Vol. 16, No. 2, Feb. 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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Click on these links to visit the GFA website and our Facebook page.






** General Comments

** First Big-Y Test Results From FTDNA To Be Posted By Feb. 28

** Using DNA Testing to Find Genealogical Relationships

** Post Your Gedcom at Family Tree DNA

** New Book on Genetic Genealogy

** 23andMe in the News in 2013 and Now

** Follow-up to Planning Your Online Legacy

** American Civil War: Journey Through Hallowed Ground Project

** More on African American Ancestry

** August Genetic Genealogy Conference in Washington, DC

** Why Is There More Or Less Interest in Various Genealogies?

** Viewing TV Programs from Another Country

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






The most important announcement in this issue of the bulletin is probably the one about the first set of results from the new Big Y test from Family Tree DNA.  This is expected to provide a new tool for finding ancestry and connections between parts of related families.  So far only 8 men with the Graves or Greaves surname have taken the Big Y test.  We need many more to do so.


There has also been a lot of interest and activity on our Graves Family Association Facebook page.  It is rapidly approaching 1,000 members, with no indication of slowing growth.  Unfortunately, many of the newer members of the page don’t yet realize the importance of sharing enough information about their Graves/Greaves ancestry and their contact information to maximize the help they can get from me and others.  If you are a member of our Facebook group, please encourage others to provide as much information as possible.






Family Tree DNA has just made an important announcement for DNA testing.  The first set of Big Y test results will be posted by Friday, Feb. 28.  More information can be seen here.  Some of the information from that page is below.  In addition, Roberta Estes just blogged today about what to expect from the Big Y test, and that the first results are being sent today (Feb. 27).


Big Y and future DNA tests like it are important because they provide an additional way to trace male surname ancestry and connect related families.  The only male lineage test previously available is the one that tests for STRs (like the Y-DNA37 test) that mutate fairly frequently, whereas the Big Y test looks for SNPs that are unique to a particular ancestral line and are believed to occur only once.  See the next article for a little more discussion of this.


In addition, on Feb. 28, Family Tree DNA will be hosting a free webinar by Elise Friedman called “Getting to Know Big Y Results.”  This webinar will provide an overview of the Big Y product, as well as demonstrate and explain the Big Y results page in myFTDNA.  The time will be 12:00 PM-1:30 PM, Central Standard Time.  To register, click here.  The webinar will be recorded, so if you cannot attend live, you'll be able to view the recording instead.  Recordings are typically available within 24 hours of the live presentation. You can always see a list of scheduled webinars on the Family Tree DNA webinar page.



The BIG Y product is a direct paternal lineage test. We have designed it to explore deep ancestral links on our common paternal tree. It tests both thousands of known branch markers and millions of places where there may be new branch markers. We intend it for expert users with an interest in advancing science.  It may also be of great interest to genealogy researchers of a specific lineage. It is not however a test for matching you to one or more men with the same surname in the way of our Y-DNA37 and other tests.



We’ll release the first set of BIG Y results by Feb 28th. We are processing samples in first come first serve order. If a sample doesn’t pass quality control, we will place it in the next set of results to be processed as long as we have enough DNA sample. If we require an additional sample, we will send a new test kit and place the new sample in the first set to be processed when it is returned. We expect that all samples ordered in December will be delivered by March 28th. Thereafter we expect an 8 to 10 week turn around time from date of sample receipt.



Sequencing is performed at our state-of-the-art genomics lab and the data is analyzed by our genome informatics team.



Your positive results from the BIG Y test will be included on your Haplotree page as of your haplogroup determination. They will also be shown as a results table on a BIG Y page that may be downloaded to any spreadsheet program.



Both BIG Y and Geno 2.0 test for thousands of paternal lineage branch markers (SNPs). Unlike Geno 2.0 and related technologies though, BIG Y is able to detect new branch markers that are unique to your paternal lineage, surname, or even you.

Geno 2.0 is microarray chip based and programmed for specific SNPs. BIG Y is a next-generation sequence-based test.



Yes, in addition to a list of variants, we will illustrate how your results relate to your branch on the human paternal tree.






There are several ways that we can use DNA test results to figure out how people and various parts of your ancestral lineage are connected.


(1) One is using a Y-DNA test (such as the Y-DNA37 test), which measures STRs (single tandem repeats). With this you look at the values of particular markers in a Y-DNA test that are associated with particular lines. Although STRs can mutate, causing them to not be quite as reliable as we would prefer, they are generally very helpful.  When a test result is inconclusive, sometimes getting everyone in the comparison group to upgrade their test to more markers (in many cases, perhaps to the maximum of 111), a more definitive result will be found because of more markers defining a lineage.  For determining Graves/Greaves ancestry, only men with an unbroken male ancestry back to a Graves/Greaves ancestor can provide the needed information.


