which belongs with Francis (gen. 220) and not John2, Thomas3; and sample 3699, which belongs with John2, Thomas3. Research is needed to find the correct connection for these lines.
    • There are family groups that have been shown by DNA analysis to be descended from specific parts of the possible Capt. Thomas Graves family, but the exact connection has not yet been found. These include genealogies 172, 443, 741, 877, and 935, all related to the family from Whitfield, Northamptonshire. More information on this group of families is available. Research is needed to find the connections.
    • The descendants of Thomas2 Graves, son of Capt. Thomas Graves, are very incompletely known and proven, as shown on the complete chart of known male descendants. Traditional genealogical research needs to be done on this part of the family, followed by DNA testing of descendants to confirm the relationships.
    • We need to use mitochondrial DNA testing (mtDNA) where appropriate and autosomal DNA testing on both male and female descendants of genealogy 169 and genealogy 220 (Francis Graves) to more conclusively show their Graves ancestry. If we could find and test descendants of the daughters of Capt. Thomas Graves with autosomal DNA testing, that might provide the answer, since their status as daughters of Capt. Thomas Graves has not been challenged. Even though only a small percentage of those tested might have inherited enough of that DNA, such testing has been shown to work.
    We need volunteers to organize and oversee this research. We also need money to hire people to do some of the research. With the clues we now have, I am confident that this effort will produce the results we want if we are willing to do what is required to make it happen. Let me know if you are willing to help, and (if possible) what kind of help you might be able and willing to do..