Vol. 15, No. 12, Oct. 29, 2013


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 © 2013 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** General Comments

** Clarification and Additions to the Capt. Thomas Graves Article in the Previous Issue

** Comparison of Autosomal DNA Tests

** Why Cousins May Not Match With Autosomal DNA

** Why Predicted Cousin Relationships May Be Wrong

** Determining Ethnicity Percentages

** Project Administrator Settings on Family Tree DNA

** Origins of Americans and Population Differences Within the U.S. and Canada

** Using FamilySearch Research Wiki To Learn How To Research

** Free New England Historic Genealogical Society Webinar Series

** Native American Ancestry and Webinar on U.S. Death Records

** Ancestry of Genealogies 214 and 506

** New Discoveries From Our DNA Study

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






New developments in genetic genealogy seem to be happening so quickly these days that it is difficult to keep up.  And new data for conventional genealogy research keeps being added at FamilySearch, Ancestry, and other websites.  Now, if these developments only translated into rapid advances in our discovery of our ancestors and connections between Graves/Greaves families, we would all be happier.  However, we are continuing to make gradual progress, as some of the articles in this issue of the bulletin discuss.






In the last issue of this bulletin was an article entitled “Descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves of Virginia.”  In that article I said:

(1)  Of the 3 sons attributed to Capt. Thomas Graves, only John (through his grandson Ralph) appears to be his son.

(2)  Thomas may have been a son of Katherine, but was not a son of Capt. Thomas Graves.

(3)  Francis was definitely not a son of Capt. Thomas Graves, but was definitely descended from the Greaves family of genealogy 228.

(4)  “Regarding descendants of the daughters of Capt. Thomas Graves, there is no known evidence to indicate that they were not his daughters.”  (We need to pursue DNA evidence to substantiate the ancestry of the daughters via autosomal DNA and, where possible, via mitochondrial DNA testing.)


On our GFA Facebook page, Shannon Christmas asked: I, too, found the discussion on gen. 169 intriguing. Especially interesting: "The Jamestowne Society is presently only accepting proven descendants of son John (through his grandson Ralph) as descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves." So, The Jamestowne Society will not accept proven descendants of Captain Thomas Graves' daughters?

(My comment: See my bullet point #4 above.)


Pam Roland Miller said: A lot of people just had the genealogical rug pulled out from under their feet. They know who their forefathers aren't, but not who they are - and what do you do when that happens after hundreds of years of thinking you knew who your ancestors were? What a bad situation.

(My comment: I first published notice of this situation in the March 22, 2002 issue of this GF Bulletin.  I and others were reluctant to draw the increasingly obvious conclusions from the DNA results because of the impact on those descended from the lines affected.  However, in the Dec. 15, 2005 issue of this bulletin (backed up by data and statements on the GFA website) I published an article stating: “We have shown by DNA testing that the descendants attributed to Capt. Thomas Graves of VA are almost certainly descended from 4 separate immigrants…”  After that date, genealogy 270 was created for some of those that had previously been thought to descend from Capt. Thomas Graves’ son John, and genealogy 220 was created for Francis Graves, previously thought to be a son of Capt. Thomas Graves.  It seems quite possible that Francis was closely related to Rear Adm. Thomas Graves (gen. 28) or his family.  One final comment is that some of the descendant lines attributed (often correctly) to Capt. Thomas Graves were documented before the 1900s, but most of the published studies did not occur until the first half of the 20th century, with the manuscripts of John Card Graves (undocumented and containing many errors for this family) and the various articles by Mrs. P. W. Hiden in the William & Mary Quarterly and Tyler’s Quarterly.  The addition of Francis Graves as a son of Capt. Thomas Graves was only done in 1935 and 1936 as a result of the research and publication of articles by Mr. William Montgomery Sweeny and) Mrs. Hiden.)


Shannon said: That is one way to receive such news. Another: one can now jettison the erroneous data collected over the years, renew the search for truth, and begin repairing the family narrative. That said, what happens to those individuals accepted into lineage societies on the basis of erroneous data? Do such societies rescind membership?


I responded:

Shannon, I have had conversations with Lyndon Hart, Registrar of the Jamestowne Society, and he confirmed the statement about "sons" of Capt. Thomas Graves. My comments in the article in the GF Bulletin were intended to be about the descendants of these "sons". I have not discussed descendants of the daughters with him, so I don't know for sure. As far as I know, the Jamestown Society is still accepting descendants of the daughters as descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves. It would be helpful if someone could confirm for us whether that is correct. However, I did intend to emphasize in the article that we should try to confirm with DNA that the daughters are indeed his daughters (this will be difficult but not impossible), especially since I believe that would tell us more about Capt. Thomas Graves.


