Vol. 15, No. 13, Nov. 26, 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

** Family Tree DNA Genetic Genealogy Conference 2013

** DNA Test Sale at Family Tree DNA

** New Product for Y-DNA at Family Tree DNA

** Managing DNA Projects

** Resources Available from the Guild of One Name Studies on YouTube

** Genealogy and Genetic Genealogy Shows and Conferences Around the World

** DNA Test Results as Evidence for NSDAR Membership

** Full Genome Y-DNA Sequencing & Interpretation

** 23andMe Has Problems With the FDA

** WikiTree for Consolidated Genealogies?

** Updates to the GFA Website

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






I had not expected to be sending the next issue of this bulletin quite this soon.  However, so many things have been happening so quickly that there was no way I could wait to share them with you.


The biggest news for you is probably the special sale prices on DNA tests from Family Tree DNA, and the new Big Y test they have just announced.  The more general news is that it is becoming increasingly apparent that we are going to be able to use DNA testing to connect some of the unconnected parts of the various Graves/Greaves families in the not-too-distant future.






The very interesting and informative 9th Genetic Genealogy Conference sponsored by Family Tree DNA was held in Houston, TX, two weekends ago, Nov. 8-10.  Some of the announcements and knowledge from that conference are in this issue of the bulletin, and more may be in future issues.


Debbie Kennett has posted information about the conference here, pointing to most of the accounts of what happened.






The Family Tree DNA holiday sale has begun and is running through Dec 31st. Any customer whose order includes a Family Finder autosomal DNA test will receive a $100 gift certificate. This sale includes new orders, upgrades and 23andMe/AncestryDNA transfers.  Click on the link at the end to order as part of the Graves project.

You can order here.






Family Tree DNA announced a new product at the end of the recent Genetic Genealogy Conference in Houston.  It is called Big Y.  This test replaces an older test from FTDNA called Walk the Y.  It is a paternal lineage Y-Chromosome test that tests for thousands of known branch markers and also millions of places where there may be new branch markers.  Roberta Estes has an article about the Big Y and comprehensive Y-SNP testing on her blog.  Debbie Kennett also has an article about this in her Cruwys News blog.  Note that this is a Y-DNA test, so only males are able to take it, since only they have a Y-chromosome.



For a limited time, Family Tree DNA is offering an introductory price of $495, which is 25% below the standard price of $695. The sale ends December 1st, 2013.  To order, log into your Family Tree DNA homepage and click on the blue “25% off BigY Presale” and click on $495 and then on “Next”



The most important reason to order this test is that it has the potential to confirm ancestries that are in question and to connect families that share a common ancestor but where the connection is presently unknown.  This would be accomplished by finding new SNPs that are passed down though one line but not through others.  The ideal situation would be for at least two males from different parts of each major family to take this test.  As pertinent SNPs are found, then it would be helpful for more males to be tested.



Most of you probably think of Y-DNA tests in terms of how many markers are tested, from 12 to 111.  Those markers are actually STRs (short tandem repeats).  STRs mutate fairly quickly, making them good for determining ancestry within the last several hundred years, but not good for older ancestry.  You can see more about that on Wikipedia here.


The other kind of markers most commonly tested for are SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), which almost always are one-time-only mutations, unlike STRs which change much more frequently.  You can see some discussion of them on the ISOGG Wiki, and on Wikipedia.  It was originally thought that there were only a few SNPs and they would not be useful for near-term genealogy, but it has since been learned that there are many thousands, and there may be an average of one such mutation created every generations.  This would make SNPs even better than STRs for tracing and proving genealogical ancestry and connecting lineages.


An excellent discussion of Y-DNA testing and comprehensive Y-SNP testing is on Kelly Wheaton’s Wheaton Surname blog here.  This blog also features a series of 15 lessons in a “Beginner’s Guide to Genetic Genealogy” which you might find helpful




Most Y SNPs Available


New SNPs Unique to You


Advanced Genetic Anthropology






The management of DNA projects for Y-DNA, mtDNA, and autosomal DNA is part of the solution to our research and quest for our Graves/Greaves ancestry.  One source of information on how to do this is in information in the Wiki of ISOGG.  Links to the pertinent pages there and additional sources elsewhere are listed below.


