Vol. 17, No. 5, June 20, 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

** Father’s Day DNA Test Sale at Family Tree DNA

** Solving Genealogical Puzzles

** Comments on Matching for Y-DNA

** More Help With Genetic Genealogy, Including Big Y Test

** Updates to the GFA Website

** Benefits of Recruiting Relatives for Autosomal DNA Testing

** Interesting Story of Finding Biological Parents

** U.S. Federal Census Records Now Free on Mocavo

** Using Google for Genealogical Searches

** Changes at and Steps to Improve Submitted Content

** Possible Sale of

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






As is often the case, this issue contains a variety of articles with no particular theme.  I hope you find some of them interesting and helpful.


I continue to pursue a variety of activities other than genealogy, including music and athletics.  You can see my concert website here, and one of my bicycling events here (donations to the Alzheimer’s Association gratefully accepted in any amount).


As soon as I can make it happen, I will be announcing additional helpers and activity for our DNA projects.  If you are one of those who have offered to help or if you would like to help in this area, please drop me a line.






Roberta Estes just sent the following reminder for a special deal on FTDNA’s autosomal DNA test:

“Need a gift for Dad?  Family Tree DNA is offering their Family Finder test for $89 between now and midnight the 21st.  That’s $10 off and is good for either new customers or upgrades and for either males or females.


Give Dad the gift of cousins, DNA matches and an ethnicity estimate.  That should give you plenty to discuss over dinner for the next several weeks!


PS – you can order more than one test.  No limit.  The more cousins you test, the easier your genealogy becomes!  I go to family reunions with DNA kits in my bag.  Seriously!  And I have them swab right there at the picnic table!


Click here to order.”






One way of categorizing genealogical puzzles is by whether they are simple or complex.  By simple, I don’t mean that they are easy to solve but they are straightforward in their definition and their objective.  The dividing line between these two types is sometimes rather fuzzy.  Examples of what I am calling simple puzzles are the following.

       A genealogy where the earliest known ancestor was born in the late 1700s or early 1800s, and we want to find the earlier ancestry.  Since the earliest every-name census was 1850 in the U.S. and 1841 in the U.K., finding earlier ancestry requires using other records (that are often more difficult to search) and using DNA data.

       Determining the connections between genealogies that have been shown by Y-DNA testing to share a common ancestor.  Based mostly on Y-DNA test results and geographical proximity, charts of possible connections for many family groups can be found on the charts page of the GFA website.  The largest group of this type is that of the descendants of the Greaves family of Beeley, Derbyshire (genealogy 228).

       Finding the ancestral family (or its descendants) in the U.K. of an immigrant family in the U.S.  This requires getting possible descendants in the U.K. to take a DNA test, and learning how to search records in the U.K.

       Finding descendants of families in the U.K.  Partly because people have traced their ancestry back to the earliest known Graves or Greaves ancestor, but have not tried to find other descendants, some of the oldest major families in the U.K. have very few know family members and descendants.  This makes finding DNA testing participants more difficult.  It would be helpful for those of you in the U.K. to try to flesh out your genealogies more completely.

       An example of a U.S. family that is being actively researched to try to find ancestry and connect pieces is that of John Graves and Ann Campbell of NC and Giles Co., TN, involving genealogies 32 and 82.


Examples of more complex puzzles are the following.  More discussion of these is planned for future issue of this bulletin.  Serious research and other help are still needed.

       Graves family of Caroline, Albemarle, and Halifax Counties, VA.  This partly involves genealogy 84 (Parents of William Lynch Graves of Albemarle Co., VA), and the effort to separate it from some erroneous placements in genealogies 168 and 169.  It also involves trying to figure out how the various genealogies in group R1-018 on the master Y-DNA results table are connected.

       Genealogy 94, William Graves and Sarah Fisher of Culpeper Co., VA and KY.  This is an effort to figure out which of two men named William Graves belong to which wife and children, and move the one that doesn’t belong from genealogy 270 into genealogy 94.  Y-DNA testing is the main tool being used.

       Family of Capt. Thomas Graves of VA (genealogy 169).  This is the most difficult puzzle imaginable.  It involves several questions, including: Who was Capt. Thomas Graves and what is his ancestry?  Why do the known descendants of his son Thomas have different Y-DNA from the known descendants of his son John?   Who was Francis Graves who was thought to be the youngest son of Capt. Thomas Graves and what is his ancestry?  Why are the records of where the various Graves family members lived on the Eastern Shore of Virginia inconsistent with any current, complete genealogical picture of this family?






