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. 11, No. 3, April 21, 2009




Copyright © 2009 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** General Comments

** Trip to England in June 2009

** Graves Family Reunion in Texas in August

** Free DNA Testing for Those in Britain

** Updates to the GFA Website

** Possible Ancestry of the Quaker Graves Family of Delaware & Northern Ireland

** Possible Connection of the Family of Northern Ireland with the Greaves Families Now in Barbados and Vicinity

** What Constitutes Genealogical Proof?

** Researching Early Ancestry in the British Isles

** Graves Family at the University of North Carolina

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






Yesterday was Patriots' Day, originally April 19, now observed in Massachusetts and Maine (formerly part of Massachusetts) on the third Monday in April to commemorate the Battles of Lexington and Concord that sparked the American Revolutionary War in 1775.  This was also the day of the 113th running of the Boston Marathon, a major event here in the Boston area.


This issue of the Bulletin contains a couple of articles about researching your ancestors in Britain and elsewhere.  Our trip to England and the upcoming reunion in Texas is also discussed.  However, probably the most exciting news is the possible discovery of the ancestry of the Quaker Graves family of Delaware and Northern Ireland.  Are any of you interested in pursuing this further?






There is still time to sign up for the trip to England, June 4-16.  To do so, either contact me or go to the GFA website to look at the brochure, and then contact the travel agency, Select Travel Service, at 800-752-6787.


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.  Eleven of us are confirmed for the tour, but we would like to have more.  Let me know if you want tour brochures or want me to send some directly to anyone else.






A Graves Family Reunion will be held in San Antonio, TX, Aug. 7-9 (Friday-Sunday).  The Southwest Chapter of the Graves Family Association, headed by Ron Graves, is organizing this.  It will be for all Graves and Greaves families, not any specific family.  It will be at the Holiday Inn Select, 77 NE Loop 410, San Antonio TX, about ½ mile from the airport.


The main meeting will be Saturday, but it is hoped that many will be there for Friday and Saturday nights also.  There will be a room from 5-10 PM on Friday night to meet and greet.  There will be presentations and discussions led by Ken Graves and others.  We will be talking about the various Graves/Greaves families (including yours), the latest DNA study results, our research programs to connect families, find earlier ancestry, and resolve problems, and answering any questions anyone has.


Plan to be there, and tell your relatives and anyone else you think might be interested about the reunion!  50-60 people are needed to break even.  But the main thing is that this will be lots of fun, and we can learn much more about our Graves family.


A block of rooms has been set aside for Friday and Saturday nights at the Holiday Inn Select at $89 per night plus tax.  To reserve a room, call them at 888-615-0518 and tell them it is for the Graves Family Reunion.  Their website is  You can obviously stay elsewhere if you prefer.  For all attendees, there will be a $30 per person registration fee.


For more information, contact Ron Graves at, with a copy to Dick Graves (, Eddie Graves (, and Ken Graves (






We are continuing to pay the full cost of Y-DNA testing for those in the U.K. and Ireland with any variation of the Graves/Greaves surname who meet our testing criteria.  The requirements are that those tested be male with an all-male line of descent from a Greaves/Graves ancestor, that they provide enough ancestral information to be helpful to the study, and that they not be too closely related to someone who has already been tested.


It is our goal to be able to connect all the families that are related, and DNA testing is the only tool that will let us know for sure which families share a common ancestor.  Please help us find people who are willing to be tested.






The pages for Ancestral Research and the specific research projects have been revised to make them easier to find and more complete.  In addition to the pages that were there before, a page has been added for the Quaker Graves families of Northern Ireland and Delaware.  More changes to this area will be made as time allows.


The posting of links to records on the Ancestral Research page has also started.  Two sample pages are now available, one for English parish records and another for English census records.  The procedure I have used to create these pages of records is to enter the data in Excel and then convert to an html web page.  If anyone is interested in taking charge of the process of gathering records and entering them into Excel, that would be a great help.  These record page may eventually be in the “Members Only” section of the website (which does not presently exist but will probably be created soon), and the format may also be improved.  Any suggestions will be welcomed.