When I visited with Fred Dorman (compiler and editor of Adventurers of Purse and Person for the Order of First Families of Virginia) and discussed the issue of our DNA study disproving some of the important, long-held beliefs about the descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves, he surprised me by saying that he was not at all surprised by the results.


Regarding Shannon's question, whenever I have asked the Jamestowne Society about what they would do if the line of an existing member were disproven, the answer has always been that all descendants of the disproven line would stay as members, but no new members would be accepted on that line.  I suspect that is the answer that most such societies would give.


I don't know for sure whether the Jamestowne Society accepts DNA results as part of their proof, but it is very obvious that it is being taken into account in a major way. As I said in my recent article and have said before, DNA science is rapidly improving its capability and decreasing its cost, doing a DNA study on the not-uncommon surname of Graves (and related names) is a huge and complex job for which no one person has enough time, and help is very much needed for us to learn as much as we can in a reasonable amount of time. It's an exciting and rapidly changing time.






I am asked occasionally about the differences between the various autosomal DNA tests, which one is best, and whether it is helpful to take more than one.  This question is especially pertinent when trying to decide whether special offers such as the ones from the various testing companies are good deals.


The tests available are from 23andMe, Family Tree DNA,, and the National Geographic Society.



Many people took the Genographic test from National Geographic because that’s the first one they were aware of, or they took the Ancestry test because Ancestry advertized a lot or they were already an Ancestry customer, or they took the FTDNA test because they had done other DNA testing with them.  A comprehensive autosomal DNA testing chart can be seen on the ISOGG website by clicking here.  Some of the important features of each company are:

23andMe: Best biogeographical ancestry analysis, most people in database (but many of those for  health reasons only)

FTDNA’s Family Finder: Available worldwide, low shipping charges, surname and other support groups, many other DNA testing options, can upload test data from other companies, best chromosome browser, best user response’s AncestryDNA: Largest collection of user-submitted genealogies, no ability to see matching DNA segments, no storage of samples for future testing

National Geographic Geno 2.0: Available worldwide, provided by the nonprofit National Geographic Society



Should you take other tests if you have already taken the Genographic test or another autosomal test?  This depends on what your objectives are and whether you can afford to spend the money.  If you can afford it, I think it’s always a good idea to test at more than one company.  You will get many more matches, which will help you find new ancestors and cousins, and you will gain more insight into your ancestry with the different tools that each company has.



No matter how many autosomal tests you take, you should always download the test data and upload it to GEDmatch.  The analytical tools there are not available anywhere else.







Roberta Estes recently published an interesting article on her DNAeXplained blog, called “Why Don’t I Match My Cousin?”  Since this question arises often in the analysis and understanding of autosomal DNA test results, it is important to understand it.  The most important facts to understand are that we inherit half our DNA from each parent, but there is no way to predict what ancestral DNA will be in those halves.  On average, we inherit a quarter of our DNA from each grandparent and an eighth from each great-grandparent, but it is possible (although unlikely) that we could inherit not enough DNA from one of our grandparents or great-grandparents to show as a match, and more than expected from another.  Even if we inherit the average amount of DNA from grandparents, which genes we inherit is random.


Roberta gives the probability of matching various cousins, and explains that even if we don’t match first or second cousins, getting other family members to test will show matches.  In addition to having other family members test, downloading non-matching DNA data to GEDmatch and using the analytical tools there will often show that there really is a match.  I strongly recommend putting all autosomal DNA test results on GEDmatch.



Angie Bush, on her Genes and Trees blog, recently wrote an article entitled Genetic Genealogy Education.  She mentioned that each Tuesday and Thursday presents short 30-minute webinar/chat sessions on various subjects, including DNA.  She also mentioned the value of the email lists of ISOGG (the International Society of Genetic Genealogy).


