Vol. 16, No. 8, Aug. 11, 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

** Graves Gathering in Arlington, VA, Sunday, August 17

** Sorting Out the Descendants of William Graves and Sarah Fisher, Genealogy 270 or Genealogy 94?

** Finding Content and Navigating in the GFA Website

** Video About Surname Creation in Various Countries

** Stuff About SNP Testing

** Benefits and Shortcomings of Autosomal DNA Testing

** Finding and Refining Autosomal DNA Matches on Family Finder from FTDNA

** Are Family Characteristics Passed On From Our Ancestors?

** Changing Boundaries of Countries in Europe

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






As usual, there are many subjects and much additional research results that I would have liked to include in the issue of the GF Bulletin, but there are never enough hours in the day.


The most urgent article is about the Graves meeting for descendants of any Graves or Greaves family this coming Sunday in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC.  Be sure to attend if you possibly can, and encourage others to attend also.  I would love to see you there.






A meeting of the Graves Family Association Mid-Atlantic chapter (GFAMAC) will be held Sunday, August 17th, 2:45 PM to 6:00 PM, at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA.  Ken Graves will be the featured speaker.  As with the July meeting in Texas, this will be for all Graves/Greaves families.  Refreshments will be available before and during the meeting.


Registration starts at 2:45 PM, followed by introductions at 3:00 PM, and the main program at 3:30-6:00 PM (consisting of presentations, discussions, and questions.  If you are interested in attending, contact John Graves, GFAMAC Coordinator, for further information and directions.






According to the information in genealogy 270: “William Graves (40) was born about 1755 in Culpeper Co., VA, and died in 1833 at the old home place in Mackville, Washington Co., KY.  It is possible that his full name was William Thomas Graves, but there is no proof of that.  He married Sarah Fisher of Culpeper Co., VA, possibly on 22 Dec. 1790 (although there is some belief that that is the marriage date to a second wife).

It was previously believed that the son Thomas was Thomas Sims Graves, born 13 July 1794 in Culpeper Co., VA, died 6 May 1859 in Nelson Co., KY, who first married Harriet R. Gist and married second Mary E. Graves.  Through DNA analysis, it has been conclusively proven that Thomas Sims Graves was neither a descendant of Capt. Thomas Graves (genealogy 169) nor of genealogy 270.  Uriah Noah Graves was also confirmed by DNA testing to be a brother of Thomas Sims Graves, and both have been put in genealogy 94.  Both these men were sons of a William Graves.  The birth date of William Graves has been given as about 1755 by some researchers and about 1776 by others, and he has been listed with different wives and different children.  The most likely answer to this confusion is that there are two different men named William Graves.  We need to separate the two families and perform DNA testing on any lines that are still questionable.  It is likely that some of the other children listed below also belong in genealogy 94.”


I had hoped to be able to write a fairly complete discussion of the research and effort that has been put into separating these families by Debra (“Deb”) Lowe and others, but I have not been able to spend the time to do that.  Perhaps one or more of those involved in this effort can summarize the effort and the results so far.  If so, I will be happy to include it in a future issue of this bulletin.







When you go to the GFA website at, there are a number of tabs at the top of the page. When you move your cursor over any of those tabs, a drop-down menu will display.  When you move your cursor to the Research tab, one of the menu links displayed will be "Genealogies, Numerical Listing and Charts".  On that Charts page, you can go to any of the genealogies, and then on the line for each genealogy will be a link to the actual genealogy and sometimes a link to a chart for that genealogy (if there is a chart). Also, at the end of the line for each genealogy will be an indication of whether that genealogy is part of a related group. If it is part of a group, you can click on the link to take you farther down the page to the group section, which may have additional charts showing how the genealogies in the group may be related to each other.


There is also an alphabetical index of genealogies, also accessible from the Research drop-down tab.


If you know the genealogy number that you are looking for, you can always go directly to it by using the URL (address of the website page), where xxx should be replaced by the genealogy number.  (For numbers less than 100, put a zero in front of the number to make it three digits.)



A question asked on the GFA Facebook page:

Where is the chart for Francis Graves (genealogy 220) with all the yellow squares with name & kit number, and my DNA match? I know you put Francis in genealogy group 228. I have a copy of the original Francis chart, but the names and numbers are too small to read. Where can I find my cousins and me?


