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


Vol. 10, No. 12, Dec. 27, 2008




Copyright © 2008 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** General Comments

** Trip to England in June 2009

** Ken Graves to Speak at the January 2009 Meeting of the GFA Mid-Atlantic Chapter

** Reminder of DNA Testing Discounts and the Importance of DNA Testing

** Changes Regarding the Grave/Graves Families of Cambridgeshire and Cumbria, England

** The Graves Families of Ireland

** Never Quit Looking for Your Ancestors

** Where is Gravesend?

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






This is the last opportunity to get the $150 discount when you register for the trip to England next June.  The end of December is also your last opportunity to get the special prices for DNA tests for new customers.  See the following articles for more details.


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season, and I wish you all a very happy 2009!






Have you always wanted to go to England but thought it was just a dream?  Are you descended from a Graves or Greaves family in England, and would you love to visit the places they lived and meet some of their descendants who still live there?  Now is your chance to fulfill your dream.


The Graves Family Association, in cooperation with Select Travel Service Inc., will be conducting a tour of England June 4-16, 2009.  Although the stated cost was $2975 per person (before discount), the actual cost will probably be less because of the improved exchange rate.


This will not be a research trip, although you will have the option to go off on your own if you choose to, and do whatever you want.  In addition to the places mentioned in the brochure, we will be visiting a few other places, including Beeley Hilltop in Derbyshire and perhaps other places close to Beeley.


The tour brochure and the registration form are on the GFA website in PDF format.


Spread the word about the tour.  Invite your relatives and any friends who might like to go along.  We would really like to have as many people on the tour as possible, especially since it will probably reduce the cost for all participants.  Let me know if you want more tour brochures or want me to send some directly to anyone else.


Remember that you will get a $150 discount if you register by Dec. 31, 2008.  You can subtract that from your initial deposit of $250 per person.  For any questions that require an immediate answer, you can contact Select Travel Service at 800-752-6787.






Ken Graves will be speaking on the subject of “What Has the GFA Accomplished in 2008, and What Can We Expect in the Future?” at the January meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Graves Family Association.  This will be Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009, 3-6 p.m., at the Army Navy Club in Arlington, VA.  There will be a light buffet in the meeting room as attendees assemble.  Sarah and I are looking forward to seeing as many of you there as are able to attend.


For more information, contact John Graves at 443-542-2860 (work), 410-867-6758 (home), or at






This is a reminder of the special year-end offer from Family Tree DNA (the company we use for most of our DNA testing) for new-kit-purchasing participants.  Please note that you must act very quickly to take advantage of these special prices.


The products that are being offered at the special prices are:


















Full Genomic mtDNA






This offer is good until December 31st, 2008 for kits ordered and paid for by that time.


To take advantage of this offer, the easiest way is to go to the main page of the Graves Family Association website at, scroll down to the DNA Study section, click on the link for “How to Sign Up”, and follow the instructions.  The 37-marker Y-DNA test is the one we usually recommend.


If you prefer not to use a credit card online, you can always call Family Tree DNA at 713-868-1438 and give them your credit card information or arrange to send them a check.


Especially if your part of the Graves/Greaves/Grieves family has not yet had any male take a Y-DNA test, it is very important that someone do so.  This is the only way we can know for sure whether your male line shares a common ancestor with other families.






The section on the Charts page of the GFA website for these families has been changed, and some of the charts have been updated.  This is one of the most difficult family groups to understand.  It appears that the families of Cambridgeshire, Cumbria/Cumberland, and some families of the U.S. are related, but some of them may be more distantly related than previously thought.






If you look on the Charts page of the GFA website, you will see that there are two different groups of Graves families in Ireland.  One is that of William Graves of Drogheda, Co. Louth (genealogy 35) and the part of that family that emigrated to Delaware around 1700.  Co. Louth is on the Irish Sea, north of Dublin, and adjacent to Ulster (Northern Ireland).  It is not known whether the family originated in Ireland or was from elsewhere, although many of them later lived in Lancashire, England.  DNA testing shows that the family is haplogroup I1, which is more typical of Scotland than England.


The other group of families is probably descended from the Graves family of Yorkshire & Mickleton Manor, Gloucestershire, England (genealogy 68).  Many members of this family had positions of authority in the army, navy, civil government, and the church in both Ireland and England.  The family members seemed to have lived more often in the southeastern part of Ireland, especially in counties Wexford and Waterford.  The DNA haplogroup of this family is R1b1b2, which is typical of most of the Graves and Greaves families of England.


Recent DNA results have shown that genealogy 364 (Parents of Richard Graves of Waterford, Ireland) and genealogy 530 (Thomas Graves and Julia Leek of Dublin, Ireland) share a common Graves ancestor.  Since it is believed that the ancestral family is genealogy 68, we very much need more family information for that family and DNA testing on male Graves descendants of that family to verify the relationship.  The one DNA test we presently have for gen. 68 does not match any other Graves results, so men from other branches of the family need to be tested.  Your help will be appreciated.


