Vol. 15, No. 4, March 30, 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

** Y-DNA12 Test Sale Price and Permanent Price Reduction

** Autosomal DNA Raw Data Now Available on Ancestry

** Please Sign Online Petition to

** Upload Your Autosomal DNA Results to GEDmatch

** Autosomal DNA Project for Descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves of VA (Gen. 169)

** A Personal Evaluation of Deep Ancestry DNA Results

** Teach Your Children and Relatives About Their Family History

** More than You Ever Wanted to Know

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






There seems to be a lot about DNA testing in this issue.  That’s because so much is happening in that area, with new developments being announced weekly.


I will continue to provide news about traditional genealogy as I become aware of it.


I wish you all a happy and blessed Easter!






Family Tree DNA has just announced a significant price reduction for its 12-marker Y-DNA test.  They stated: “Due to the recent upgrade of our state-of-the-art laboratory, coupled with research and development into increasing lab efficiency, we are able to permanently offer the basic Y-DNA12 test for $49 beginning April 1, 2013. The current sale of Y12 at $39 will end at 11:59PM CST, March 31,2013. We are also working on bringing down the price of the basic mtDNA test as well; we hope to have that accomplished during the first half of this year.”


“We hope that you can encourage family and friends who saw the price as a barrier to now come on board. It is our goal to ensure every single person is able to have the "DNA experience," at least at the basic level.”


Although I usually recommend that men wanting to find their surname ancestry take a 37-marker Y-DNA test, for those who haven’t taken the test because of cost, this is a good opportunity.  Order the test before the end of this month and save the most.  Especially if you are descended from a Graves or Greaves family that has not had anyone take a Y-DNA test, it is really important that at least one male descendant with the Graves/Greaves surname take the test.






The first part of the major event from Ancestry that many of us have been awaiting for so long has finally arrived!  Ancestry is now allowing those who have done the autosomal DNA test with them to download their raw data files.  See the instructions in the next article for exactly how to do it.  It will be a while before Ancestry adds capability to see matching areas on chromosomes (if they do) as 23andMe and FTDNA presently do, and it will also be a while before GEDmatch adds the capability to upload raw data from Ancestry (to allow comparison.



I have previously commented on various aspects of DNA offerings from FTDNA, 23andMe, and Ancestry.  There are shortcomings with all the offerings now, but improvements are constantly being made.


Regarding price, both 23andMe and Ancestry are selling their autosomal test for $99.  FTDNA’s standard price is much higher at $289.  The best price deal, if you want to maximize your matches, is to get the $99 test at 23andMe, and then transfer those results to FTDNA for another $89.  However, FTDNA provides projects to provide help and facilitate matching, and they also provide by far the most complete collection of DNA tests.  23andMe also provides health and trait information, which neither of the other companies provide.  Ancestry has a huge traditional collection of family trees, which is a big advantage to matching, but those contain many errors and are not yet tied in well with DNA data.


If you want health data, testing at 23andMe is your only option.  FTDNA is by for the best for overall DNA testing.  For deep ancestry, 23andMe and the GENO2.0 test from the National Geographic Society (offered by them but tested by FTDNA) are the best.  For the number of matches, the consensus so far seems to be Ancestry, because of its large traditional database.






As announced in the preceding article, Ancestry is now allowing those who have done the autosomal DNA test with them to download their raw data files.  However, they have also said that they do not intend to provide a chromosome browser that would allow customers to see which segments of DNA you share with those who match you.  A chromosome browser that would provide this information is absolutely essential.  In response to this situation, Shannon Christmas has started an online petition to urge ancestry to add this capability.  Please sign this petition by going to this website.


The petition states: “Without a chromosome browser and access to shared DNA segment data, customers of's autosomal DNA genealogy product, AncestryDNA, cannot positively identify the ancestors responsible for the DNA shared with each genetic relative. Without access to and analytic tools for shared DNA segment data, AncestryDNA customers routinely draw inaccurate conclusions about their pedigrees and how they relate to each of their reported DNA matches. In the absence of matching segment data, AncestryDNA's Shared Ancestor Hints, a feature that pinpoints a set of common ancestors in each match's family tree, can mislead and has misled countless Ancestry customers seeking to solve genealogical problems with genetic testing. Continuing to sell AncestryDNA without a chromosome browser and shared segment data, essential features of any autosomal DNA genealogy product, minimizes the product's accuracy, utility, and integrity as a resource for genealogists and does a disservice to a community of customers who have supported for all of its 17 years.”