·     Pages on the ISOGG Wiki:

Ø Administrative tasks

Ø Surname DNA projects

Ø Online resources for project administrators

Ø Promoting your DNA project

Ø ISOGG Project Administrator Guidelines


·     The treatise by James M. (“Jim”) Owston.


·     Some of the videos on the YouTube page of the Guild of One-Name Studies (mentioned in the next article).






The surname study for the Graves, Greaves, and related names is registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies (GOONS).  The Guild offers many benefits, including a page on YouTube, where a number of helpful videos are provided.  These include how to set up and run a DNA project, monthly “hangouts” where various subjects of interest to GOONS members are discussed, family gatherings, record searching, etc.  Other videos and aids are available on the GOONS website.


If you or anyone you know would like to help me with our one-name study, please let me know, and I can tell you more about the opportunities and the resources available.






Genealogy and especially genetic genealogy is becoming more popular everywhere.

·     I recently attended Family Tree DNA’s 9th genetic genealogy conference for group administrators in Houston, TX, Nov. 8-10, 2013.  Anyone who would like to help with our Graves/Greaves DNA project will be welcome to attend this conference next year.

·     The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) and the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) held a one-day conference on June 6, 2013, titled “Family History and DNA: Genetic Genealogy in 2013”, at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank, in conjunction with the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree.

·     New Zealand’s Family History Fair was held at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau, Auckland, NZ, on Aug. 2-4, 2013.  Both and Family Tree DNA exhibited at the fair.

·     The first ever Genetic Genealogy Ireland conference took place at the Back To Our Past show in Dublin, Ireland, Oct. 18-20, 2013.  For one review of this event, click here.  For another review, click here.

·     Who Do You Think You Are? Live” will be held Feb. 20-22, 2014, at the Olympia in London, England.  This is the largest family history and genealogy event in the world, and it includes a significant genetic genealogy content.






In the last issue of this bulletin, there was some mention of the policy of the Jamestowne Society concerning DNA evidence.  The National Society of the Daughters of the Revolution (NSDAR) is also of interest to many people.  Below is a summary of the important features of the new NSDAR Policy on the Use of Y-DNA Evidence for DAR Membership Applications, as provided by Kathy Johns on the ISOGG list.  The full policy can be seen on the DAR website here.


"Genealogical Use 

The current accuracy of the 37 marker Y-DNA test does not allow for positively identifying descent from a specific ancestor, but does provide a high degree of certainty (95%) that two living men share a common ancestor at more than 150 years but less than 200 years, if they match at all 37 marker locations. Based on this increased accuracy of the 37 marker Y-DNA test, we are proposing a structured procedure by which DAR applicants may use DNA evidence in an analysis submitted with an application or supplemental application. 


Structured Presentation 

To submit DNA evidence on a DAR application an applicant will have to meet all the below listed criteria. Although these criteria are restrictive, they acknowledge the current level of the science, respect DAR’s existing standards, protect the reputation of its verified lineages, address the difficult to prove child or grandchild of the patriot link, allow the verification of a paper without the need for a degree in genetics, save the genealogy staff from a potential tidal wave of paperwork. 


The applicant will have to address all eight of the criteria that follow to submit Y-DNA. 


1. The applicant will have to submit documentation to complete the lineage on her application in normal fashion with one exception. There will be one unproven father-son link for which she is submitting the Y-DNA evidence. 


2. At the point where the applicant cannot prove the father-son link, one of her tested males will have a lineage with a previously proven link between the same father and a different son. The birth date of this father will have to be more than 150 years but less than 200 years earlier than the birth date of the younger of the two tested males. This time frame requirement is based on the statistics of the test. Given the expected ages of the two tested males choosing the younger or the older will have little consequence. However, this 150-200 year time frame coincides well with the ages of the children and grandchildren of the patriot—consistently the hardest generational links to prove on an application. This test should not be used in an attempt to prove the fathers, grandfathers, or great grandfathers of the applicant. 