On the Charts page of the website, you can see that genealogy 68 has been expanded and new and updated charts have been added.  (If this has not been completed by the time you get this bulletin, it will be done soon.)






Often people start searching for their ancestors, find some information, and then hit a “roadblock”.  Sooner or later, we all run into roadblocks and dead ends.  A typical response is to give up, figuring that there is no hope of ever finding that information.  I sometimes receive letters and emails asking for help, and when I respond that I don’t have the answer being sought, I never hear from the people again.


I want to emphasize that there is much, much more information out there in archives and libraries, in church records, in family records and elsewhere.  Much of it has never been publicized or published on the Internet.  But more and more is becoming available, and more will be available in the future.  There is a good chance that the answers to many of your questions will be found in the future, so don’t give up hope, and don’t stop looking.


One recent example is someone who was searching in 1988 for the ancestry of Willie Ray Graves, born 1896 or 1898, son of William Bailey Graves, born unknown date in southern Missouri.  At the time, I couldn’t help.  Now, with the ability to search the genealogies on the GFA website, the U.S. census records online, and the submitted genealogies on, I was able to find that William Bailey Graves was born 1871, married Ettie M. Braswell, and was a son of George Washington Graves and Emeline Vickers.  They are descended from immigrant Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT (genealogy 168).  In the genealogy, William Bailey Graves had been listed as Bailey W. Graves, but we know that it was extremely common in the late 1800’s in the U.S. for men to reverse their first and middle names.  So it took 20 years, but we now have the answer.


Another example is someone in Gorham, Maine, who was searching in 1983 for John Greaves or Graves who married Nellie Rackliff and lived somewhere in England in the mid-1800’s.  I recently found that this John Graves was born in 1851 in Everton, Nottinghamshire, was a son of William Graves and Ann Holdgate, and a grandson of Samuel Graves (born 1791) and Sarah Crofts.  This is now genealogy 444.


In 1999, a woman from Quebec, Canada inquired about her ancestors Elmer Graves and Mary Doucette of Massachusetts.  I recently found that Elmer was born in 1863 in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and was descended from Samuel Graves of Lynn, MA (genealogy 83).


These examples show that many searches for Graves/Greaves ancestors and connection not only don’t get forgotten, but are eventually successful.  However, now that so much more information is available, it probably won’t take 20 or 25 years to find the answers.  You should be persistent, thorough, and optimistic.  And remember, the more information you share, the more likely a connection will be found.






There are stories about people named Graves who lived in Gravesend, England and went to America.  These men include the engineer named Thomas Graves (genealogy 131), Samuel Graves of Lynn, MA (genealogy 83), Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT & Hatfield, MA (genealogy 168), and perhaps others.  We now believe that Samuel Graves of Lynn, MA, was from Lincolnshire, and Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT was from the area near Hertford.  However, the engineer did indeed live in a place called Gravesend (according to his contract with the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and perhaps other emigrants also lived in Gravesend.  It has always been assumed that the place called Gravesend was the one in Kent, England, on the River Thames.  However, after coming across other places of that name, it occurs to me that one of those other places may sometimes be the one involved.


After much research of Gravesend, Kent, including talking to historians in the town when I was there in 1995, I have not been able to find any Graves family that lived there.  My conclusion is that many ships to America and elsewhere sailed from Gravesend, Kent, and many or most of those who are said to have been from Gravesend left on a ship that sailed from Gravesend but didn’t live there.  In addition, it appears that the name of Gravesend, Kent, was derived from a corruption of the name Gresham, and had nothing to do with the Graves surname.


However, there are other places called Gravesend.  The family of Admiral Thomas Graves (of genealogy 68) lived in Torpoint, Cornwall (near Plymouth, Devon), and the place where he lived was called Gravesend.  The area is still called Gravesend Gardens.  More about the relationship between the Sawle and Graves families can be found at


Part of the same Graves family married into the Sawle family and lived at Penrice, near St. Austell, Cornwall.  John Graves, Rear Admiral Royal Navy, married Elizabeth Sawle.  His father was Rev. John Graves of Gravesend, county Derry, Ireland.


Finally, in a history of Porthleven, Cornwall at is a discussion of the many shipwrecks at that location, the construction of the sheltered harbor to reduce the death toll, and the pit at the top of the cliff, called Gravesend, where many of the shipwrecked bodies were buried.  The implication is that there may be other locations with this name for a similar reason.  However, this is not a likely place of origin for any Graves family member.





This bulletin is written and edited by Kenneth V. Graves,  Ken Graves was also editor of the Graves Family Newsletter (no longer published).  This bulletin will contain announcements and news of special interest to Graves descendants with Internet access.  It will not contain queries, genealogies, photos, and the kind of in-depth articles that used to appear in the Graves Family Newsletter.



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



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 via PayPal by going to and sending payment to  Benefits include access to the “members only” section of the website, membership directory, and help with learning more about your Graves/Greaves family.  The purpose of the GFA is to bring together as many descendants as possible to work toward learning more about the Graves/Greaves families, to help other descendants, and to instill pride in our ancestry.



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