(2) A second test has just recently become available. It is testing for SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). These are mutations that generally only occur once throughout history, and were previously thought to occur so infrequently that they would only be useful for ancient lineage. With the advent of the Big Y test from Family Tree DNA (discussed in the preceding article) and whole genome testing, we are finding SNPs within genealogical time, and it is possible that Big Y might find helpful markers for your part of the family.  This test also needs to be taken by a male with an unbroken male ancestral line back to a Graves/Greaves ancestor.


(3) Autosomal testing with Family Finder and other, similar tests can show relationships, although it is less precise than SNP or Y-DNA testing because of the unpredictable inheritance of DNA segments.  An advantage of this test is that it can be taken by anyone and may still be helpful in determining Graves/Greaves ancestry.  Although the analytical tools on Family Tree DNA and the websites of other testing companies may not show Graves/Greaves back very many generations, uploading the raw data to and using the analytical tools there may show matches and ancestral DNA much farther back.


(4) Mitochondrial DNA testing and X-chromosome testing can also be used for tracing ancestry, but are usually not as helpful as the other methods mentioned above.


There are charts on the Graves Family Association website showing Y-DNA (STR) relationships (accessible from the Charts page), and others based on autosomal test results (on the Autosomal DNA page).  I plan to also have charts showing SNP results (including from Big Y), if that turns out to be as helpful as expected.  If anyone sees information that should be added to the charts, please let me know so that I can update them appropriately.






A few months ago Family Tree DNA offered a $10 coupon to any tester who had not uploaded their GEDCOM.  This coupon is good for any test over $49 and there is no expiration date.  It is very important that everyone who is part of the Graves/Greaves DNA project be sure they have a Gedcom and a list of ancestral surnames entered, and that they encourage others to do the same.



Another DNA project manager on the ISOGG list (Emily Aulicino) wrote that she recently went through all her pages of autosomal (Family Finder) matches to see who had a GEDCOM.  She found 152 Gedcoms uploaded out of 652 matches, and at least one person with themselves and their parents uploaded, but nothing more.  She found another person with 3-4 generations, but with only names, no dates or places.  Not a great showing given that many of these people are genealogists.


She went through those 152 Gedcoms and found common ancestors for five of her matches.  Although not a huge number, it’s five more than what she had.  Her next step is to discuss who matches them where they match her as well as look at each of their downloaded DNA segments to determine if others may be connected on the same line.


As more people upload their Gedcoms more common ancestors will be found.  However, those Gedcoms must be as detailed as possible for the best results.  As genealogists, it does little good to call our work done; we must continue filling in the gaps.  Although more and more records are becoming available on the Internet, a good genealogist knows that is not the only resource as most records are still found in the courthouses and various other depositories.



Of my 705 Family Finder matches, only 187 had Gedcoms.  Some of those without Gedcoms had lists of ancestral surnames, but listing surnames is not nearly specific enough.  Of the 27 of those with known Graves/Greaves ancestry, 18 had Gedcoms.  Of my 705 Family Finder matches, about 40% did not even have a list of ancestral surnames, and others had a very incomplete list, meaning that there is no way I can even search for a surname in common.



There are 594 members of the Graves/Greaves DNA project on Family Tree DNA.  Of those, 193 have taken the Family Finder test, and 106 have Gedcoms uploaded.  That leaves 87 (45%) that are missing them.  If you have not yet uploaded a Gedcom and a surname list, I strongly urge you to do so and to urge others to do the same.






A new book called Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond has just been published.  Written by Emily Aulicino, a genetic genealogist, this book will serve as a basic reference guide to understanding genetic genealogy and getting the most from your DNA testing experience.  A good summary can be seen in a Jan. 24 blog article from Roberta Estes, and Emily’s announcement can be read here.






23andMe, the DNA testing company, sent a review of their year on Feb. 1, 2014.  You can see it here.  The page lists the highlight for each month of 2013 for 23andMe or for genetic research.  The significant events for 23andMe included participating in allergy studies and publishing the genetics behind stretch marks, both health related, but nothing specifically for genetic genealogy.  You can see a little more about a couple of the listed items on their media center page.






In the January issue of this bulletin, there was an article on this subject.  On this same subject, Roberta Estes published an article on Jan. 28, 2014, titled “What If You Die?” on her blog, DNAeXplained.  In the article she talks about the death of a friend and genealogy researcher, and the lack of adequate preparation for this event.  The questions and issues that Roberta and the other researchers in the group are struggling with include finding all the information (especially electronic and online information) that was in the care of this person, and finding passwords and other access information.


Some of the actions that can be taken by all of us to help prevent similar problems are:

Š      Make a list of all your genealogical and DNA data and accounts (and the information needed to access that data), and share this with at least one other person.

