Vol. 16, No. 11, Dec. 27, 2014


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 © 2014 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** General Comments

** Follow-up Suggestion for Researching Ancestry of Capt. Thomas Graves

** Upload All Autosomal DNA Test Results to GEDmatch, Especially Those From

** Updates to the GFA Website

** 23andMe Launches DNA Health-Screening Test in UK

** New DNA Software from Los Alamos National Laboratory

** Surnames and Social Mobility

** Preserve and Share Your Family Information, Don’t Lose It

** The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery in the Northern States of the U.S.

** Bombing England in World War II

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






Happy New Year to everyone!  This is the last GF Bulletin for 2014.  I hope some of the articles this year have been helpful and interesting.






Nicholas (“Nick”) Greaves, descended from genealogy 336 sent the following comment regarding the article in the Nov. 28 GF Bulletin about Capt. Thomas Graves of VA (genealogy 169).  That article mentioned the often stated though never proven claim that Capt. Thomas Graves of VA was a son of Thomas Graves and Joan Blagrove of Lambourn, Berkshire, England.  Perhaps someone would like to follow-up on this.


“This might be nothing but for 15 years I worked in Reading, Berkshire in partnership in a firm of commercial chartered surveyors, and from memory I was involved in an office scheme in Blagrave Street (not Blagrove but they were not fussy about exact spelling in Shakespeare’s time) and the name of Blagrave was well know in that town, but for what I could not recall so I looked them up on Wikipedia.  John Blagrave was a famous mathematician and a member of the wealthy land-owning Blagrave family who owned most of the town and occupied a manor in Southcote, now a suburb of that town.  Reading itself is on the Thames, and had a large and ancient monastery until it was demolished by Henry VIII, and if you look up on Wikipedia under Southcote, Berkshire you will see that the Blagraves were a family of consequence and one of them, Daniel, signed the execution warrant of Charles I, which could not have done the family much good on the restoration of Charles II later on, although Joan Blagrave mother of Thomas Graves was obviously from an earlier generation.  The history of the Blagrave family is described in that web site although I dare say there will be much more detail elsewhere that you could find without too much effort.


If Thomas Graves was son of Joan Blagrove, I wonder whether she was of this same Blagrave family. It would seem likely enough. Lambourn is about 25 miles west of Reading on the Berkshire downs and is now well known for its horse racing stables, and is now a very pleasant area in which to live with wonderful views and a fair number of elegant manor houses dotted about.   I have to say I know nothing about the Langbourn ward of the city of London. It might be worth your while to research the Blagrave family to find about more about Joan of that name.”






Earlier this year, David Morgan, Aneita Allen, and others on the GFA Facebook page commented on the many errors in submitted genealogies on Ancestry.  For example, David commented in reference to a submitted genealogy: “He has one of his ancestors as 12 years old when her daughter was born, and he has this daughter as having a daughter WITH HER HUSBAND eight years before they got married. Possible, yes, but not very likely.”  Aneita said about to one submission: “One of my ancestors married at 10, died at 13, then had a bunch of children!”


My comments were that Ancestry is great for finding possible ancestral connections because they have so many submitted genealogies. But, as the preceding examples show, many of those genealogies have many errors and they should just be used as clues to be investigated. The other major problem with Ancestry is that they provide no way to tell whether a connection you find on a family tree is the one causing a DNA match. The only practical way to do that is to download your DNA raw data from Ancestry, upload it to, and then use the analytical tools on gedmatch (something that I strongly recommend doing).


Tim Janzen commented: “Everyone needs to keep in mind that there are two processes here, the second being dependent on the successful completion of the first.  The first process is the successful uploading of your data to GEDmatch.  That process typically takes about 5 to 10 minutes or so.  When that process has been completed you are assigned a GEDmatch number.  Once the GEDmatch number has been assigned you should be able to do one-to-one comparisons immediately.  The second process takes much longer to complete.  The process used to take several days, but as Jim mentioned there is currently a backlog, which means that it is taking about 4 to 10 days to process the results.  You won't be able to see all of your matches in the one-to-many report until your data has successfully completed the second process.  So, people need to make sure that both processes are successfully completed.  I have data for about 25 relatives on GEDmatch and I only had to reload one person's data.  In that case, it somehow failed in the first process.”  It is also important to be sure both the autosomal files and the X-chromosome files are uploaded.