For those of you descended from this Graves family, there is a possible huge breakthrough.  This includes the families of William Graves of Drogheda, Co., Louth, Ireland (gen. 35), Humphrey Isaac Greaves of NC (gen. 50), Thomas Graves of New Castle Co., Delaware, Quaker (gen. 85), and Thomas J. Graves of OH & DE (gen. 472).  I am proposing the possibility that the Quaker Graves Family of Northern Ireland and Delaware is descended from the MacGregor/Grierson family of Scotland.


In looking for the ancestry of someone descended from a Greeves family in England, I noticed that the earliest ancestor of that family in the English census records was from Ireland.  When I looked at the Greeves family in Ireland, I discovered that they were originally from Scotland, with the earliest known ancestor born there in 1490.  The family name in Scotland was originally Grierson (or perhaps MacGregor before that, as mentioned later in this article), but some of the family members changed the surname to Grier and Greer, and then some of those later changed the name to Greeves.


This name change reminded me of a similar occurrence about which I wrote a couple of articles.  See Graves Family Bulletins 8-9 (Oct. 29, 2006, “Name Change from MacGregor to Grierson to Grieve to Greaves”) and 9-4 (April 4, 2007, “Follow-up to Name Change Article in Oct. 2006 Bulletin”.  Those articles take the family back to the 1300’s, show that it started as MacGregor, and indicate that the change to Grieve was possibly caused at least partly when a Thomas Grierson and a Janet Grieve were married in the 1600’s and took the Grieve surname to inherit her estate.  I think it is likely that the family discussed in the 2006-2007 articles and the Greeves family of Scotland and Ireland (genealogy 712) are the same but, if so, I don’t know what the connection is.  Can anyone help?


I also noticed that the places in Ireland and some of the other surnames mentioned in the Grierson genealogy (gen. 712) were very similar to those associated with the Thomas Graves of Delaware family.  For instance, both families lived in and around Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, and Ballyhagan, Co. Armagh, both in Ulster near the southern edge of Lough Neagh.  Irish Quakers in Pennsylvania, by Albert Cooke Myers, page 365, states that “The will of Joseph Whitesett in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, Ireland, dated Jan. 7, 1732, mentions his relative Thomas Greaves, Jr., and suggests that the wife of Thomas Greaves may have been a Whitesett.”  Genealogy 712 shows relationships between the families of Greer and Whitsitt.  In Passengers and Ships Prior to 1684, Welcome Society: “It has been speculated that perhaps the widow, Jane Greave, who came to America on the ship Antilope in 1682 with her mother, Mary Milcon, may have been a sister-in-law of Thomas Greave.  She was from the Quaker meeting at Killmore Parish, Ballyhagan, Ireland.  She married 6 mo 8th 1685 Maurice Liston.”  In The History of Ballyhagan and Richhill Meetings, second edition published in 2005, among the list of those who emigrated, is Ann Millcurn (Malcum or Milcome) certificate dated 1st month 31, 1682 with her daughter, Jane Greer, of Loughgall.  Notice some of the spelling variations, including the use of Greer instead of Greave.


Both families belonged to the Society of Friends (Quakers).  Also, the Quaker Graves family of Northern Ireland just seemed to appear from nowhere, with no trace so far found of them in England, and their DNA haplogroup (I1) is more typical of Scotland than England.  I thought, could it be that the Graves family of gen. 85 is the same as the Greeves family of Ireland?


I found that there is a Y-DNA project at Family Tree DNA for the Greer. Grier, Grierson surname.  One group that they tested (their group 4) is a 21 of 25 match with our genealogy 85, not as close as I had hoped, but still a possibility.  Perhaps there will be other results from their study that will be even closer.






