Vol. 15, No. 2, Feb. 20, 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

** Dramatic Price Reduction on Y-DNA Test from FTDNA

** Who Do You Think You Are? Live

** Other Genealogy Events

** Quaker Graves/Greaves/Greeves Family of Ireland and America, and Their Connection with Greer, etc.

** Black History Month

** ISOGG Wiki

** Illegitimacy, Adoption, and Other Non-Parental Events

** Trivia, Twitter, and the Library of Congress

** Why You Can’t Find Your Ancestor Online

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






There is a mixture of various articles in this issue of the GF Bulletin.  This weekend in London, England, Who Do You Think You Are? Live will be held.  It is billed as the largest genealogy show in the world.  This is also Black History Month in the U.S. and Canada.


We still need volunteers to help manage the DNA projects and do other things, and we do need more of you to take DNA tests (both Y-DNA and autosomal).  There is no article in this issue about volunteering, but there is one about a special Y-DNA price reduction which I hope some of you take advantage of.


We hope you are enjoying (or at least surviving) the winter in the northern hemisphere and the summer in Australia and other places in the southern hemisphere.  As they say in Costa Rica, Pura Vida!






Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) announced today a dramatically lower price for its entry-level Y-DNA test.  Now for only $39, a male can get a 12-marker Y-DNA test for direct all-male ancestry.  Since FTDNA keeps your submitted DNA sample for at least 25 years, you will be able to upgrade to more markers or order other tests later without having to submit a new sample (unless you order so many additional tests that your sample gets used up).


The company expects to also offer a much less expensive mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test for direct all-female ancestry sometime this spring.


For more information, visit FTDNA’s website.  If you are a new customer, be sure to join through the Graves DNA project, or at least join the Graves DNA project after you get your personal page on FTDNA.  Please let me know if you have any questions.






This is the biggest family history event in the world.  It started in 2005, and is now an annual event attracting 10-15,000 visitors.  This year it will be held Feb. 22-24, 2013 at Olympia National Hall, London, England.  It is a spin-off of the television show.  I have never attended, but am considering going next year.


Family Tree DNA is one of the sponsors of the show.  Pre-show publicity stated: “… you’ll be able to take a basic Y-DNA test at an extremely low price, never offered before” (see preceding article).  Actually, for those men attending the show, with the Graves/Greaves surname, they will be able to get a free DNA test.


If you attend the show, let me know your observations and what you especially liked about it.






One of the ways to learn more about how to do genealogy research and find your ancestors is to attend genealogy conferences.  There you will be able to listen to experts talk on various topics and also talk to others who may have some of the same issues you have.  In addition to the show in England mentioned in the preceding article, you can find out about other conferences and meetings on Dick Eastman’s website.  Although he no longer tries to maintain a complete list of all genealogy events, he dies list other websites where you can see large lists of upcoming genealogy events.  If you want to learn more and have the time to attend some of these meetings, they can be very rewarding.






A summary of the present knowledge of this family can be found at the start of genealogy 85 for Thomas Graves, Quaker of Newcastle Co., Delaware.  There it is noted that this family probably descends from the MacGregor/Grierson family of Scotland.  It appears that the name for some of the family members changed from Grierson to Grier and Greer, and then to Grieve and Greeves. Later spellings used also included Greave and Graves.


Part of this family seems to be that in genealogy 712, the descendants of John Grierson of Scotland and the Greer and Greeves family of Ireland.


I was recently contacted by Lena McVea, a Greer family researcher, who has posted Greer information on the website.  She is interested in possible connections with the Graves/Greaves families.  She also told me about a very interesting publication called “Genealogical Memoranda Relating to the Families of Greer, Owden, Greeves, Jackson, Lowry, and Bowen-Colthurst,” privately printed in 1897.  The Greeves portion of this is titled “Greeves of Strandtown, Co. Down”, and starts with John Greeves of Bernagh, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone.


There is the possibility that the connections between some of these families can be explored by Y-DNA and autosomal DNA testing and comparisons, but that hasn’t been done yet.






February is Black History Month in the U.S. and Canada.  It is celebrated in October in the United Kingdom.  Its main purpose is to remember important people and events in the history of those with African ancestry.


Most of the genealogical websites, including,, and others, have been adding greatly to their online resources of databases and other materials of help to people researching their African ancestry.


