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. 12, No. 1, April 26, 2010




Copyright © 2010 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** General Comments

** National Genealogical Society Conference in Salt Lake City

** Autosomal DNA Testing from 23andMe and Family Tree DNA

** Television Shows About Tracing Your Roots

** New Book About Caswell Co., North Carolina

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






It has been a long time since the last issue of the Graves Family Bulletin -- Sept. 30, 2009 to be exact.  I appreciate the concern of those of you who have written to wonder whether you missed issues or whether I had health problems.  I have been perfectly healthy, but too busy.


The most important development since the last GF Bulletin is the introduction of autosomal DNA testing for all lines of ancestry.  In addition, television programs, magazines and newspaper stories have publicized family history and DNA testing, sparking a surge in interest among the general public.  Some of the new DNA testing opportunities are discussed in this issue.






The National Genealogical Society will be having their 2010 Family History Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, from Wednesday, April 28 through Saturday, May 1.  I will be at the conference all week, hoping to learn something new and maybe even meeting some Graves/Greaves family members.  If you live in the area or will be at the conference, don’t hesitate to contact me.  I will be staying at the Crystal Inn.






Although DNA testing has been of tremendous help to so many of us in tracing and proving our ancestry, it could previously be used only for all-male ancestry (with testing of the Y-chromosome) and for all-female ancestry (via mitochondrial testing).  This left 22 pairs of chromosomes untested.  These autosomal chromosomes were previously considered much too difficult to use for tracing ancestry because in each generation the DNA from both the mother and the father mingled to provide and unpredictable result.  However, it has now been found that segments of an ancestor’s DNA tends to be passed on through 5 or 6 generations, and sometimes farther than that.  By identifying these segments and comparing a person’s test results against those of others, it is now possible to trace ancestry through all our lines.


The first company to try to develop this approach was Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation.   The Graves Family Association made an effort to be involved with them in a free research study.  At our U.S. National Reunion in June 2007, we gathered DNA from many of the attendees, along with ancestry information.  Unfortunately those samples were never tested, partly because of changes in the Sorenson organization (including the death of the founder).


Probably the next company to pursue this testing approach was DeCode Genetics in Iceland.  But the main purpose of their efforts was and continues to be finding the relationships between genes and human health.  More recently there have been two new products announced for tracing ancestry.



23andMe is a DNA testing company that had a new approach to testing for both health and ancestry purposes.  Although their original purpose was DNA testing for health purposes, they also provide autosomal DNA testing for finding ancestry.  They have pioneered some very helpful new tools.  Relative Finder compares your DNA with that of others, and predicts who you are related to and how closely.  For those people you match who agree to share DNA information with you, the Advanced Family Inheritance feature shows the size of the segments shared and on which chromosomes they are.  If both you and the other person you match has done enough tracing or ancestors, you can figure out how you are related, and which ancestor (or pair of ancestors) contributed the DNA you share.  Then, if you find others with whom you share that same DNA segment, it is likely that they are also descended from that same couple.  Their website is at


Family Tree DNA

This company is the one that has been our main DNA testing source.  Their support and the tools they provide have been outstanding.  They are now in the process of introducing a service that is similar to that provided by 23andMe.  The heart of it is called Family Finder.  To learn more about autosomal testing, go to and see the video at  Also, see the FTDNA FAQs at


In a couple more days, Family Finder will be offered to everyone.  However, for the next couple of days, FTDNA is offering members of existing projects (including the Graves/Greaves project) first priority as follows.  If you have not previously ordered a DNA test as part of the Graves project, you should be able to go to the GFA website and order this test from the link on our page, or go to the FTDNA website at, search for the Graves DNA project, and then order this test.


“The Family Finder test is priced at $289, and can be ordered from the menu on the left side of the personal page.  While the Y-DNA matches men with a specific paternal line, and the mtDNA finds potential relatives only along the maternal line, Family Finder can look for close relationships along all ancestral lines. You may now match to male and female cousins from any of your family lines within about five generations. The science uses linked blocks of DNA across the 22 autosomal chromosomes and matches them between two people. Our bioinformatics team has worked extensively to develop the calculations to determine the closeness of the relationship.


The possibilities to find matches abound:


Aunts & Uncles, Parents and Grandparents


Half siblings and 1st cousins


2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins


Possibly 5th cousins. Although that will require some digging!

When you take the Family Finder test, your results are compared against our Family Finder database. You will be able to:


sort your matches by degree of relationship



View their names and e-mail address for immediate communication



Download your raw data”











There have been at least two new television shows in the U.S. on this subject in the past several months.  The first was “Faces of America”, on PBS and on LIFE, hosted by Henry Louis Gates.  It ran from early February to the beginning of March.  It will undoubtedly be rerun in the future.  The 4-part series is also described online at, and a DVD of the show can be purchased there.


The second show is “Who Do You Think You Are?” on NBC.  For many people in other parts of the world, this show is nothing new.  A British show of the same name has been running on the BBC since 2004.  According to their website, Wall to Wall productions, a part of Shed Media Group created "Who Do You Think You Are?" to help the public quench their thirst for information concerning the rich and famous. Not only are celebrities’ personal lives open to view, but now we can uncover the courageous and possibly soiled acts committed throughout their family’s history!


"Who Do You Think You Are?" not only continues to run in England, but it is also broadcast in Australia, Canada, Ireland and Sweden.  I didn’t see any way past episodes of this can be viewed online outside the U.K.


In its first season on NBC in the U.S., there have been 6 episodes, with the 7th about Spike Lee to be broadcast this coming Friday evening, April 30.  The previous ones were about Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmitt Smith, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Broderick, Brooke Shields, and Susan Sarandon.  Most of the episodes can still be viewed online on Hulu at  The show has been successful enough that it has been renewed for next season.






Rick Frederick, Archivist and Webmaster of the Caswell County Historical Association (CCHA), and a descendant of genealogy 270, recently sent information about a new book, Images of America - Caswell County, which has been released by CCHA. It contains many photographs never seen by the public, with captions by experts in the history of Caswell County. Genealogy 270 has numerous entries.  The African-American families of Caswell Co. (gen. 22, 218, 455, and 658) are not included because no photos were submitted.


The introduction, written by Caswell's own Dr. Houston G. Jones, Ph.D., is more than would be expected; it is an essay on the history of the region that became Caswell County.


The book is a must for those interested in Caswell's history and the genealogy of its people.


Containing 128 pages and over 220 images, the book is divided into the following chapters:


1. Caswell's People

2. Churches and Schools

3. Business and Farming

4. Caswell's Buildings

5. Scenes around the County

6. Entertainment, Events, and Sports


Also included are an extensive bibliography, index, and information on the CCHA and its other publications.


The new book may be purchased online at:


It also is on sale at the Richmond-Miles History Museum in Yanceyville, North Carolina, and by mail. Instructions for ordering by mail will be found at:


The price is $21.99 (excluding shipping and sales tax where applicable), and proceeds will be used by the CCHA to explore and preserve the history of Caswell County. The CCHA is a non-profit organization.





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



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