Some of the genealogies that have been updated recently are the following:

           Genealogy 492, William Graves of VA

           Genealogy 549, Parents of Larkin Graves and Narcissa Hazelwood of TN & IL

           Genealogy 903, Jorge Grave/Greve and Catherine ------ Oldenburg, Germany and Dayton, Montgomery Co., OH


The following new genealogy has been created:

           Genealogy 432






23andMe recently launched a DNA health-screening service in the UK, after it was banned by the FDA in the U.S.  The story is in The Guardian newspaper here.  According to the story, “The service allows people to send their saliva in a testing kit to have their DNA screened for genes associated with certain inherited conditions, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anaemia, and other genetic markers relating to parts of their lives and ancestry.”  “The spit kits cost £125 and are sent to the Netherlands before testing in the US. The results, which take approximately six to eight weeks, allow users to both browse the raw code of their genome and use tools to investigate their genetic makeup.


In the UK, 23andMe is not the first to launch genetic testing.  The NHS’s (Britain’s National Health Service) 100,000 genome project conducts full genome sequencing as opposed to genotyping, which compares common differences in known genes. The NHS’s project, which is set to complete its pilot stage by 2017 as part of analyzing how best to use genomic data in health care, is “world leading”, according to Dr. Ewan Birney, associate director of the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, England.  (See more about the 100,000 genome project here.)


There is more information about 23andMe’s product launch in the article, as well as links to related earlier articles.  Additional articles are here and here.  Debbie Kennett’s Cruwys News blog has an article here.






An interesting news article was posted to the ISOGG list by Marianne Granoff of Albuquerque, NM.  This news, like the mention of the “100,000 genome project” in the preceding article shows how quickly DNA testing and analysis is advancing.  This is very encouraging for the future of genetic genealogy.  The article by Andy Beale is from Albuquerque Business First.  It states:

Los Alamos National Laboratory announced it has released a new version of Sequedex, a powerful bioinformatics software.


The new version of Sequedex is capable of identifying DNA sequences from any type of organism, including fungi, bacteria and viruses. LANL said in a press release that the software works "in a similar fashion to doing a search in a web browser," allowing researchers to quickly find DNA sequences in samples.


The potential applications for this technology are wide-ranging, from selecting therapeutic targets for cancer treatment to optimizing yields of algae farms. The software can also identify diseases, but LANL says in the current version it is only usable for research.


Sequedex is able to classify DNA fragments 250,000 times faster than conventional methods, according to LANL. "As part of our testing, we used Sequedex to identify virus sequences in a collaborator's clinical blood sample from Africa," said Ben McMahon, a scientist in Los Alamos's Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group. "In the course of an afternoon, the software had identified a deadly rabies virus, something that would have taken weeks of work using conventional methods. Sequedex software can now identify sequences from viruses and fungi at parts-per-million levels in a sequenced sample."






A study by Gregory Clark and Neil Cummins called “Surnames and Social Mobility in England, 1170-2012 was recently published in the November 2014 issue of Human Nature.”  The abstract of the paper states: “Using educational status in England from 1170 to 2012, we show that the rate of social mobility in any society can be estimated from knowledge of just two facts: the distribution over time of surnames in the society and the distribution of surnames among an elite or underclass.”


The results of this study was reported in an article titled “How England’s 1% remained the same since 1066.”  The article states, “If your surname reveals that you descended from the “in” crowd in the England of 1066 – the Norman Conquerors – then even now you are more likely than the average Brit to be upper class.”  They found that social status is even more strongly inherited than height.


However, as Peter Alefounder on the GOONS (Guild of One-Name Studies) list said, “The original paper, cited by Rennison Vayro, isn't quite so surprising.  Assortative mating, the result of which is what appears to have been observed here, is nothing new. Is it really a great revelation that it's been going on for centuries? People with similar backgrounds tend to marry each other. The social status of families is therefore maintained, to a greater extent than if people married at random.”


This might help us better understand why we are dependent to some degree on our ancestors.  However, like all generalizations, there are many exceptions.