Regarding matching of cousins on a particular line, she points out that a person may not have any matches because no one from that line has tested yet.  It is also possible that there is an error in the ancestral line, and someone you thought was your cousin really isn’t.  She also states that a person “certainly did inherit DNA from all their ancestors in the first 5 (probably 6) generations, including a grandparent”, and implies that this would definitely show as a match.  However, that isn’t necessarily so.  Not only do we have the issue of variable percentages of DNA inherited from grandparents and earlier ancestors, but there is also the issue of the lengths of the segments of DNA inherited.  Sometimes a very long segment of DNA will be passed on from an ancestor much farther back than 6 generations, but it is also possible that all the segments from a recent ancestor will be shorter than the minimum needed to qualify as a match.  As has been mentioned previously, however, this situation can be detected by uploading the DNA test results for the people of interest to






If I seem to be referring you to blog posts by Roberta Estes frequently these days, it is because she often writes about subjects of timely interest in a very helpful way.  Her latest post explains why the cousin relationships predicted by testing companies are often wrong.  She says this happens because genetic predictions must use math models and averages, but our actual DNA doesn’t follow those rules, and then she explains what this means.


The article also explains why relationships can often be found way beyond the 5th or 6th generation that is often cited.  She cites an article by Dr. Steve Mount that provides the interesting insights that:


The more children and the more descendants a particular line of your ancestors had, the more likely you are to receive genetic material from the ancestors of that line, and some of that genetic material is apt to be passed on in relatively large segments.  That is exactly what I have observed with some ancestral lines, whereas others can’t be traced easily at all.






Roberta Estes, in a recent post on her DNAeXplained blog explains how the DNA testing companies determine the ethnicity percentages of those who order autosomal DNA tests, and what those percentages mean.  The article provides an excellent, comprehensive, and clear summary of the subject.






Family Tree DNA is the only DNA testing company that provides for and encourages projects for surnames and other categories of testers.  I was recently asked what degree of access should be given to project administrators.  The information below is from the help on the FTDNA website.  Since the purpose of belonging to a group for those tested is to be able to compare results and receive help, obviously some degree of access and privilege is needed for administrators.  My recommendation is to provide limited access unless you don’t intend to be involved with managing your own results, in which case full access may be appropriate.  “Read only” access is never recommended.


For each project to which you belong, you may choose to allow the administrators of that project to have access and change your settings and personal information. If you wish to grant a Project Administrator full access to your kit, please provide them with your kit number and password. Once full access has been granted, the Administrator's name will be shown in the Full Access table. Full access may be revoked at any time by changing your password on the Change Password tab below.


Read Only



Change mtDNA Match Notifications


Change YDNA Match Notifications


Edit Contact Information



Edit Personal Profile Photo


Set Population Finder Survey


Change Facts & Genes Newsletter Subscription



Change mtDNA CR Display Settings



Change Password



Change Project Administrator Settings



Change Project E-mail Settings



Download Family Finder Raw Data



Download mtDNA FASTA File



Edit Beneficiary Information



Edit Family Finder Known Relationships



Edit Personal Profile Information



Leave Projects








Debbie Kennett wrote on the ISOGG list: “Howard Mathieson shared this very interesting blog post in the Surname
Distribution Maps group on Facebook.
 There are some particularly interesting maps showing the various regions in
the British Isles and France from which the American settlers were drawn. 
The maps also demonstrate the problems that will arise if the American population is used by DNA testing companies as a proxy for the population of

If you're on Facebook and are interested in maps I highly recommend Howard's group.”


Dave Dowell, another ISOGG member who has his own blog (Dr D Digs Up Ancestors), wrote: “This came at a fortuitous time as I am discussing Fischer’s Albion’s Seed and Dollarhide’s British Origins of American Colonists, 1629-1775 in my genealogy seminar this Wednesday. Some to these maps will supplement those of Dollarhide in helping those attending to understand how knowing about migration patterns can help them narrow down the European homelands of their immigrant ancestors to North America.”






Dick Eastman, in this weekly genealogy newsletter of Oct. 7, 2013, mentioned that the FamilySearch Research wiki published its 75,000th article.  This wiki is a free online guide explaining how to find ancestors in different time periods and places around the world.  You can read more in an article by Nathan W. Murphy in the FamilySearch Blog.






The website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society is an excellent resource for American genealogical research, not only in New England, but beyond.  Their databases provide online access to more than 200 million records.  Their announcement of a webinar series about how to effectively search these databases states:

“Join Web Content Coordinator Andy Hanson-Dvoracek for this two-part webinar series and learn how to get the most out of your database searches. All you need to participate in these free, live events is an Internet connection and computer speakers. This series is ideal for current NEHGS members who have full access to all online databases, or for anyone interested in becoming a member who wishes to learn what online resources we offer.


Sign up today--space is limited!


Part I: November 20, 3-4 pm EST Register!

Part II: December 18, 3-4 pm EST Register!