There are several issues regarding Y-DNA and matching that are complicated and confusing to many people. These include:

       How are Y-DNA matches in Family Tree DNA determined?  This is discussed some later in this article.  Although FTDNA has set the number of non-matching markers that can occur at each level of testing for it to be considered a match, samples with more mismatches can sometimes be true matches because of probability distributions (which can often be confusing and difficult to prove).

       What are haplogroups and what is the meaning of the names that are in the haplogroup column on the master Y-DNA summary table on FTDNA?  According to FTDNA, haplogroups are the major branches of the Y chromosome tree, as defined by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are mutations at a particular place on the Y chromosome.  More information can be found on the websites of FTDNA, ISOGG, and Wikipedia.  The image below shows a section of the master Y-DNA test results table for the Graves project.  In this example, the haplogroup column (with the red and green entries) contains both R-M269 and R-DF13.  The red figures are those estimated from the STR results (these are the marker results reported from the Y-DNA tests).  The green figures are those actually tested in a SNP test.  If you look at the Y-DNA SNP chart for haplogroup R here, you can see that M269 (which was the estimated haplogroup) is not very far down the tree, whereas DF13 is pretty far down the tree on the right side.  They are not two different haplogroup, but rather DF13 is just a more refined definition.  If all samples in the R1-168 were tested, they would all be positive for this SNP.

       What is the difference between STRs and SNPs and what is their role in determining matching?  An STR is a single tandem repeat (reported as the value of a marker or position), and is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to determine matching.  However, the true measure of matching is determined by the SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms).  Much more detailed information is available in the help sections of FTDNA, ISOGG, and by searching online.



There are a number of challenges in figuring out matching of Y-DNA test results.


Whether two samples match each other is determined by how much difference the number of STR markers in two samples can have and still be considered a match.  This depends not only on how many markers are different but also which markers those are, since different markers mutate at different rates.  This is also a function of probability, since there is a distribution, which means that if a requirement is set as a difference of no more than 4, there is a possibility that 2 tests with a difference of 6 or 8 could still be matches.  As the difference increases, the probability decreases but never reaches zero.


Another aspect of this same question is that if there are 3 tested samples A, B and C, and A and B match and B and C match, but A does not match C, do they all belong in the same group?  When we are relying on looking at the markers that match, it is difficult to be 100% certain.


A good tool to use is the TMRCA Calculator of J. D. McDonald, which calculates the time to most recent common ancestor (MRCA).  This program calculates the probability that two people have a certain number of generations between them.  It calculates both the probability of being at an exact number of generations back to the MRCA of a pair of people and the cumulative probability that the actual number of generations is less than a certain value.


It would be desirable to look at some of the groups in the master DNA results table of the Graves project to be sure that all results in each group really belong there.  For instance, in the R1-01`3 group, genealogies 13, 148 and 441 are clearly descended from a recent common ancestor.  But should genealogies 106 and 928 be in that group?  Maybe not.







A discussion of this subject was presented at the Rootstech 2015 conference by Diahan Southard.  An article about it can be seen here and links to this and other free videos from the conference can be seen here.



The Genetic Genealogy SIG (Special Interest Group) of The Villages Genealogy Society in Florida has the goal of providing its members with “access to the basic information necessary to develop rudimentary understanding of genetic genealogy and where to get more information.”  Things are changing very rapidly, and this site is a helpful resource.  In addition to meetings for people in the area, their website includes educational videos, links to blogs, and other information.  The Villages Genealogical Society may also be of interest and help to some people.



Dennis Wright has posted “Testing and Analyzing Big Y, a Primer” in dropbox.  This is not for novices, but may be very helpful for anyone who wants to know what files are available from Big-Y and what they offer.  Included are discussions of the tabs on the Big-Y results page for Known SNPs, Novel Variants, and Matching.  Also included are exporting CVS files, downloading raw data (VCF file), the BAM file, and analysis by YFull.  If your eyes haven’t glazed over by this time, take a look at the discussion.



Debbie Kennett recently commented that you might want to refer your potential DNA project participants to the ISOGG Wiki:

       The beginners' guides listed here might be of particular interest:

       There are various presentations available online from Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014.