Š      Put someone else’s email address on DNA testing accounts as an alternate.

Š      Complete the beneficiary form at Family Tree DNA if you have an account there.

Š      Consider giving permission for the project administrator at Family Tree DNA to complete the beneficiary form and do other tasks that might be needed in the future.






The American Civil War is an event that continues to capture the attention of many and haunt our memory.  The older generation still remembers the annual reunions of the GAR and CSA veterans, until there was none left.  An article in the blog of Jan. 27, 2014, was titled “Journey Through Hallowed Ground and the Living Legacy Project.”  According to this article, approximately 620,000 men lost their lives during this war.  An article in Wikipedia states that it was “the deadliest war in American history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 750,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. Historian John Huddleston estimates the death toll at ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years old, and 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40.”  More than 400,000 others were estimated as having been wounded.  (The Wikipedia article and numbers are the result of a study discussed in a 2012 article in the New York Times.


According to this blog article: “Memorializing each of those who were lost is an enormous task, and it’s one that Journey Through Hallowed Ground (JTHG) has undertaken. JTHG seeks to raise awareness of the history and heritage in the 180-mile corridor running from Gettysburg to Monticello. Part of this program is the Living Legacy Project, which will plant one tree along the corridor for each of the 620,000 who fell during the war. Those 620,000 trees will create the world’s longest landscaped alley. Ancestry and Fold3 are pleased to be partnering with Journey Through Hallowed Ground to create this living tribute.”  JTHG, Ancestry and Fold3 are working with teachers to help them incorporate researching the lives of the Civil War fallen into their curriculum.”


If you can’t find an individual in the 1870 U.S. census, this is one of the major reasons why.







A conference called “The African Diaspora: Integrating Culture, Genomics and History” was held at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC, in September. 2013.  The videos from that conference are now available free by clicking here.  Roberta Estes called this to our attention in an article on her blog, DNAeXplained.



February is Black History Month.  In recognition of that, Fold3 is offering free access to all publications in its Black History Collection through the end of February.



An article of Feb. 13, 2014 in an blog may be of some help.  You can see it here.



YouTube has an amazing variety of interesting and helpful videos.  Clicking on this link for a 30-minute video on African American Family History Research will also take you to a list of many other videos, mostly from






The Institute for Genetic Genealogy is pleased to announce the 2014 International Genetic Genealogy Conference, which will be held August 15-17 in Washington, DC at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center.  An outstanding group of genetic genealogists and population geneticists have agreed to speak at this conference.  Representatives from all of the major genetic genealogy companies have agreed to give presentations.  Dr. Spencer Wells, who heads the National Geographic Genographic Project, will be the keynote speaker.


The main portion of the conference will be held on August 16 and 17.  Family Tree DNA will hold a workshop in the evening on August 15.  Other genetic genealogy companies possibly will also be holding workshops on August 15 during the afternoon.  Click here for details about the conference and to register for it.  The registration fee for the conference will be $85.  Meals and lodging will be available at the conference center but must be purchased at least one month in advance.  For a preliminary conference schedule, click here.  Descriptions of the presentations and biographical background about the speakers are here.  A PDF version of the flyer about the conference is here.


A complete list of the speakers and their presentations is as follows:


1. representative - DNA products

2.     Jim Bartlett - Getting the Most of Your Autosomal DNA Matches and Triangulation , an Essential Tool to Sort out Your Matches and Map Your DNA

3.     Terry Barton - Surname Project Administration

4.     Dr. Blaine Bettinger - Using Free Third-party Tools to Analyze Your Autosomal DNA

5.     Angie Bush - DNA Case Studies

6.     Rebekah Canada - Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup H

7.     Shannon Christmas - Identity by Descent: Using DNA to Extend the African-American Pedigree

8.     Karin Corbeil, Diane Harman-Hoog, and Rob Warthen - Not Just for Adoptees – Methods and Tools for Working with Autosomal DNA from the Team at

