Vol. 17, No. 3, April 28, 2015


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 © 2015 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** General Comments

** Proverbs From the Guild of One-Name Studies

** Unique DNA and Family History Event In NY City

** Special Offer From Family Tree DNA

** New Source for British History

** Updates to the GFA Website

** Interesting Observation About Y-DNA Testing

** More Help for Those Researching African-American Families

** Architect Michael Graves Has Died

** Discussion of How We’re All Related

** New Feature for AncestryDNA

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






This is the first issue of this bulletin since Feb. 16.  I hope you find it helpful and interesting.  Note the special offer from Family Tree DNA for a Big Y test, expiring the end of April.






The following are a couple of genealogy-related proverbs recently quoted on the Guild of One-Name Studies (GOONS) mailing list.


"To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook

without a source, a tree without a root."

- Chinese Proverb


"If you are the last living link

Between your grandparents and your grandchildren,

Don't break the chain."

- unknown






Family Tree DNA issued an announcement on March 23 of the first-ever gathering that will bring together genetically linked people.  The announcement said: “Family Tree DNA is proud to offer you an opportunity to deepen your understanding of your genetic past and meet your cousins from around the world - and have a blast doing it!

Family Tree DNA has partnered with The Global Family Reunion to put on a unique event: the first-ever gathering that brings together genetically linked people.  While at the gathering, you will get to hear from top scientists and entertainers on all aspects of DNA and family.”  There was an early-bird registration price, but that was only good through April 1.  The event will be June 6, 2015 in the New York Hall of Science, New York City.


All proceeds from the Global Family Reunion go to benefit the Cure Alzheimer's Fund and the Alzheimer's Association NYC.

If you can't make it to New York, there will be simultaneous festivals around the world with a livestream of the speakers.

The Global Family Reunion will be an entertaining, eye-opening festival for all ages - a TED conference meets a World's Fair - so bring your kids, nephews, grandkids, and grandparents.  All proceeds from the event go toward fighting Alzheimer's disease.


What can you expect at Global Family Reunion?

    See more than 30 top speakers with fascinating presentations on genetics and family heritage, including Henry Louis Gates of PBS's Finding Your Roots, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, NPR host Scott Simon, and Family Tree DNA President Bennett Greenspan

    Meet thousands of cousins and figure out how you are related

    Explore more than 450 interactive science exhibits from the New York Hall of Science

    Enjoy live entertainment, including music by Sister Sledge, who will be singing "We Are Family," of course.  There will also be comedy from The New Yorker's Andy Borowitz and comedian Nick Kroll

    Take part in family-themed trivia contests, scavenger hunts, games, and potato sack races for those who are bold

    Help build the biggest family tree ever

    Meet the staff from Family Tree DNA, as well as Family Tree DNA partners such as MyHeritage and Findmypast, and get exclusive tutorials

     Break world records, including the biggest family photo ever






On April 24, 2015, Family Tree DNA sent the following announcement:


DNA Day 2015 is here!  Every year students, teachers, and the public take this day to learn more about genetics and genomics!  

Celebrate advances in the field of genetics with a Family Finder test, and don't forget to tune in to CBS Sunday Morning this Sunday, 4/26/2015 for an exciting DNA segment!

Family Tree DNA is looking forward to offering many exciting deals beginning summer 2015.  This DNA Day, use coupon code DNADayBigY to take $100 off Big Y.  This coupon is valid from 12:00 AM 4/25/2015 through 11:59 PM 4/30/2015.


The following image was included to answer the question of “Why take the Big Y test?”  Although it is still fairly early in the use of SNPs to determine the relationship of parts of the Graves and Greaves families to each other, and the positioning of individuals within family, this test is an important step along that road.  Taking this test is encouraged.  Only males can take this test since only they have Y-chromosomes.







A website called “Intriguing History” may be of interest to those of you who have British ancestry.  It connects people, events and places by period, century, and a wide range of historic themes, across 2,000 years of British history (although their website says 1,000 years).  This is a project that is experimenting with mapping and connecting historical information across a wide range of British historical themes of particular interest to family, local and social historians.  In addition to blog articles on various subjects, the site map provides links to a series of periods in history, historic themes, maps, etc.






The genealogies listed below have been revised or created.  Note that some of the Grieve and Grieves genealogies in this list pertain to the Grieve/Grieves article in the previous GF Bulletin.  Whenever the name of a genealogy is changed or a new genealogy is added to the website, the numerical index (charts page) is also updated.  The alphabetical index is often also updated, but (unfortunately) not always.