My response (with additions) was:

The Y-DNA charts can all be found and accessed from the Charts page (also called the Genealogies, Numerical Listing & Charts page) of the GFA website. Just go to the GFA website, hover over the Research drop-down tab at the top of the page, click on the Numerical Listing link, search for genealogy 220 or just scroll down to it, and click on the Chart link. I know that some of the large charts are very difficult to read because some PDF readers won't magnify more that 400%, but I don't presently know a good way for everyone to avoid that problem. For those who use the Safari browser on a Mac, there is no problem. Perhaps using another browser would provide more magnification.


When you print a large chart on one sheet of paper, the numbers will always be too small to read.  A solution to that is to look at the chart online.  If you want to have a readable hard copy of the large chart, take or send a PDF of the chart to a place that will print on larger size paper (such as an office supply store) and have them print it for you.


When looking at charts online, sometimes the print is too small because it can’t be enlarged enough.  On my Mac, FireFox and Chrome only magnify to 400%, and the printing on some of the charts is too small to easily read.  However, Safari on my Mac displays the images much larger, and all charts can be easily read.  Most browsers use an external PDF reader, so it is possible that using a reader other than Adobe might be better for those browsers.  Here is a link to some other readers in case anyone would like to try this.  However, some browsers have their own internal PDF reader.  I think FireFox is in that category. In that situation it is still possible to use another reader but a little more complicated to set it up.  Can anyone tell me a way to get more magnification of the charts for everyone?


On a Windows 7 computer that has both Internet Explorer and FireFox, Firefox zooms to 6400% and IE zooms to 1000%.  Chrome also zooms to a reasonable level, probably about 1000%.



In addition to the indexes mentioned above, there is a search feature on the main page of the GFA website that will let you search all genealogies or the entire website.  Toward the top left of the main page is a rectangular green box that says “click here to search website.”  When you click it, you get two options.  The top one is “Search the Graves Family Association website”, which lets you search for any string of characters on the entire site.  Below that is “Click to search genealogies.”  When you click that you can search for a name of a Graves descendant, a date associated with that person (date of birth, death or marriage), and the name of the person’s spouse.  The information entered in any of these three fields must be exactly the way the information appears in the genealogy, however, so sometimes it is better to enter less information rather than more.  For instance if Thomas Alexander Graves married Mary Smith in July 1836, and I searched for Thomas Smith and spouse Mary Smith, I wouldn’t find them, whereas if I just entered Thomas and spouse Smith, I would find them (and perhaps a couple of others also).






The Gens Video Web (The Genealogy Channel) is an interesting educational website that I wasn’t previously aware of.  A very good video about the history of surnames and surname creation in many different countries can be found on the main page of the website or by clicking here.  There are several other videos on this website also.







Blaine Bettinger wrote in his blog article of 13 June 2014: “Big Y is the name given to the incredible Y-DNA test that sequences 11-12 million base pairs of the Y Chromosome in order to characterize known SNPs and to identify novel SNPs.”   [This test] “is already being used to find so-called “family specific” Y-DNA SNPs and will help genealogists further refine the Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree. Additionally, Family Tree DNA just launched cousin matching using Big Y results! This is a huge development, being able to find genetic cousins based on SNP testing.”



Full Genomes Corporation was founded in 2013 to make next generation sequencing technology available for the DTC (direct to consumer) market focusing on the Y chromosome. The founders are well known citizen scientists and active in the genetic genealogy community. The headquarters are in Rockville, Maryland, in the USA.  More information can be seen on their website by clicking here or on their Facebook page here.


FGC introduced this service DTC (direct to consumer) in spring 2013. Key information:

         $1,099 USD

         Sequencing is provided by the BGI in Hong Kong.

         Raw data (BAM file): Read length 100 base pairs, coverage 50x, approximately 20-25 million bp are called from the ca. 58 million Y-chromosome bp (the centromere and the huge q12 region are not included), ca. 14 million bp with reliable mappings (high quality SNPs)

         SNP Report: approx. 1000 SNPs reported, check for known Y-SNPs, Y-DNA haplogroup assignment, Report of private (new) SNPs, in common haplogroups 25-40 private SNPs are found

         Y-STR Report: 300+ Y chromosome STRs (Markers)

         Approx. 99% coverage of the mtDNA sequence



The main reason to do it is to find "family specific" Y-DNA SNPs that will allow us to verify existing lineages and relationships, and to connect families that we know have common Graves ancestry but where the connection is not known. For instance, I suspect that Joel Graves of NY (genealogy 214) is descended from John Graves of Concord, MA (gen. 166), but as far as I know the connection (if that is the connection) is unknown. The Big Y test isn't the final answer to finding answers to problems like that, but it is a step in that direction. The current Y-DNA testing (using STRs) is not going to get us there, but I believe that SNP testing will eventually be the answer to many, if not most, of the desired connecting. Another short-term problem, of course, is that we need to get enough other people to do SNP testing so that we all have enough to compare our results to.