If you have taken an autosomal DNA test from Family Tree DNA (Family Finder) or from 23andMe (Relative Finder) and I know your Graves/Greaves ancestry, your ancestral line and DNA matches have been added to the appropriate chart on the Autosomal DNA page of the GFA website.  However, most people descended from a common Graves/Greaves ancestor don’t share enough DNA to be considered a match, even though they may share on a sizeable DNA segment inherited from their common ancestor.  Presently, the best way to get around that problem is to download your autosomal test results and then upload them (along with a GEDCOM) to GEDmatch.  Once on that site, we will be able to do many things that cannot be done on any other site, including searching for all your matches on specific segments of DNA that we think may be inherited from your Graves/Greaves ancestor (or any other ancestor that you may be interested in).


Having your test results on GEDmatch will also provide you with potential matches from others who aren’t on FTDNA, 23andMe, or the website of whatever other company you were tested by.  Presently the only other company of any significance is Ancestry, which has just announced the ability to down load autosomal DNA raw data.


To download autosomal DNA results from Family Tree DNA:

Sign on to your personal page, click on the Family Finder tab and then on “Download Raw Data.”  Then just follow instructions.


To download autosomal DNA results from 23andMe:

Sign into your account, click on Account at the top of the page, and then click on “Browse Raw Data” in the drop-down menu.  On the download page, select the option to download all DNA, and click the “Download Data” button.


To download autosomal DNA results from Ancestry:

Go to Ancestry and sign in if you need to.  Then click on the DNA tab at the top of the page.  Click on “Manage Text Settings” (next to the orange View Results button).  Click on “Get Started” in the “Download your raw DNA data” section.  Then just follow the instructions.  Before downloading your data, it is necessary to re-enter your password.  Then you are sent an email to confirm the download.  After that, the data is downloaded as a zip file and then needs to be unzipped before you can look at it or upload it to GEDmatch.


With downloads from all these companies, save the file and do not open it as the act of opening it sometimes causes corruption and you will have a hard time uploading the file.  If the upload to GEDmatch fails, download a new copy and start over.  If you have an older copy of the download on your computer, it’s always a good idea to use a fresh copy to incorporate any changes made by the vendor since your last file download.


To upload a GEDCOM and autosomal DNA results to GEDmatch:

Go to GEDmatch.  Scroll down to the section to “Upload Your Data Files.”  Select the upload option you want to perform, and click on the link.  You should upload your raw data files and your GEDCOM file.  (If you don’t have a GEDCOM file but you do have your family tree in a genealogy program, you can create one with that program.)  You should be sure to upload your GEDCOM with complete information that includes all known descendants of ancestors, not just your direct ancestors.  Unless you upload your complete file, you may inadvertently omit the individual who links you to another person’s genealogy.  After you click on the desired link for the upload, just follow the instructions.


You can also upload Family Finder match results from FTDNA and the Ancestry Finder file from 23andMe if you want to be able to run the triangulation utility on GEDmatch.


After you have uploaded results to GEDmatch, be sure to let me know the ID numbers for your results and your GEDCOM, so that I can help you search.


You cannot yet upload Ancestry data to GEDmatch, but that capability will be added sometime in the future.


If you don’t want to go through the hassle of doing these downloads and uploads yourself, let me know and I can do it for you (although I would rather have you do it).






A sister website to GEDmatch discussed in the preceding article is Ancestor-Projects.  It is a place where autosomal DNA projects can be established to use the information on GEDmatch to learn more about related groups of people.  One project there is for those descended from Capt. Thomas Graves of VA (genealogy 169).  That project was established by Shannon Christmas.  He is a descendant of Capt. Thomas Graves through Mary Graves (daughter of Henry White Graves) and John Christmas.


Shannon’s recent post on our Facebook page said: “Gen 169 descendants who have tested with Family Tree DNA (Family Finder) or 23andMe: Please join the Captain Thomas Graves of Jamestown Autosomal DNA Project by uploading your Family Tree DNA (Family Finder) or 23andMe raw data and GEDCOMs to GEDmatch, registering on Ancestor-Projects, and emailing me (shannon [dot] s [dot] christmas [at] gmail [dot] com) to add you to the project - in that order. By participating, you will help us isolate and identify autosomal DNA segments inherited from Captain Thomas Graves and his descendants.  I encourage you to add the data for the eldest living direct line descendants of Captain Thomas Graves to the project. Feel free to ask questions. I look forward to hearing from you.”


I encourage everyone descended from genealogy 169 who has taken an autosomal DNA test to follow the instructions in this article and the preceding one.  Perhaps we will be able to use this project as a model for similar projects for other Graves/Greaves families.






