Vol. 14, No. 6, June 30, 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

** Updates to the GFA Website

** Improving Delivery of This Bulletin

** Now Offering Autosomal DNA Testing

** New Ancestry Features from 23andMe

** Rapid Advances in DNA Testing and Lower Costs Offer Opportunity and Caution

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






It’s almost Independence Day in the U.S., usually just called the Fourth of July, and a time for family gatherings and fireworks.  We in the northern hemisphere seldom think that when we are sweltering in high heat and humidity, those of you in the southern hemisphere are enjoying winter weather.


The most important happening discussed in this issue of the bulletin is the changes that have been made to the website.  There are many more features that I want to add, but they happen slowly because of limits on my time and money.  I hope to be able to provide some additional capabilities later this year.







There has long been a search capability on the GFA website, now located at the top left of every page.  With it you are able to search for a person, place, or anything else on the website.  It is a Google search specific to our website, and operates exactly the way all Google searches do – with “wild card” capability, etc.  However, if you want to find a specific person (such as Thomas Graves), you will usually find many people of that name, and there is no way to know which is the one you want.


A new “people search” feature has now been added.  It is a complete index of all the genealogies (and only the genealogies – not any of the other pages on the site), and will allow you to find any person by name, by name and date, by spouse, etc.  It is at the top left side of every page, labeled “Genealogy Search.”  When you click on it and do a search, you will get a list of all the “hits” that meet the criteria of your search.  You can then click on the genealogy number link to go directly to the particular genealogy of interest.


There will eventually also be a Help feature for both of these searches to help you use them more effectively.  Please let me know any comments, questions, or suggestions you may have about any aspect of the search capability.



As a result of some questions and information from Terre Brandon Helffrich, I took a look at the Graves families of Davie Co. and Rowan Co., NC.  For genealogy 29 (John C. Graves and Nancy ‑‑‑‑‑‑ of Davie Co., NC), I was able to find more of their children, partly by looking at the 1840 and 1850 censuses.  It then became apparent that genealogy 29 is descended from genealogy 15 (Conrad Graves), and it appears that they are both part of genealogy 105 (John Graves/Johann Sebastian Graff).  I had not previously realized that the Graves families of Davie and Rowan counties, NC, were part of the German family that migrated from PA to Knox Co., TN.  There is still uncertainty and lack of complete and reliable information about the earliest generations, so genealogy 29/15 has not yet been merged into genealogy 105.  Help will be appreciated in reconciling some of the discrepancies in submitted genealogies and finding more documentation for the early generations.



New genealogy charts have been created for some of the families from Yorkshire and Lancashire, England.



Finding and testing descendants of most of the genealogies discussed in the preceding two paragraphs (as well as many other genealogies) would greatly help in connecting genealogies and finding earlier ancestry.  We need for descendants of families that have not yet tested to find male descendants with the Graves, Greaves, etc. surname and get them tested.  This needs to be done also for other families that yours may connect to.  See the Charts page for genealogies that I suspect may be related and those that need testing.






Because some emails are blocked by antispam software and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that do a less than perfect job, newsletters like this will never be received by all subscribers.  However, anyone who doesn’t receive it (or who wants to look at back issues) can always view it on the Graves Family Association website.


Another way to increase your chances of receiving the bulletin via email is to get a gmail address at Google, and set it up to automatically deliver all messages to your computer (or other device).






Autosomal DNA tests look for markers inherited from all ancestral lines, not just the direct male line (Y-DNA) or the direct female line (mtDNA).  There are now 3 companies offering autosomal DNA testing for genealogical purposes.  Family Tree DNA offers Family Finder, 23andMe offers Relative Finder, and has just started providing a similar test that will be part of a service called AncestryDNA.  It appears that this service has been announced somewhat prematurely, since it is only being offered to customers by invitation at this time. has the advantage of having a huge customer base and strong marketing.  They will undoubtedly have many autosomal DNA customers.  The main problem with purchasing DNA testing from them is the lack of support.  They have been selling Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) tests for quite a while, but once a customer receives the results there is very little help with what do with the results and what they mean.  There is also the expectation that they will try to integrate their DNA test results with their genealogy database, which may be a huge problem because of the many errors in the existing genealogies.