As new SNPs are discovered in the future, more testing will be needed to see who has which SNPs that will allow families and lines within families to be differentiated.


I have recently posted a chart on the GFA website that shows an early example of where finding a previously unknown SNP on my own line (gen. 270) has allowed differentiation between two different branches of that Graves family. You can see that by going to the GFA website, clicking on the Y-DNA link on the DNA drop-down menu at the top of the page, and then clicking on the link for "R Group Chart." My results are in the R1-047 group at the bottom of that chart.






The good things about autosomal DNA testing are:

         Anyone can take the test (unlike Y-DNA testing that only males can take).

         It tests all your ancestral lines.

         It finds many previously unknown cousins for almost everyone.

         It is often the only way to find or confirm descent from a particular ancestor.


The bad things about autosomal DNA testing (including limitations of testing at only one company) are:

         It usually doesn’t find many cousins beyond 5 or 6 generations back

         When you are looking for specific ancestry (such as Graves or Greaves), only a small percentage of distant cousins descended from that ancestor will show up as matches.

         Doing the work to try to match the known surname of matches with specific DNA segments (to be confident that the matches really are on a particular surname) is time consuming.  Creating a maintaining a spreadsheet is essential.

         The testing companies only count other people as matches when they have more than a certain amount of TOTAL DNA in common.  That means that it is possible for people to be relatively close matches with others on one specific line and not have it picked up as a match.  At present, the easiest way to find this kind of match is to download your test results from the website of the company where you tested and upload your results to

         By testing at one company, you will only get matches with people who test at that company.  Also, each company has different tools for getting value from your tests.  You can maximize your matches and the ability to learn more about your results by testing at more than one company.


Your chances of finding matches decrease as the relationship with related people gets more remote.  The following table gives the probability of finding a match from autosomal DNA.  You should be aware that these numbers are averages, that some people will be more or less likely to find distant ancestors than these numbers indicate.  You can see these numbers and some additional discussion in the Family Tree DNA Learning Center here.  You can find even more help at the FTDNA Learning Center here.


Cousin Relationship

Number of Generations Back

Match Probability

2nd or closer












6th and more distant




As stated in an ISOGG wiki entry here, “An understanding of autosomal DNA statistics is helpful when trying to understand results from an autosomal DNA test.  This discussion includes the amount of DNA shared by various relatives, and other helpful information.


The same wiki article states: “The degree of sharing is measured by the testing companies in units of genetic distance known as centiMorgans, although in practice it is not the total number of centiMorgans which is more significant but the length and number of shared segments.”


A helpful article for various aspects of autosomal DNA testing, titled “Organizing Your Autosomal DNA Information with a Spreadsheet,” written by Jim Bartlett, was published in January 2014 in Kitty Cooper’s Blog.  Additional comments relating to organizing results in a spreadsheet are in the comments to this article.






The following is taken from the Family Tree DNA Learning Center.


The Family Finder – Matches page is the main place to view your matching genetic cousins from the Family Finder test. The page has two sections. The top Filter section is where you can filter your matches. The bottom Matches section is where you can view your matches. You also have the option to download your Family Finder matches using the buttons at the bottom of the page. The downloaded files are in CSV or Excel format.


         Character Card - This is an overview of information about your match. It includes:

         Their name

         Their picture if they have uploaded it

         A link to their personal profile. Click on their picture to view their profile

         A link to their e-mail address

         A link to add/view a note

         GEDCOM/Family Tree (if available)

         Match Date – This is when we matched you and your genetic cousin in the Family Tree DNA database.

         Relationship Range - Family Finder predicts that your actual relationship is highly likely to fall within these upper and lower limits.

         Known Relationship – Set (assign) your relationship based on traditional genealogical records. This is a two-step process; once one of you has set the relationship the other person needs to confirm it.

         Shared cM – This is the sum of the autosomal DNA given in centiMorgans (cM) that you and your genetic match share.

         Ancestral Surnames – These are your matches’ surnames that they have added. If both you and your match have added ancestral surnames, those you have in common are shown in bold.


Each match’s profile expands to Advanced View by clicking on the bar under their Character Card. Advanced View contains the following information.