Genealogies recently revised and updated:

     Gen. 10, Elijah Graves of U.S. and Ontario, Canada

     Gen. 97, William Graves and Tabitha Sanders of NC & AL

     Gen. 157, Parents of George Clinton Graves of Lynchburg, VA

     Gen. 168, Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT & Hatfield, MA

     Gen. 218, Warren Graves and Harriette ------ of Caswell Co. & Rockingham Co., NC

     Gen. 447, Alexander Grieve and Marion Gibson of Borthwick, Temple, and Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

     Gen. 636, Parents of Alfred Graves and Emily ------ of NC, VA & OH (probably part of gen. 22)

     Gen. 789, Alfred Graves and Annie May Walden Spoon of Randolph Co., NC


New genealogies created:

     Gen. 435, William Grieve and Ann Patterson of Ceres, Fife, Scotland

     Gen. 446, John Grieve of Dumfriesshire, Scotland

     Gen. 459, James Grieves and Helin Williamson of St. Andrews and St. Leonards, Fife, Scotland

     Gen. 460, James Grieve and Margaret Wood of Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland






It was recently pointed out on the ISOGG mailing list that men who are Y-DNA matches may occasionally be in different Y-haplogroups (although I am not aware of that ever happening in the Graves DNA project).  When that happens, the men are not actually descended from a common ancestor within genealogical time (that is, within the time that surnames have been in use).  The explanation for that is called “convergent evolution.”  (A Y-haplogroup as discussed here is defined as the most recent SNP that all members of a surname group share.)


Convergent evolution is defined in biology as the independent evolution of similar features in species of different lineages.  This term may not be technically appropriate when applied to Y-DNA test results, but what is meant is that the Y-DNA markers that were tested in two different men were the same (or almost the same) by chance (similar to the situation with autosomal DNA results where two DNA segments are said to be “identical by state”).


Although this situation is probably unusual, it is one reason why testing more STR (single tandem repeat) markers is sometimes a good idea.  It is also a reminder that the ultimate test for Y-DNA matching may someday be testing SNPs (single nucleotide polymorhisms).  We have generally not yet found SNPs that distinguish one surname family from another, however, but I am expecting we will eventually have that ability.



On the Y-DNA master chart for the Graves/Greaves DNA study, there is a column for haplogroup.  A haplogroup in green has been confirmed by SNP testing, and one in red are predicted from STR values.  If a red haplogroup does not agree with other haplogroups in a genealogy group, that should not be taken as proof that the test with the red haplogroup does not belong in that genealogy group until the haplogroup is confirmed.  The other thing to understand about the haplogroups within a genealogy group is that the listing of a different SNP in the haplogroup does not necessarily mean that the haplogroups are different, since one of those SNPs is usually downstream (that is, more recent) from the other.  For example, genealogy group R1-168 for the Graves families of the Hertford/Harlow area of England (genealogies 65, 168, 169, etc.) has haplogroups R-M269, R-U106, R-M173, R-L21, and R-P311.  If you look at the Y-DNA SNP chart for haplogroup R on the Graves Family Association website here (chart just updated), you will see that L21 is downstream from P311, which is downstream from M269, which is downstream from M173.  But U106 is also downstream from P311, and U106 and L21 are indeed different haplogroups.  So either the sample with U106 or the one with L21 doesn’t belong in this group, or one of them is wrong.  Since L21 is green, the U106 is the one that should be checked.  In addition, since the U106 sample is a close match to 5 other samples in this group, at least one other should also be confirmed, since the STR test results of all 6 of these samples are significantly different from the rest of this group to indicate that they may not really belong in the group.



Although many SNPs can be tested for individually, the best thing for a person to do whose haplogroup needs to be confirmed is to order a Deep Clade test at Family Tree DNA.  In the R1-168 group discussed in the preceding paragraph, the haplogroups of only 2 tests have been confirmed.


It can be seen in the Graves/Greaves Y-DNA master chart that hardly any of the haplogroup assignments have been confirmed.  At least a few people in every genealogy group should order a Deep Clade test or specific SNPs to extend the line closer to the present and differentiate the families from each other.



For those of you who have not looked at this chart  (mentioned above in the R1-168 discussion) on the GFA website, it is a greatly simplified version of the complete R-haplotree that needs to be greatly enhanced by much more testing by Graves/Greaves male descendants.  The present version is shown below and on the GFA website.







In its blog of 27 Feb. 2015, had an article called “Restoring Slave Families Using USCT Pension Records”.  This is a resource for learning more about those who served in the U.S. Colored Troops and applied for a pension.  The government generally requested much documentation, and there can be up to 100 pages in some of these files.  There are options to request a “Pension Documents Packet,” which contains only 8 documents or to order the entire pension file; the recommendation is to request the entire file if you can afford it.


On March 2, the blog had an article titled “Rich Finds in Freedman’s Bank Records, 1865-1874.”  The article mentions the information that might be found in these records and how to search them.


All archived articles are available on this blog, and can be found by searching by category, date, subject, or name.



Vita Brevis is a blog of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, designed to offer the reader short essays by the Society’s expert staff on their own research as well as news of the greater genealogical community.  A brief article dated 24 Feb. 2015 on Vita Brevis is called “Researching Your African American Family.”  This is a fairly new blog, and searching for other articles of interest by a couple methods is easy to do.