One interesting article is in the December 2012 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, page 293.  Titled “Black Slavery Emancipation Research in the Northern States”, by James W. Perry, the article states: “According to American public memory, slavery in the United States was peculiar to the South.  Unless explicitly reminded of the North’s history of slavery, most Americans associate the North with abolitionists rather than slaveholders.”  However, this is a misconception.  The article discusses the many records in northern states that can be used to learn much about African Americans there.






The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) was founded in 2005.  Its mission is “to advocate for and educate about the use of genetics as a tool for genealogical research, and promote a supportive network for genetic genealogists.”


The ISOGG Wiki has recently undergone major improvements.  It has been redesigned for easier use, and more content has been added.  For those of you interested in getting a better understanding of DNA testing and genetic genealogy, both the main site and the Wiki should be very helpful.


A page for the Graves/Greaves surname DNA project has recently been added to the Wiki, but probably needs updating.







On the ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) website (mentioned in the preceding article) are two pages of possible interest on this subject.  One is “Using Genetic Genealogy to Solve Non-Paternal Event (NPE) Roadblocks” and the second is “Utilizing DNA Testing to Break Through Adoption Roadblocks”.  To view them, go to the ISOGG website, click on the “For Admins” link on the left side of the page, and then click on the subject of interest to you.






For those of you who use Twitter, it can be a delight.  With 140 characters or less per tweet, it is a way to let people all over the world hear about what is happening where you are as it happens, and for you to know what is happening someplace else, via cell phone or computer.  For example, genealogists at conferences tweet the proceedings to others who are unable to attend, and many people find that very helpful.  On the other hand, some people, especially non-users, equate tweeting with useless trivia and wasted time.


The Weekly Genealogist, the online newsletter of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, called my attention to an article in the Jan. 3 issue of the Washington Post newspaper titled “Library of Congress has archive of tweets, but no plan for its public display.”  The library has been archiving tweets since 2006, adds more than 400 million new tweets each day, and now has more than 170 billion tweets in its archive.  The hope is that eventually there will be a fully indexed, online searchable database of tweets.  Presently the library has neither the money nor a good plan to make this happen.  Of course some of us would ask, why would they want to do this, and how will it be helpful.  As with many new developments, perhaps there is more value here than is immediately obvious.  And perhaps it’s another lesson (like people putting their lives on Facebook) that nothing is really private anymore, especially when we put it online.



Howard Mathieson, a geographer and a member of GOONS (the Guild of One Name Studies) recently called my attention to a group on Facebook for Surname Distribution Maps.  For those interested in using mapping techniques to show how names are distributed, this is an interesting group.  In one application cited in this group, a researcher at UCL’s Dept. of Geography (University College London) has processed 4 million geo-tagged tweets from London, has found the most common user names, and has plotted them on a map of London.  The article about this also mentions another study, which mapped the commonest surnames as taken from electoral rolls, and compares this to an analysis of 2011 census data.






The Mocavo Genealogy Newsletter for Jan. 26, 2013 has an article by Michael J. Leclerc giving 5 reasons why you can’t find the person you are looking for online.  Not being able to find information about a person online is a very common problem.  When it happens, most people just stop looking, either because they don’t know what else to do, and they figure that if they can’t find it on one of the online search, it probably doesn’t exist.


The reasons mentioned in the article are:

(1) The person is too young, so there are few if any records digitized for that person.

(2) The name is unrecognizable as the result of bad handwriting, etc.

(3) The records weren’t recorded.

(4) You are looking in the wrong place (for instance, the wrong geographical place).  I recently had a personal example of that.  My mother always despaired that she wasn’t able to find the marriage records for her parents – something she wanted for DAR membership, etc.  Her mother had lived in Cloverport, KY, right on the Ohio River, so she figured they had gone across the river to be married by a justice of the peace in Indiana.  A cousin recently told me that she found the marriage record in Mount Vernon, Lawrence Co., MO (where my grandfather’s job had probably taken him), as the result of a search on (which wasn’t available when my mother was looking).

(5) Not all records are online.  This is an understatement.  Most records are not online, and a complete search requires searching traditional paper records offline.  If you want to do this and need help, you can always hire someone else, or you can join a local genealogy society, take a genealogy course, or attend a genealogy conference to begin to learn how to do it yourself.





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



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