         Triangulate – Compare your match to find which genetic cousins are in common or not in common.

         Tests Taken – These are the standard tests that your match has taken.

         Compare in Chromosome Browser – Select up to 5 people to view in the Chromosome Browser.

         Longest Block - This is the largest DNA segment given in centiMorgans (cM) you and your genetic match share.

         Maternal and Paternal Haplogroups - Testing levels for their Family Finder, mtDNA, and standard Y-DNA tests. Note that this indicates they have tested and not that they match you. You may check for them as a match on the respective matches page or on the Advanced Matches page.






In a couple of recent issues of the Journal of One-Name Studies (vol. 11, issues 9 and 11, magazine of the Guild of One-Name Studies) were articles by Michael Stonehewer about a facial survey project.  As a result of interest in the subject, there was much discussion on the GOONS email list about whether facial and other characteristics are passed on from generation to generation and whether it is possible to identify a living person’s ancestry by their appearance.


At various genealogical and family gatherings I have heard this subject discussed.  My general opinion on this is that much of it is “wishful thinking”, that is, seeing similarities because you want to see them and ignoring those characteristics that tend to disprove what you want to believe.


One person in the GOONs discussion wrote: “I can't see that recognizable facial features can go very far down a surname tree, given the "dilution" by lots of women, and the fact that the Y chromosome doesn't carry many genes apart from the sex determinant.  The famous "Habsburg Jaw" may be considered as the exception that proves the rule, as they were grossly inbred, so the unfortunate child got a cocktail of similar autosomal DNA from both sides.


What is possibly more likely is a tendency to "assortative mating," i.e. men having a preference (subconscious in most cases) for women with facial features like their own. . Thus, facial features might be more persistent down a tree than would otherwise be the case. However, I know that some, mainly Freudians, have suggested the opposite - choosing someone quite unlike your mother or sister, as a sort of unconscious incest taboo  to prevent inbreeding.”


Another person responded: “I think it is possible to make a bit too much of connecting facial features with a surname. Such features are without doubt inherited, but just as much from all the other ancestors with different surnames. If you are going to do a proper comparison, you should consider those as well, and expect to find just as many startling resemblances.”


A commentator on another forum wrote: “I am as much my mother's son as my father's, and I believe that with each generation the family face is forever changed.”



Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), English novelist and poet, wrote the two-stanza poem below, calling it Heredity.  Although this was used in the GOONS discussion as pertaining to inherited traits and is often viewed that way, it appears that he is not really talking about himself and inherited physical traits but about the insuperable "eternal thing" in Mankind, the force that drives generations, perpetuates the species and outlives individuals.


I am the family face;

Flesh perishes, I live on,

Projecting trait and trace

Through time to times anon,

And leaping from place to place

Over oblivion.


The years-heired feature that can

In curve and voice and eye

Despise the human span

Of durance -- that is I;

The eternal thing in man,

That heeds no call to die


Another perspective on this poem is by Claire Yates on the blog of the Reader Organisation.  When she originally read this poem, she “liked the idea that such a short poem could encapsulate such a vast stretch of time: the whole of man’s existence so far- and beyond.  Looking at it now, with a more seasoned and experienced eye, I can see that the idea of qualities and traits being passed on through perpetuity is not necessarily all to the good. Many people have no idea of their family histories, including illnesses and conditions that could affect them in life. Others know their families all too well, and perhaps do not want to emulate them in any way. However, I like to think that, rather than this portraying the negative aspects and frailties of human nature it does, in fact, celebrate the better parts of mankind: resilience in the face of adversity, resourcefulness and ingenuity, the desire to survive. It is, for me, a poem that tingles with possibilities, and leapfrogs over death and loss to carry on running.”






A article on 6 Aug. 2014 in Michael Leclerc’s genealogy blog on Mocavo was titled “Chasing National Boundaries on the European Map” and is here.  He discussed the problems caused by constantly changing national boundaries, the creation of new countries, and the disappearance of others.  He emphasized the importance of getting as much information as possible about the place of interest that you are looking for.


Much more information on this subject can be found by searching for “maps of changing boundaries in Europe” or some similar search.  When I did a search, some of the sites I found were: the one on the Daily Mail website, the Vicchi website, and a Wikipedia article.


A completely different kind of map can be found here.  It shows changing boundaries from before 900 BC to the present from a genetic viewpoint.  The Worldology website containing this map is interesting and describes its content as “The People, Nations & Events that have shaped our world.”





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



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