In the last issue of this bulletin, I had an article about deep ancestry results from DNA testing.  This was mainly about a series of articles written by Roberta Estes on her blog, DNAeXplained.  Because of some questions I have received since then, I took a closer look at my own results from several different companies, and the following discussion is about my observations.


My conclusions are that the 23andMe analysis is the most complete and most meaningful for me, since it agrees reasonably well with the ancestry I had previously found.  The Ancestry results were misleading because of the high percentage of Scandinavian, and the FTDNA results weren’t detailed enough.  The reason the results differ is that they are dependent on the period in time and the reference populations used.  All of the companies will be refining their results over time.


Ancestry Composition from 23andMe

This ancestral breakdown was the most complete.  They explain that their analysis tells you what percent of your DNA comes from each of 22 populations worldwide.  The results reflect where your ancestors lived 500 years ago.  They give you a choice of 3 estimates of ancestral origin, and the following numbers are from the speculative estimate.

European, 99%

Northern European, 99.5% (British and Irish, 73.3%, French and German, 3.2%, Scandinavian, 2.9%, Nonspecific Northern European, 19.6%, Ashkenazi, 0.5%)

Southern and Eastern European, 0%

Nonspecific European, 0.3%

Sub-Saharan African, <0.1%

Unassigned, 0.1%


AncestryDNA from

They explain that the genetic ethnicity reveals where your ancestors lived hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of years ago.  They gave:

Scandinavian, 46% (Norway, Sweden, Denmark)

British Isles, 27% (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)

Central Europe, 25% (Austria, France, Germany, etc.)

Uncertain, 2%


Geno 2.0 test from the National Geographic Society

This gave the following percentages of ancestral components.  They explain that these percentages don’t necessarily mean that I belong to these groups or am directly from these regions.  This is a mixture of both recent (past 6 generations) and ancient patterns established over thousands of years.

Northern European, 44% (UK, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Germany)

Mediterranean, 37% (southern Europe and the Levant, especially Sardinia, Italy, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia)

Southwest Asian, 18% (India and neighboring populations)


They compared my genetic ancestry to that of the two closest modern day populations:





Northern European








Southwest Asian





They also gave my ancestry as 2.6% Neanderthal and 1.5% Denisovan (two other species of hominids).  These components are still somewhat experimental and not without controversy.


Population Finder from Family Tree DNA

They explain that this tool is in Beta testing and the results will change.  They gave the following percentages:

Western Europe, 93.04% +/- 8.53% (French, Orcadian, Basque, Spanish)

Europe (other), 6.96% +/- 8.53% (Tuscan, Finnish, Romanian, Sardinian)






The March 20, 2013 issue of The Weekly Genealogist, vol. 16, no. 12, an online newsletter published by the New England Historic Genealogical in Boston, MA, had an interesting brief article about one of the benefits of teaching children about their family history.  (All back issues of The Weekly Genealogist can be found on their website.)  Dick Eastman also mentioned this article in Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter of March 25.


This article refers to a recent story in the New York Times, and is called The Stories That Bind Us.  The story in the Times starts out talking about tensions and problems within families (things all families have), and then discusses the results of some studies of how to effectively deal with this.  At least one study found: "The more children knew about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned."  This article was adapted from Bruce Feiler’s recently published book, “The Secrets of Happy Families: How to Improve Your Morning, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smart, Go Out and Play, and Much More.”


The conclusions noted above are probably true to a lesser extent for many of the adults in families.  Have you ever despaired that no one else in your family has any interest in genealogy?  You can probably understand why they might not be interested in the sometimes-tedious task of searching through records online, on microfilm, or on dusty shelves of libraries and archives.  But how about those pictures of ancestors, stories about how they lived and were part of historical times, and some of their interesting experiences?  If you try to share small and interesting pieces periodically over a period of time (perhaps at family gatherings or via email), and stay away from things they might consider boring, some of them might begin to gain an appreciation of their ancestral heritage.  If you give it a try (or have already done some of this), let me know your experiences and successes.






Many of those from around the world who share information on the online DNA discussion lists are very highly educated and knowledgeable people.  An example of some of the very interesting published articles that are shared is a recent one on Plos One.  This is titled “A Genome-Wide analysis of Populations from European Russia Reveals a New Pole of Genetic Diversity in Northern Europe.”  There are many other articles like this being published.  I certainly don’t expect many of you to be interested in this or similar articles, but for a handful of you who might be, the ISOGG list and a couple of others are a good place to find out about this kind of research.





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



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