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. 9, Sept. 30, 2009




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


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** General Comments

** Communicating with Ken Graves

** Mitochondrial DNA (for Maternal Ancestry)

** New Developments in the Near Future

** Promoting and Publicizing the Graves Family Association

** Interesting Articles and Subjects Worth Revisiting in Old GF Bulletins

** Another Book About the Graves Family of the Donner Party

** Occupations of Our Ancestors and Their Associates

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






As usual, some things are happening much too slowly.  I am aware that I have not been able to keep the DNA test results summary and analysis up-to-date, and that will be taken care of soon.  Also, the web site revision is proceeding, but slowly. Things are always more difficult and time-consuming than I would prefer.


In this issue are a couple of articles about some of the things we can do to publicize the Graves Family Association and attract new members.  I will always appreciate your comments and suggestions on this subject.






Since I have more than one email address that I use, I was not aware until a couple of days ago that no messages sent to my main email address ( were getting through.  The problem seems to be fixed now, but any messages sent from Sept. 17 through today, Sept. 30, may have been lost, so they should be resent.


As I have mentioned before, I do not have time to answer all correspondence, even when my email is working correctly.  I am trying to find a way to remedy that situation, but have not yet found a solution.  You can always call me on the phone, or use the messaging option on the Contact page of the GFA website.






Although we have been mainly interested in Y-DNA testing because that is how we have been best able to investigate our Graves/Greaves surname ancestry, many of you have taken a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test or may do so in the future.  One way to learn more about what your mtDNA test results mean and find connections with others through that line is to join a Mitochondrial Haplogroup Project.  To help with that, the following commentary was written by Colin Ferguson, posted by him on the ISOGG mailing list, and presented here with his permission.


A surname project is not a suitable place to explore your maternal origins since the surname with mtDNA generally changes every generation. A better choice is a Haplogroup Project since everyone in such a project shares a common ancestor. Thus once your mtDNA results are in I suggest you join a mtDNA Haplogroup Project that corresponds to your mtDNA Haplogroup. The principal advantage to joining an mtDNA
Haplogroup Project is that your results are compared to everyone in that project whereas if you are in a surname project your results are compared to those same people only if they set their preferences to "I want my matches to be set against the entire database."


To find mtDNA projects, go to your personal page at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), and click on Join Projects on the left hand side.  Scroll down until you see mtDNA haplogroups.  A long list of projects that you are eligible to join will come up.  Click on U (or whatever your haplogroup is). There may be a number of projects for your haplogroup, so be sure to join the appropriate one.  For reference sake, here is a list of all the mtDNA Haplogroup Projects:


It was also suggested on that same list by Roberta Estes that people be encouraged to browse the various
geographic projects and find one (or more than one) that might be suitable for them too.  She mentioned that her Cumberland Gap project is extremely popular with folks whose families were in that area and they have had several genealogy success stories with that. There are also country projects, region projects, and more.






Some of the things that I am considering implementing on the GFA website are contests and map displays, as mentioned below.  Let me know if you have any thoughts about these, and any suggestions about how to do them successfully.



§   to create best T-shirt design

§   to create best bumper sticker and car window decal

§   best family (or GFA) song (recordings will be put on the GFA website)

§   best family (or GFA) video


Map display of locations of families and family members.  Ability to click on a family and see email addresses and locations, or click on a location and see families or people who are there.






In the previous issue of the Bulletin we discussed social networking websites and their possible use to promote the GFA and bring together Graves and Greaves descendants.  This article is about the possible use of video to publicize the GFA.  One of the most effective ways of generating interest among people is the use of what is called viral video (named for spreading like a virus).  According to Wikipedia, A viral video is a video clip that gains widespread popularity through the process of Internet sharing, typically through email or instant messaging, blogs and other media sharing websites. Viral videos are often humorous in nature and include televised comedy sketches, amateur video clips, and web-only productions. Some "eyewitness" events have also been caught on video and have "gone viral".


With the proliferation of camera phones, many videos are being shot by amateurs on these devices. The availability of cheap video editing and publishing tools allows video shot on mobile phones to be edited and distributed virally both on the web by email or website, and between phones by Bluetooth or MMS. These consumer-shot videos are typically non-commercial videos intended for viewing by friends or family.


There may be potential publicity opportunities for the GFA with both viral videos and some of the more traditional websites.  I will welcome any ideas that anyone has.


Create and Post Videos

Videos could be posted on the following websites:

·          GFA website

·          YouTube

·          Roots Television at


A Graves family video was recently created by Roger Graves of Michigan and posted on YouTube at


Roots Television

Their website states:

“We’ve been perplexed for a long time. These days, there’s a horse channel, a wine channel, a sailing channel, a poker channel, a guitar channel, and even a shipwreck channel. So why, we wondered, isn’t there a channel servicing the millions of people interested in genealogy and family history? After all, there are many that claim that tracing roots is the second most popular hobby out there.