A free webinar called “African American Resources at NEHGS” took place on Thursday, March 26, 3 p.m. EST.  They will probably be having other events like this in the future.






Celebrated American architect Michael Graves has died at 80 years of age.  Known for creating whimsical postmodern structures, he designed more than 350 buildings around the world.  He became well known to the masses later in life for designing products for people with disabilities and household goods such as whistling teakettles sold at Target and other stores.  He died of natural causes at his home in Princeton, NJ, on Thursday, March 12.


More information is in articles in USA Today and the New York Times.  Another article about some of those more personally affected by Michael Graves was in the Town Topics community newspaper in Princeton, NJ.  He is included on the page of Famous Family Members on the Graves Family Association website.  He is in genealogy 94 (Thomas Sims Graves of Culpeper Co., VA), which is probably descended from genealogy 220 (Francis Graves of VA), and before that from genealogy 228.







We all generally know that because of extensive intermarriage within populations, anyone whose ancestors lived somewhere such as Colonial America for any length of time is probably related to everyone else in that population, often in multiple ways.  And, of course, if we go back far enough, we find that everyone in the world is apparently related to everyone else, however distantly.  An interesting story about this appeared on March 17 in Elite Daily, titled “12 Year Old Girl Discovers That All But One US President Are Directly Related to Each Other.”


According to this story, a 12-year-old girl, with the help of her grandfather, discovered that all the presidents except for Martin Van Buren share a common ancestor, King John of England (the king who signed the Magna Carta).  There is always some uncertainty about the correctness of lineages like this, but it does show my point.  One place to see the actual lineages from King John to each of the presidents is in this article on the Reality Blogs website by Tim Dowling.



Gary Boyd Roberts, renowned genealogist, scholar, and author, gave a free lecture on the ancestry of American presidents, with special emphasis on Abraham Lincoln, on Wednesday, April 15, 6-7 p.m., at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., Boston, MA.  Although free, registration is required by clicking here and then clicking “Add to cart.”  (This bulletin was intended to be published before this event happened.)



An article by Henry Louis Gates and Julie Granka on April 8 in the Ancestry blog is called “The Interconnectedness of the Human Family.”  The point is made that with each more distant generation on our family tree, the number of potential ancestors is doubled.  Going the other direction, if each ancestor in your family tree had 2.5 children on average, you would have 8 first cousins and more than 110,000 seventh cousins.  And if your ancestors averaged 4 children instead, you would have over 6 million seventh cousins.  Allowing for “pedigree collapse”, cousins marrying close or distant cousins reduces those numbers significantly, but it is obvious that most people from the same continent are related, probably multiple times, to everyone else in the same population.


The article goes on to try to make the point that AncestryDNA, the autosomal DNA test from Ancestry, can help you find many of those relatives and ancestors that could never be found by traditional document research.  See the following article for more discussion of that claim.






There was an article in the April 2 issue of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter about this titled “AncestryDNA Launches Revolutionary New Technology to Power New Ancestor Discoveries.”   On an April 9 article in the DNAeXplained blog, Roberta Estes discussed AncestryDNA and Ancestry Circles, how they work, and some of the shortcomings.


My experience is that when you go to now, the first thing that is displayed is a screen that says: “We’re turning family history inside out.  Now you can find new ancestors just through your DNA” (referring to their ancestryDNA autosomal DNA test).  If you click on the “Show me how” link and are a paying member of, the page that is displayed shows an ethnicity estimate, DNA matches, new ancestor discoveries, and DNA Circles (for people who are already in your family tree).  In my case, I am in 13 DNA Circles based on my ancestry chart plus DNA matches.


According to, “New Ancestor Discoveries” are potential ancestors and relatives that are found by comparing my DNA to people who have already built family trees beyond parts of mine.  “Clicking on the photo of your potential new ancestor or relative will lead you on the path to discovering amazing new details of your family story as you determine how they may fit into your family tree.”  When I first looked at my potential ancestors/relatives, I saw that I had 2, but when I looked again a few minutes later, I had 4 – strange.  The 4 were John Henry Evans, Nancy Caroline Cantrell (wife of John Henry Evans), William Blackburn Evans (brother of John Henry Evans), and China Capps (wife of William Blackburn Evans).  John Henry Evans was a son of Charles Evans and Sarah Blackburn, and I know I have Blackburn ancestry.  My conclusion is that they have identified a group of possible Blackburn descendants, which is not a new discovery.  These people are relatives but definitely not ancestors, and unfortunately there is no revelation of a new ancestor or new discovery.  Unfortunately I cannot see which segments of which chromosomes are being shared, so there is no way for me to evaluate this matching further.


My conclusion is that these tools are interesting and of some help, but they have a long way to go to be as helpful as they may be eventually, and they certainly don’t provide the proof that a chromosome browser would.





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



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