23andMe emphasizes the medical aspects of DNA testing.  They have a large database of testing results, but a high percentage of those tested are not interested in their family history.


Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) only tests for genealogical purposes, are more responsive to customer needs, and provide many projects for surnames and other groups to help those who have been tested learn more.  Neither 23andMe nor presently have surname (or other) groups that can provide personal support.  FTDNA continues to be the company we recommend testing with, although testing with 23andMe and as a second or third step might also be helpful.  The more groups you test with, the more matches you will find and the more information you will gather.






The “Your Genetic Genealogist” blog has a good article about some new ancestry-related features now in beta testing from the DNA testing company 23andMe.  The major changes discussed are an update to their Ancestry Painting to provide a more detailed map of your origins, the addition of a My Ancestry page to summarize each person’s ancestry on one page, a Relative Finder Explorer Map to show where your matches live now and known locations of ancestors, and the addition of a Family Tree feature.


We can expect to see similar and competing features from Family Tree DNA and in the future.  In fact, Family Tree DNA has continued to add new features over the past few months.  The addition of new features and capabilities will benefit us all.







A recent article (6 June 2012) in the magazine Nature, titled “Ancestry testing goes for pinpoint accuracy”, is subtitled “Companies use whole genomes to trace geographical origins.”  This article is interesting because it points out some of the exciting things that are happening in the use of DNA testing for genealogy.  On the other hand, the article’s statement that 23andMe and other companies are now routinely using whole genome testing to find ancestry is very misleading.  What is really happening is that all ancestral lines are now being traced with autosomal DNA testing, and parts of the entire genome are being tested, in contrast to the previous testing of only the direct male line (Y-DNA) and the direct female line (mtDNA).


Tim Janzen on the ISOGG list mentioned another misleading statement in this article, which stated that “the ‘uniparental markers’, which chart an unbroken chain back through either the maternal or paternal line, are rarely unique to a population.”  There is evidence from multiple sources that there are thousands of ‘uniparental markers’ (Y SNPs or variants and mtDNA SNPs) that are unique to specific populations.  We haven’t discovered them all yet, but as complete Y sequencing becomes commonplace and as we get many more complete mtDNA sequences these unique ‘uniparental markers’ will indeed allow us to link these markers to specific populations.  It is true that many older SNPs and markers such as R-M343 are not unique to small specific populations.


Bill Hurst (also on the ISOGG list) added: I don't think we have to wait very long for mtDNA to link to specific populations. Take a look at our Google map for K1c1c; all Finland. K2a8 is all Spanish, a line that has moved from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, up into Texas. For that one, an FMS test is not even required. It's easily identified from an HVR1 test. Every K with 16182C turns out to be in that subclade.


What these comments are all emphasizing is that we can expect markers to be discovered in the not-so-distant future that have been passed on to us from distant ancestors.  This will help us discover many of those ancestors that are now unknown, as well as the places where they lived – a very exciting prospect indeed!



In the May issue of this bulletin was an article about the decreasing cost of DNA testing.  Another recent article (June 2012) was in the magazine The Scientist, titled “Sons of Next Gen.”  It is subtitled “New innovations could bring tailored, fast, and cheap sequencing to the masses.”  It mainly discusses the exciting uses of new equipment and techniques in the health field.  However, its discussion of the differences between the equipment and concepts used by Illumina (presently used by all genetic genealogy companies for autosomal DNA testing) and the new approaches are especially interesting.  A previous article in this bulletin discussed the Ion Torrent equipment.  Other approaches discussed in this article are those of Pacific biosciences and the GridION of Nanopore Technologies.  There is obviously competition among companies to develop new approaches and better, cheaper equipment for DNA testing.  One example of an incentive is something called the Sequence Squeeze challenge, where teams compete to see who can compress a reference sequence into the smallest size in the least amount of time.  Even though the emphasis is on health, all this is also certain to benefit DNA testing for genealogy.





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



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