Well, now there’s a channel for us.  Roots Television™ is by and for avid genealogists and family history lovers of all stripes.  Whether you’re an archives hound, a scrapbooker, a cousin collector, a roots-travel enthusiast, a Civil War re-enactor, a DNA fan, a reunion instigator, a sepia-toned photos zealot, an Internet-junkie, a history buff, an old country traditions follower, a cemetery devotee, a story-teller, a multicultural food aficionado, a flea market and antiques fanatic, a family documentarian, a nostalgia nut, or a mystery-solver, Roots Television™ has something for you -- and that “something” is quality programming.”


Roots Television offers free genealogy and family history videos. Topics include Conferences, How-to, DNA, African Roots, British research, Irish family history, Hispanic roots, Libraries, Archives, Reunions, Photo Restoration and more


To submit videos to Roots Television: If you’re passionate about any aspect of genealogy, heritage or history -- from cemeteries to the Civil War to DNA -- we want to hear from you! Now you can submit your own video to RootsTube.  Just follow the simple instructions on their site or upload a sample to Google Video or YouTube and email us with the link.






I sometimes find it interesting and helpful to reread old articles in the Graves Family Bulletin.  Some that you might find of interest are listed below, with the title, volume and issue number, and the date of the bulletin.


The Wayback Machine, 10-3, Feb. 25, 2008


Identifying People In Family Pictures, 10-3, Feb. 25, 2008


Keeping the Same Email Address Forever, 10-10, Sept. 4, 2008


Articles about the frequency & location of Surnames:

Frequency of Graves, Greaves and Variant Surnames in the U.S. and the U.K., 7-5, May 30, 2005

New Website Maps Surnames Worldwide, 11-2, March 29, 2009


Using Google for Genealogy, 10-11, Nov. 26, 2008


Articles about Researching and Identifying Capt. Thomas Graves of VA and His Descendants:

The Puzzle of the Ancestry and Descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves of VA, 7-11, Dec. 15, 2005

Francis Graves of Gloucester Co. & Essex Co., VA, and the Need for DNA Participants, 7-12, Dec. 23, 2005

More on Francis Graves of Gloucester Co. & Essex Co., VA, and His Descendants, 7-13, Dec. 29, 2005

Plans for Finding Ancestry of Capt. Thomas Graves of VA in England, 8-7, June 1, 2006

Capt. Thomas Graves of VA, and Other Graves Families of VA, 8-8, Aug. 24, 2006

Capt. Thomas Graves of VA: Who Was He and Who Were His Descendants, 9-5, May 31, 2007

Follow-up to Discussion of Descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves of VA, 6-9, June 9, 2007

Capt. Thomas Graves of Virginia, 10-1, Jan. 2, 2008

Changes to the Genealogy for Capt. Thomas Graves of VA, 10-4, March 31, 2008

Questions and Answers About Capt. Thomas Graves of VA, 10-11, Nov. 26, 2008

More on the Family of Capt. Thomas Graves of VA, 11-2, March 29, 2009






The Donner party is the group of pioneers traveling by wagon train to California who became stranded in the mountains.  The Graves members of this group were the family of Franklin Ward Graves, descended from immigrant Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT (genealogy 168).  In the spring of 1846, Franklin Ward Graves sold his land to move to California.  He died of starvation and exposure before dawn on Christmas day, 1846, in the Sierra Nevada mountains someplace west of what is now called Donner Pass, as part of the ill-fated Donner Party.  Peggy Newsome, a descendant of genealogy 168, recently told me about a new book, The Indifferent Stars Above, by Daniel James Brown, that is about Franklin’s daughter, Sarah Graves, and the Donner party.






Learning about our ancestors and our extended family is usually much more interesting for most of us if we understand what their times and their lives were like.  Just recording names, dates and places doesn’t tell us much about the people (and can be rather boring).  One aspect of their lives was their occupations, some of which were unusual to us, and some of which had names we might not recognize today.


Researching ancestral jobs and occupations can teach you a great deal about the people who make up your family tree, and what life was like for them. An individual's occupation may give insight into their social status or to their place of origin. Occupations can also be used to distinguish between two individuals of the same name. Certain skilled occupations or trades may have been passed down from father to son, providing indirect evidence of a family relationship. It's even possible that your surname derives from the occupation of a distant ancestor.


The occupation of an individual can often be found in census records, city directories, obituaries, and elsewhere.


If you find an occupational term that you aren’t familiar with, a search of the internet will usually provide a definition.  One list of old occupations is called “Glossary of Old Occupations & Trades” and is found at  Another source is "A Dictionary of Occupational Terms", produced by The Open University, based on the 1921 U.K. census, and published by the Great Britain Ministry of Labour in 1927.  This defines 29,106 terms covering 16,837 different occupations of people who worked in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.  The CD-ROM edition is produced by the OSFACH Research Group of the Open University, ref. CDR0088.





This bulletin is written and edited by Kenneth V. Graves,



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