I received a note from Barbara Lewandowski a couple of months ago, as well as a copy of a book compiled and published in 2005 by her and two of her cousins, Ann Carroll and Jean Lucas.  The 113-page book is titled A. Moses Graves and Florence P. Stephens of Shongo, NY, and is about that couple and their descendants (part of genealogy 166).  In the Introduction they wrote:

“In the course of settling the estate of Maxine Graves [their aunt], we discovered a box of photographs, letters and other documents collected by Maxine and her parents over the years.  This was a total surprise, and as we read the letters we experienced again, through joy and tears, the old feeling of family ties.  Then came the realization we had also inherited an obligation.  The obligation was not only to preserve these documents, but also to preserve a sense of family for future generations.  The result is this historical record.  We have included all the genealogy information to the present time we could assemble.”


My reason for mentioning this book and quoting part of the Introduction is that this kind of family information will be lost if not assembled and published by those who understand it.  Even if most of your family members aren’t especially interested, many future descendants will treasure this record and thank you for it.  I strongly urge all of us (including myself) to gather and publish the records and photographs of our immediate family members before they are discarded by someone cleaning up the mess we leave behind.  And once they are published, be sure that all family members who might have an interest in them receive a copy, as well as any libraries or other repositories that might be interested.


A good reminder of the importance of preserving and sharing family information is a short YouTube video from Family Search, where other related videos can also be found.






The Toronto Star newspaper published an article about an interesting subject on Dec. 10 that you can see here.  It is titled “I don’t have any heirs. So what do I do with my stuff?”  The author, Bill Taylor, doesn’t really provide an answer to this problem, but it is somewhat related to the preceding article on preserving and sharing your family information.  The heirlooms could include genealogical information and pictures, and when you have no heirs, or you do but they aren’t interested, what can you do?


Googling a term such as “what to do with family history and heirlooms” gives some articles that may be helpful regarding this subject.  These include:

           Treasure Tales” in Family Tree Magazine.  This tells about keeping your heirlooms’ legacies from getting lost by writing the stories of their pasts.

           What Do You Plan to Do with Your Old Family Heirlooms?” by Thomas Jay Kemp.

           The Top Ten Ways to Declutter Heirlooms” by Miss Minimalist.

           Family History Heirlooms” by Scott M. Haskins.


Do you have anything to add to this subject?






The Dec. 3, 2014 issue of The Weekly Genealogist (Vol. 17, No. 49, publication of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, viewable here or here), has two references to slavery that may be of interest to those seeking slave ancestors or wanting to learn more about the history of slavery in America.


An article titled “US cathedral may become museum to the slave trade” discusses a plan to open in Providence, RI, what would be the nation’s only museum centered on the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  It would focus on the Episcopal Church’s role in its history and the sometimes-buried legacy of slavery in northern states like Rhode Island.


A second article is in the “Ask A Genealogist” section of the newsletter, and discusses slavery in the North, especially in Connecticut.  One of the references given can be seen here.






For those either not old enough to remember or not living in the UK, the air raids on England in World War II may be unknown.  However, for those with history and ancestors involved in WW2 especially relating to London, this information may be useful.  There is a website called Bomb Sight that pinpoints bomb drops in the London blitz during 7 Oct. 1940 to 6 June 1941.  It starts with a map of London, dotted with bomb locations throughout the city.  You can zoom in on a street, or for something really scary, zoom out to see southeast England blanketed by red pins.  When you zoom in, you can click on a bomb icon for further details.  There is usually a "read more" link in the popup, which leads to 1940 photo images from the area, contributed people's stories relating to this area and more.


Although it may not apply to this map, one commentator on the GOONS (Guild of One-Name Studies) website wrote: “I know from trying to research bombing in the area where I now live that much of the available evidence comes almost into the category of Urban Legends and is very unreliable. Newspaper reports were not to be trusted because many incidents were censored or altered. For instance, I now live near a Starfish Decoy site that simulated a railway junction and attracted some bombs which killed several people, but the fact that bombs were falling on farms rather than the railways was suppressed for obvious reasons.”


There are many more maps and summaries of World War II bombing of England.  One is discussed in a BBC News article, “World War Two Norwich ‘bomb map’ restored”.  More information is available in the National Archives as “Bomb Census survey, 1940-1945.”





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



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