It seems quite possible that at least some of the many Greaves families now living in Barbados, Grenada, and other Caribbean islands are descended from the family from Scotland and Northern Ireland discussed in the preceding article.  This includes the Greaves families in genealogies 578 and 813.  At least some of the family of Scotland and Northern Ireland apparently settled in Barbados.  Since this family of Scotland may also be the ancestral family of the Quaker Graves family of Delaware, all three families may share a common ancestor.


We need male descendants of the Barbados families to take part in our DNA study.  Your help in finding and recruiting participants will be appreciated.






The Genealogical Proof Standard states that:

(a) We conduct a reasonably exhaustive search in reliable sources for all information that is or may be pertinent to the identity, relationship, event, or situation in question;

(b) We collect and include in our compilation a complete, accurate citation to the source or sources of each item of information we use;

(c) We analyze and correlate the collected information to assess its quality as evidence;

(d) We resolve any conflicts caused by items of evidence that contradict each other or are contrary to a proposed (hypothetical) solution to the question; and

(e) We arrive at a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.


SOURCE: The Board for Certification of Genealogists, The BCC Genealogical Standards Manual (Orem, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2000), 1-2.






Jeanette Daniels (on the ISOGG list) said: “the list might be interested in knowing how far back a British Isles pedigree can actually be traced using legitimate source documentation.  One of my genealogical research friends, John Kitzmiller, does research trips in the UK often.


According to John Kitzmiller, professional genealogist, who has conducted several research trips to Great Britain obtaining manorial records, he has been able to trace a family back approximately to the year 1000 AD with proper documentation.  This was done by tracing property that had the names of the heirs attached to it.  This is possible in England, Wales and Scotland if you know how to read the old handwriting (English and Latin) that was used to make the documents.  The particular line that he was able to trace back went from Massachusetts in 1623 and traced into the Minor Gentry of England before going back to France.


John has traced several people with no noble connections back to the 1300s through the 1700s.  This is realistic for people who lived in England, Wales and Scotland.


There are a number of records that date back before church records including property records that record six to nine generations of a family.  Theoretically, you can trace a British family back to approximately 600 AD.


Although I didn't mention Ireland, old land records exist there as well and larger cities have additional older records that help with actually tracing genealogy.


You must, however, know old English and Latin in order to do this.  Many of the Manorial records are not published and require researching which manor to contact, etc. and locating those records.


There is a surprisingly large quantity of records available for the medieval period, and the good part about the medieval material is that much of it has already been transcribed and published by record societies and other bodies so you don't necessarily have to be an expert at reading Latin and old handwriting.  If you want to get an idea of the huge range of records available then it is well worth exploring the rich range of resources on Chris Philip's website at


In addition to manorial records there are many other public records such as Poll Taxes, Lay Subsidy Rolls, Patent Rolls, Muster Rolls, Feet of Fines, Feudal Aids, etc. Inquisitions Post Mortem (IPMs) usually give the name of the deceased, the name and age of his heir, and details of all his estates. IPMs often go back to the 1300s.”


One way to educate yourself about research options and techniques is to use the educational resources of  Go to their website at






Rick Frederick, descended from genealogy 270, recently sent me a link to a website connected to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC, at (scroll down to the Graves Family link).  This is about the family of Ralph Henry Graves, descended from Capt. Thomas Graves (genealogy 169).


Ralph Henry Graves, born 1817 in Granville Co., NC, graduated from the Univ. of NC and taught there.  His daughter, Emma, married E. A. Alderman, who was president of UNC and later of the University of Virginia.  His son, Ralph Henry Graves, Jr., born 1851, was a professor at UNC and elsewhere.  Three of their children were buried in Old Chapel Hill Cem., Chapel Hill, NC.  Their son, Ralph Henry Graves III, was born 1878 in Chapel Hill.  He had a very successful career in journalism, and died in 1939 in Garden City, NY, the same town where I lived for most of my early life.





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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