Vol. 14, No. 10, Nov. 6, 2012


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




Copyright © 2012 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** General Comments

** Action Needed by You to Further Our DNA Study

** More About for Autosomal DNA Matching

** What Is

** Progress With Autosomal DNA Charts

** Understanding Our Ancestry Mix

** How to Learn More About DNA and DNA Testing

** Viewing PDF Documents

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






I had hoped to send this issue of the bulletin by the end of October, but it obviously didn’t happen.  Most of this issue is about various aspects of DNA testing, especially involving autosomal DNA.  Other aspects of Graves/Greaves genealogy and the Graves Family Association activities will be covered in the future.


I will be attending the 8th Conference on Genetic Genealogy for Family Tree DNA Project Administrators this coming weekend in Houston, Texas, and will try to include the significant highlights of that in the next GF Bulletin.






Our Graves/Greaves DNA Study is the key to much of our successful search for our ancestry and the connecting of various parts of our families.  The most important actions needed from you are the following:

·          If you are descended from a genealogy that has not yet had any Y-DNA tests run, we need for you to get an appropriate person to test.  A person taking this test must be a male who is a direct descendant through an all-male line from a male Graves or Greaves ancestor.

·          If you have not yet taken an autosomal DNA test at 23andMe or Family Tree DNA, you should try to do so.

·          If you have already taken an autosomal DNA test at Family Tree DNA and are not already in the Graves DNA study, you should join that group at FTDNA.  To join, go to your personal page on FTDNA, move your cursor to the Projects drop-down menu at the top of the page and click on Join, and then click on Graves on the left side of the page.

·          If you have taken an autosomal test anywhere (or when you take one in the future), upload your raw data, your matches, and a GEDcom to, as mentioned in the next article.

·          Encourage everyone you come across with Graves or Greaves in their ancestry to share their ancestry with us and participate in the actions listed above.  The more people who are involved, the more successful we will be.




MORE ABOUT GEDMATCH.COM FOR AUTOSOMAL DNA MATCHING is a website started by Curtis Rogers and John Olson.  It is free, but contributions are gratefully accepted (and needed).  It offers a range of utilities that make it easier to get the most out of your autosomal DNA testing.  Some people feel that the greatest usefulness of GedMatch is for comparing FTDNA results to 23andMe results.


The Legal Genealogist had an article about GEDmatch in the issue of Aug. 12, 2012.  Judy Russell points out that to use the many capabilities of GEDmatch, you have to first download your raw autosomal DNA test results from your testing company and then upload them to GEDmatch.  You should also upload your match lists from FTDNA and/or 23andMe, and a GEDcom, to GEDmatch to get full benefit from the site.  Presently Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, and deCODEme make raw data available, but AncestryDNA does not.  (Ancestry has indicated that it may make raw data available sometime in 2013.)


On GEDmatch you can compare your autosomal and X-chromosome DNA test results with all other users who have made their results public, no matter which testing company they have used.  The results can be sorted by various criteria, including by the total amount of shared DNA or the estimated generations back to a common ancestor.  There are graphic displays that show how your DNA compares to that of others, and how DNA of others matches each other.  There are also a number of different options for displaying deep ancestry, showing the amount of your DNA from each deep ancestral source.


A phasing tool is also provided.  Phasing is a process to determine which of your DNA came from which of your parents.  There is the potential to use phasing to identify which DNA came from individual grandparents, great-grandparents, and beyond.  In addition, this technique has the potential to partially or completely reconstruct the genetic profile of any ancestor.  The input requirement is having test results from enough descendants.  See an article in the June 7, 2012 issue of The Genetic Genealogist for some additional information.


One helpful utility is called “People who match one person, but not the other …and people who match the same 2 people.”  It can be used to see others that you have in common with a match, and it quickly produces a chart showing information as to how each of you compares to each common match.


Another very helpful tool provided by GEDmatch is triangulation.  Both 23andMe and Family Tree DNA provide a downloadable file that contains the names and results for all your matches.  By loading that information into the GEDmatch database, you can get a list of all people in the database who have the same matches as you, along with email addresses for the people who submitted those files.  This will provide you with key information to help you “triangulate” on your common ancestor.


Instructions on how to download files from Family Tree DNA and 23andMe, and how to upload them to GEDmatch are on the GEDmatch website.




WHAT IS ANCESTOR-PROJECTS.COM? is a sister site to  It is a place where people with common ancestry can share their information with each other.  It also provides tools to provide in-depth comparisons based on GEDCOM genealogy files and DNA test results.







There are two main approaches that have been used recently to add to and improve the autosomal DNA charts on the GFA website.  The first has been to look at the Graves/Greaves ancestry of everyone who has taken an autosomal DNA test, add that lineage to the appropriate DNA chart, and try to find a segment of DNA on which that person matches another ancestor with a common Graves/Greaves ancestry.  Then, an attempt is being made to get each of those matches with Graves ancestry who are not already in the Graves DNA group to join, or at least to share their match information, so that we can find all of their Graves/Greaves matches.


The second approach is to try to get all Graves/Greaves descendants who have taken an autosomal DNA test with any company to upload their DNA results and gedcoms to Gedmatch, as discussed in the preceding article.  It is very important to gather as much data as possible so that we can progress as quickly as possible.  I have also tried to search on Gedmatch for everyone who matches a Graves/Greaves family member on a DNA segment that is believed to be common to all descendants of the family from which that person is descended.  This has not been especially successful so far, and it is not known whether the problem is because the matches found haven’t traced their ancestry back far enough or whether the DNA segment isn’t really as definitive as believed.  More people with known Graves/Greaves ancestry on Gedmatch should help answer that question.