3. This process cannot be used for new ancestors at this time because they would have no proven lineage with which to compare the Y-DNA supported lineage. 


4. The Y-DNA test results will be submitted as part of an analysis. Overall, an analysis is a last resort. The applicant or her proxies should have conducted a reasonably exhaustive search to find direct evidence of the needed relationship. The applicant will have to list everywhere she has searched as part of the structured presentation. A search of online sources only is not a reasonably exhaustive search. Traditional direct evidence of the generational link is always better and preferred to analysis with or without Y-DNA evidence. 


5. The surnames of the two tested males and the maiden name of the applicant or her mother will have to be the same (with obvious spelling variations understood). 


6. One of the two males tested will have to be a close male relative of the applicant. Usually this male will be her father, brother, grandfather, uncle or grandfather’s brother. This man will then have the same direct lineage to the patriot as the applicant. The applicant will have to submit the results of this man’s 37 marker Y-DNA test and potentially a document of two to connect this man to her lineage.


7. The second male tested will have to have a different, but still direct lineage to the patriot—that has been previously proven to the DAR. This second male would likely be the brother, father or grandfather of a previous applicant or any of their male offspring. The lineage of this second male cannot include any analyses, and if necessary must be brought up to current DAR standards with additional documentation. The applicant will also have to submit the results of this second male’s 37 marker Y-DNA test, a signed statement from the man indicating his acknowledgement of participation in the application process, documentation linking him to this previously proven lineage. This is the most difficult criteria of the analysis and the one most pivotal to its success. 


8. The applicant’s two submitted 37 marker Y-DNA tests will have to have identical results. The 37 markers we require are the 37 markers specified on the member’s website. If the males were tested at more than 37 markers we only need the results of the specified 37 markers. If the males were tested at less than 37 markers or not the specified markers, they will have to upgrade their existing test or be re-tested. In all cases the two tested males will have to have identical results at all 37 specified markers."



James Owston’s comments on these requirements are below.  I agree with him that Y-DNA test results with 37 STR markers can only show descent from a common male ancestor and not a specific ancestor in that line.  The test results by themselves may show a high likelihood of having a specific common ancestor, but without other evidence, they should not be considered proof.  The NSDAR comments in the “Genealogical Use” section above suggest that submitting 37-marker Y-DNA test results in support of an application is desirable if there is an exact match, but the results shouldn’t be submitted if the match is not exact.


“I understand their reasoning and that a reasonable standard must be set, but I think that determining that having a 100% match at 37 levels being an indication of a certain lineage may have some flaws.  Just from personal experience, I have such a match with three people that I share no common ancestors until circa 1470 - far older than colonial times. 


Two of these gentlemen with whom I have a 100% match also have a two marker difference with a third gentleman that shares a common ancestor with them who was born in 1752 (i.e., colonial times).  By this standard, a 14th cousin looks more closely related than a fifth cousin. 


Although my study is small (21 tested individuals with four in the process), I have come to realize the utter randomness of STR mutations. Many of my closer relatives appear to be more distantly related than those who actually are the most distant.”







Full genome sequencing of Y-DNA is now available from Full Genomes Corporation, Inc., Rockville, MD.  This is one of the new capabilities that will be of great help is tracing all-male ancestral lines and connecting the various parts of families that are descended from a common Graves/Greaves ancestor.  A summary of some of the advances and the present status of this is in a blog article in Your Genetic Genealogist (by CeCe Moore) for 3 Nov. 2013.  This test (like autosomal DNA testing) mostly tests for SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms, that are relatively stable) rather than STRs (short tandem repeats, that mutate frequently) as with traditional Y-DNA testing (although it does test for over 300 Y chromosome STRs also).  The present price of $1,250 and the lack of complete and easy-to-understand analytical tools will probably limit the near-term sales of this product.