All registrants will also receive a post-event email with a link to a recording of the webinar.”







An interesting blog article about Native American maternal haplogroup A2a and B2a dispersion can be found here.



Fold3 is sponsoring a live webinar on U.S. death records and how they can help research your family tree on Thursday, Nov. 14, and Saturday, November 16.  Cost is $9.95/seat, and you can find more information and make reservations here.






The question of the ancestry of these two genealogies was brought to mind by the article about the Carnegie Heroes in the Oct. 12 issue of this bulletin, where William H. Graves was found to be descended from genealogy 214.  This genealogy is for Joel Graves of NY, who was born about 1770 and lived in NY, and some of whose descendants lived in Lenawee Co., MI.


There is also a genealogy 506 for William Graves and Elizabeth ‑‑‑‑‑‑ of NY and Lenawee Co., MI.  In the 1850 census for Lenawee Co., MI, Joel Graves, 76, farmer, born in MA, was living with them.  It is likely that Joel was William’s father, and very possible that this is the Joel Graves of genealogy 214, some of whose descendants also lived in Lenawee Co., MI.


It has been suspected that this family may be descended from Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT (genealogy 168), since the name Joel Graves is used in that family, and some of the descendants lived in Lenawee Co., MI.  There is also a possibility that this family is descended from genealogy 166 (John Graves of Concord, MA), but that has seemed less likely.  However, a descendant of genealogy 214 has been DNA tested and found to match genealogy 166 (and also genealogy 28).


To try to sort out some of the unknowns, I looked at the 1820 census for Joel Graves in NY.  There were two of them, both in Roxbury, Delaware Co., NY, one listed as Jr.  Joel Graves Sr. was 45+ in 1820 (b. before 1775) with 1 female 16-45, and 1 female 45+ in his household.  Joel Graves Jr. was also 45+ with 5 younger males, 1 female 16-45, and 4 younger females.  In the 1830 census for Roxbury, Delaware Co., NY, there was only one Joel Graves, age 50-60 (b. 1870-1880), with 7 males under 20, 1 female 40-50, and 5 females under 20.  In 1840 there was a Joel Graves in Watertown, Jefferson Co., NY, but he was 30-40, obviously not the one born 1770-1780.  Joel Graves has not been identified in the 1810 census in NY or MA, nor in the 1840 census.


Mr. Russell Kroum, who provided most of the information for gen. 506, believes that William Graves of gen. 506 was a son of Joel Graves, born 1764, who was a son of Ebenezer Graves and Prudence Hastings of genealogy 168.  The information about that Joel Graves is as follows:

Joel Graves (480) was born 10 Oct. 1764 in Greenfield, MA. He married Elizabeth Billings on 19 Jan. 1792.  He bought 100 acres of land in Wilmington, Windham Co., VT, for 53 pounds, 19 April 1793.  He first moved to Rowe, Franklin Co., MA (on the border with VT), and later to VT.  (Rowe is about 26 miles northwest of Greenfield, MA, and Wilmington, VT is just about 15 miles north of Rowe, MA.)

Joel may have moved to Williamstown, Orange Co., VT, since a Joel Graves is listed there in 1810-1840.  If this is the same Joel Graves, he couldn’t be the one in Delaware Co., NY.


Although it is possible that this was the Joel Graves of Lenawee Co., MI, even though the dates of birth aren’t as close as they should be, I don’t know how to explain the two men next to each other named Joel Graves in the 1820 census of Delaware Co., NY, since the Joel Graves of gen. 168 did not have a father named Joel Graves.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a Joel Graves in either gen. 166 or gen. 28 that matches the Joel Graves of Lenawee Co.


My tentative conclusions:

·     Joel Graves Sr. in the 1820 census was probably the father of the Joel Graves Jr., and the Joel Graves Jr. was almost certainly the one in gen. 214 and was probably the one in the 1850 census who was the father of William Graves (gen. 506).

·     The Joel Graves of gen. 214 and 506 was probably not descended from gen. 168, since one descendant of 214 has been DNA tested and matches gen. 166 (although gen. 28 is a possibility).  The Joel Graves of gen. 168 is probably the one who moved to Orange Co., VT.

·     Joel Graves of gen. 214 is probably the same as Joel Graves of gen. 506.


Can anyone help provide more evidence, and provide more information on descendants and ancestry?  Also, we need for one or more male descendants of genealogy 506 with the Graves surname to take a Y-DNA test (to confirm that genealogies 214 and 506 are the same family and that they are descended from gen. 166 or 28).





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



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