One thing that is happening as more results are added to the charts is that some families descended from a common ancestor are being combined.  For instance, the charts for genealogies 152, 220, and 28 have now been combined because a DNA segment (chromosome 18, 6.0-8.5 million) has been found that seems to connect all three.  The charts for genealogy 65 and 168 have been combined because a common DNA segment (chromosome 4, 115-126 million) seems to connect them.  A group of genealogies for Surry Co. and Randolph Co., NC (gen. 11, 161, 262, 278, and 888) have been combined because they are believed to be closely related, but many more DNA test results are needed to substantiate the relationships.  I am hoping that not only will we be getting many more autosomal DNA test results in the near future, but also that future advances will allow us to be more specific about exactly how various family groups are connected.


The Autosomal DNA page has had additions to the charts already there, and new charts have been added.  One of the new charts is for genealogy 535 for James David Graves and Mary Ann Durham of NC & TN.  On the chart I have written that James David Graves was probably descended from genealogy 13 (William Graves and Elizabeth ------ of VA, NC, TN, and KY), genealogy 169 (Capt. Thomas Graves of VA), or genealogy 220 (Francis Graves of VA).


One or more male descendants of genealogy 535 needs to take a Y-DNA test to determine which of these families James David Graves is descended from.  In addition, getting more autosomal DNA test results and comparing those results to the ones for the other genealogies will provide additional information and support for any conclusions.






There is occasionally misunderstanding about the reported percentages of our ancient ancestry.  We may get a report of Y-DNA or mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) being Asian or African or some other origin, which may sometimes be unexpected.  Then, if we get a report that shows that our ancestry is 100% Northern European, we may think that these reports are contradictory and that something is seriously wrong.


One of our members received seemingly contradictory reports of her deep ancestry from her mtDNA and Family Finder tests.  Her mtDNA results were for African ancestry, but her Family Finder results showed her as 100% Northern European.  My response to her was that these results are not at all inconsistent or conflicting.  All the percentages reported by any DNA testing are within certain ranges. Therefore 100% European could mean 99-100%, 99.5-100.0%, etc. -- whatever their margin or error is. In her case, she could be 99.99% European and 0.01% African. Her direct female line could have had an African female in it 400 years ago or 2000 years ago, and that could have been the only ancestral African for her within that entire time period.


However, in her case I suggested that the most likely scenario was that she had a female African ancestor in the 1600's or early 1700's, which would put her 8 or 9 generations back. At 8 generations, her average contribution to the genetic mixture would be 1/256 = 0.39%. At 9 generations, her contribution would be 1/512 = 0.2%. However, that far back, it is very possible that Family Finder would not be able to detect any genetic material inherited from her, so 100% European is the result I would expect from Family Finder. FTDNA only says that FF will give matches back about 5 or 6 generations, although I have found matches back several generations farther than that on occasion. But which segments of chromosomes are passed on to the next generation is random, so sometimes segments are inherited more than expected and sometimes much less.


A similar situation occurs when someone believes they have Native American ancestry, but it doesn’t show up in the results from an autosomal DNA test, or in a Y-DNA or mtDNA test.  The explanation in this case is that not enough autosomal DNA from a Native American ancestor has been passed on to the person being tested.  For people searching for a specific ancestry such as Native American, there is hope, however.  Special DNA markers are gradually being identified that may provide additional confirmation of these ancestries.






Earlier this year Grace Lee Smith Green asked on our Facebook page how to learn more about DNA testing and test results, how it works, what the numbers mean, etc.  I have published a couple of articles about this in previous issues of this bulletin.  A response from Shannon Christmas suggested that she visit 23andMe’s YouTube channel for instructional videos.


In an interesting coincidence, I just received my October-December issue of the NGS Magazine today from the National Genealogical Society, and in it was an announcement of a new course by Dr. Thomas H. Shawker.  It is called “Genetic Genealogy, The Basics.”  It is a six-lesson self-paced course, and is available on a PC- or Mac-compatible CD in a PDF format.  For further information or to purchase the course, visit the NGS website and click on the Educational Courses tab.






Although this may seem like a simple thing to many of you, nothing is simple or obvious if you don’t know how.  As soon as you understand it and have experience with it, it is sometimes difficult to understand why other people don’t know how to do it.


There are many PDF documents on the Graves Family Association website.  All of the charts with links on the Charts page (the Numerical Index page) and all of the charts with links on the Autosomal DNA page are PDF documents.  PDF stands for portable document format, and is the native file format for Adobe Acrobat.  It is a file format that is independent of the original application software, hardware, and operating system used to create those documents.  A PDF file can contain any combination of text, graphics, and images in a device-independent and resolution-independent format.


If your computer is not able to read PDF documents, you can download a free Adobe Reader.  It will automatically determine the correct version for your computer.  To be able to edit or otherwise manipulate the contents of a PDF document, you will need either Adobe Acrobat Pro or some other similar software, but most people will have no need to edit a PDF document.


Once you can open PDF documents on your computer, the next step is to be able to move around in them and change the scale to enlarge or reduce the size of the print and the charts.  This depends mainly on the default software that is used by you to do the viewing.  If you are using Internet Explorer or Firefox, there is a box at the top of the screen that shows the degree of magnification and plus and minus buttons next to it to zoom in or out.  There are also the usual controls on the right side and the bottom of the frame to move within the image.  If you are using Google Chrome or Safari on the Mac, the magnification controls will be seen when you move the cursor in the appropriate location at the bottom of the screen.  With all these viewers, you can also go to the View dropdown menu at the top of the screen and click on Zoom, or use the keyboard shortcuts indicated in the View menu.


Another thing you may not know about PDF documents (as well as any document you view in a browser) is that you can search for any sequence of characters in the document by using ctrl-F (or cmnd-F with a Mac), or by clicking on the appropriate drop-down menu (usually Edit) at the top of the page to use Find.





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



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