A new Y-DNA interpretation service is now available from  A blog article by Debbie Kennett discusses the results from this service, and also mentions other Y-DNA tests that are available.  According to YFull, there are 41,828 known Y-SNPs and 478 Y-STRs (short tandem repeats).  YFull is based in Moscow, Russia, and their service is free for a limited time. They are able to use data for any Y-chromosome test which has been sequenced at a minimum 25X coverage and with a read length of at least 100 base pairs. This applies to the Big Y test as well as the Full Genomes test mentioned above. Data needs to be provided in the form of a BAM file.






The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has ordered 23andMe to stop marketing their DNA analysis service immediately.  See today’s article in the New York Times.  Some discussion of this and what it might mean for the providers and users of DNA testing is here.  Although the FDA’s action targets the claims and actions of 23andMe’s health and medical activities, the genealogy activities of 23andMe and other companies may also be affected.


This development is a bit of a shock to many of us who weren’t aware of the conflict between 23andMe and the FDA, especially after the recent publication of the statement by Anne Wojcicki (co-founder and CEO of 23andMe) that the company would be going from having tested 475,000 people today to a million in the first quarter of 2014.



The importance of 23andMe to genetic genealogy was stated by a member of the ISOGG list who said that if it wasn't for the 23andMe test, we would not have the Family Finder test from FTDNA nor would Ancestry, Genographic and Britain’s DNA be selling chip tests.


It was also pointed out that FTDNA has sister companies that do medical testing, so any regulation of medical testing and it’s marketing will affect them also.


A further comment was that if the health tests end up being regulated away from us (no longer able to purchase direct-to-consumer) that the ancestry tests will be next on the regulatory chopping block.  There are many people out there who are in powerful positions that feel we should not have direct access to our own DNA data without a gatekeeper to interpret the results for us.



Many people feel that the U.S. government is trying to regulate areas that shouldn’t be regulated, impeding scientific and medical progress, and infringing on personal liberties.  As a result, a petition drive has been initiated today on a government website to overrule the FDA’s decision.  A second petition has been started here.



Pertinent to the preceding discussion is an article published today in Genome Biology entitled “Rumors of the death of consumer genomics are greatly exaggerated”.






In the March 11 issue of this bulletin, I mentioned WikiTree as a genealogy wiki that is one of the leaders in consolidating and correcting genealogical information.  Now Roberta Estes has posted an article in her DNAeXplained blog about this site and how DNA testing results have been incorporated into it to provide additional verification.


When I looked at WikiTree, it was interesting to see that Graves was the 17th most active surname for Nov. 3, 2013.  However, neither Graves nor Greaves was among the featured surnames for the month of October.  As of Nov. 4, the number of names in WikiTree for Graves was 3135, Greaves 351, Greve 142, Grave 50, and Grieves 34.  WikiTree claims to have 6.1 million profiles from 110,000 contributors.  It appears that our Graves/Greaves families are underrepresented.


WeRelate is another genealogy wiki mentioned in my previous article.  They claim to be the world’s largest wiki with pages for over 2.5 million people.  However, it looks to me that WikiTree is probably larger.  As of Nov. 4, my search on WeRelate for an exact match for Graves gave 2506 records, Greaves 121, Greve 49, Grave 91, and Grieves 16.  However, they seem to function in an entirely different manner, searching outside their own database and not concentrating on the same kind of consolidated tree as WikiTree.






Additions and updates made since the last summary in the Sept. 17 bulletin include the following genealogies.  A few other changes have also been made to some of the website pages and charts.


Revised Genealogies

28 – Greaves Family of Stepney, London, England, and Rear Adm. Thomas Graves of Charlestown, MA

85 – Thomas Graves of New Castle Co., DE

187 – Richard Greaves and Thomas Greaves of Birmingham, Warwickshire, England

406 – Elizabeth Graves and Edward Randolph of England and VA

470 – John Greaves and Sarah Cooper of Nottinghamshire, England

851 – Archibald Graves and Patience ------ of Marion Co., SC





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



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