9.     Family Tree DNA representative - FTDNA Products

10.  Dr. Maurice Gleeson - An Irish Approach to Autosomal DNA Matches

11.  Katherine Hope-Borges - ISOGG

12.  Bill Hurst - Mitochondrial DNA Focusing on Haplogroup K

13.  Dr. Tim Janzen - Using Chromosome Mapping to Help Trace Your Family Tree

14.  Dr. Kathy Johnston - From X Segments to Success Stories: The Use of the X Chromosome in Genetic Genealogy

15.  Thomas Krahn - I've Received my Y Chromosome Sequencing Results - What Now?

16.  Dr. Doug McDonald - Understanding Autosomal Biogeographical Ancestry Results

17.  23andMe representative - 23andMe Features

18.  CeCe Moore - The Four Types of DNA Used in Genetic Genealogy

19.  Dr.  Ken Nordtvedt - Y Haplogroup I — Very Early Europeans?

20.  Dr. Ugo Perego - Native American Ancestry through DNA Analysis

21.  Dr. David Pike- The Use of Phasing in Genetic Genealogy

22.  Bonnie Schrack - Y chromosome Haplogroups A and B

23.  Larry Vick - Using Y-DNA to Reconstruct a Patrilineal Tree

24.  Debbie Parker Wayne- Mitochondrial DNA: Tools and Techniques for Genealogy

25.  Dr. Spencer Wells - the Genographic Project

26.  Dr. Jim Wilson- Chromo 2 test and Y chromosome research






Jack Graves asked the question in the GFA Facebook group: “Would you know why there are so many of us in genealogy 270?”  My answer was that I don’t know, but I can speculate on the reasons, which include the following:

Š        Maybe there are more descendants of genealogy 270 in the U.S.  We don’t know how many total descendants of each known ancestor there are; we just know how many we have in each genealogy, and genealogy 270 is the largest followed by genealogy 166, but the size of the genealogies is partly determined by how much effort has been spent in researching and compiling the genealogies.  The latest version of the Facebook Member file shows 50 people for gen. 270, 48 for gen. 169, 30 for gen. 168, and 25 for gen. 166.  Those were all for immigrants who arrived in the U.S. in the 1600’s.

Š        People in some areas of the U.S. and in some countries are more interested in family history than people elsewhere.

Š        Genealogy and DNA testing is perceived differently in different areas, especially in the U.S. versus Europe.

Š        People in some areas or descended from some genealogies may feel that they already know everything there is to know about their family history.

Š        Descendants of some families may feel this Facebook group and the GFA are less apt to be of help to them.  For instance, those descended from German ancestry such as gen. 105 might feel that this is all about families from England, and people in England might feel this is all about American families.

Š        Less research has been done for some families, so fewer people know of their descent from those families.


A more general question is why are the members of the group not in proportion to their relative frequencies in the general population?  Why aren’t there more members from genealogies 166, 168, and 169, all of which were in America from the early 1600s?  I don’t know the answer to that either, but the reasons are probably similar to those for the first question.


Do any of you have any additional thoughts about this?






Often programs are “blacked out” for TV viewers from another country, or even from another part of the same country (e.g., sports events), and some parts of websites are not available to people accessing from some locations.  To get around this limitation, the easiest way may be to use a VPN (virtual private network), which creates an encrypted link between your computer and a remote server somewhere else.  With a VPN, you appear as a computer located wherever the VPN gateway is located, rather than as a computer at your actual location.  With a VPN, everything you send and receive over this link is encrypted, providing much more security and protectors from hackers than not using one.  This encryption is especially valuable when accessing the Internet from public networks in airports, hotels, and other public networks.  This also allows you to avoid much of the tracking by government agencies and commercial websites.


A VPN gateway in the United Kingdom will allow someone in another country to watch Who Do You Think You Are? and other TV programs and videos that normally are available only to U.K. residents.


One good VPN choice is called Private Internet Access, or PIA. This is a service offered by a small company simply known as, located in the United States. However, the company has access to VPN gateways in ten different countries, including Canada, two different locations in the U.K., plus single locations in Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany, Romania, and Hong Kong as well as in several locations around the United States. You can create a VPN connection to any of those locations, and your connection on the Internet will appear as an I.P. address located in that country. guarantees that your connections will never be logged. Once you finish your online session and disconnect from, no record of your usage will ever be saved. claims their VPN services unblock censorship filters, and that their software features one-click installers, allowing the service to be enabled immediately.  The process is simple on both Windows and Macintosh systems.  Installation on other systems such as  iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, Android, Unix, etc., may require some configuration changes within the operating systems.


The cost of Private Internet Access is $6.95 a month or $39.95 a year.  You can learn more or even download the Private Internet Access software by clicking here.


Consumers use a private VPN service, also known as a VPN tunnel, to protect their online activity and identity. By using an anonymous VPN service, a user's Internet traffic and data remain encrypted, which prevents eavesdroppers from sniffing Internet activity.  A VPN service is especially useful when accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots because the public wireless services might not be secure. In addition to public Wi-Fi security, a private VPN service also provides consumers with uncensored Internet access and can help prevent data theft and unblock websites.



A discussion of VPNs and suggestions on selecting a VPN is in an article in Lifehacker here.  Private Internet Access tops their list, and is perhaps the best choice for effectiveness and price.


An article in PCWorld gives a good summary of the benefits of using a VPN, and a few suggestions for selecting one.





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



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If you do not already belong to the GFA, you can join by sending $20 per year to Graves Family Association, 20 Binney Circle, Wrentham, MA 02093 (more details on GFA website).  Payment may also be sent electronically to via PayPal.



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