       Some of the presentations from Genetic Genealogy Ireland might also be of interest.



An important part of analyzing autosomal DNA test results to figure out which segment is from which ancestor is triangulation.  A very helpful aid for learning how to do this is a new blog called segment-ology by Jim Bartlett.  Articles so far include “How To Triangulate”, “Does Triangulation Always Work”, “Benefits of Triangulation”, and more.



The articles by Roberta Estes on her DNAeXplained blog are very helpful.  Although you can scroll down the right side of the page on her website to find articles of interest, the best way I have found is to use the search box in the top right corner of her home page, entering search items such as “autosomal dna” or “Y-DNA”.  Recent articles include:

       Introducing the Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer (Jan. 9, 2014)

       Demystifying Autosomal DNA Matching (Jan. 17, 2025)

       Why Autosomal Response Rate Really Does Matter (Feb. 24, 2015)

       Autosomal DNA 2015 – Which Test is the Best? (Feb. 5, 2015)

       Triangulation for Autosomal DNA (June 21, 2013)


Lisa Franklin has posted an outline called “Tracking Your Roots With DNA” here.






Updated charts:

       Master Y-DNA table on FTDNA website

       DNAchart94.pdf (Y-DNA chart for gen. 94)

       Y-DNA SNP Chart for Haplogroup R

       Y-DNA SNP Chart for Haplogroup I

       chart013.pdf (Y-DNA chart for gen. 13)


New genealogies:

       Gen. 464, Sidney Graves and Mariah ------ of Gilmer, Guilford Co., NC

       Gen. 469, Samuel Graves and Tempy ------ of Caswell Co., NC


Updated genealogies:

       Gen. 13, William Graves and Elizabeth ‑‑‑‑‑‑ of VA, NC, TN & KY

       Gen. 58, Pinkney Graves and Susan ------ of Caswell Co., NC

       Gen. 66, Nathan Graves and Adaline ‑‑‑‑‑‑ of Caswell Co., NC

       Gen. 67, Susan Catherine Desnoozes Graves of Caswell Co., NC

       Gen. 79, Margaret Boyd Graves of Caswell Co., NC

       Gen. 85, Thomas Graves, Quaker, of New Castle Co., DE

       Gen. 94, William Graves and Sarah Fisher of Culpeper Co., VA & KY

       Gen. 294, Madison Graves and Sylvia ‑‑‑‑‑‑ of Caswell Co., NC

       Gen. 307, Isaac Watlington and Elmira (------) Russell of Caswell Co., NC (parents of Monjett Graves)

       Gen. 376, Sam Graves and Lilia ------ of Caswell Co., NC

       Gen. 455, Parents of Harry Graves and Aquilla Graves of Caswell Co., NC

       Gen. 780, William Graves and Hannah Ward of SC (probably descended from gen. 85)


Other updated pages:

       African Ancestry page (african.php)

       DNA Research page (dna.php)

       Numerical Index and Charts page (charts.php)







An April 23 article titled “AncestryDNA is a Team Sport” by Mike Mulligan on the Ancestry blog was interesting.  The gist of it was the more close relatives you get to take their autosomal DNA test (called AncestryDNA), the more other relatives (specifically 4th cousins) you will find.  The results of his numerical calculations are below:

People testing

% of 4th cousins found



You + niece/nephew


You + sibling


You + 1st cousin


You + parent


You + aunt/uncle


You + grandparent




The point is that getting more of your relatives to take an autosomal DNA test is helpful.  However, the thing that is not mentioned in this article (because Ancestry does not have a chromosome browser, nor do they provide any information on what DNA segments are involved in a match) is the great benefits of triangulation in tracing ancestry.  To do triangulation, someone who has tested at Ancestry needs to transfer his or her DNA results to Family Tree DNA to be able to use the chromosome browser.  For information about triangulation, see articles by Roberta Estes here and here, and another explanation on ISOGG here (which gives references to additional articles).






Debbie Kennett has recently shared a story of how an autosomal Family Finder test resulted in a woman in England finding her biological parents after 46 years of searching.  The story in the Mirror of how Michelle Rooney, known as the Dustbin Baby, tracked down her father last year can be seen here.  Then, this year, she found her mother, as described here.  The similarity in appearance between Michelle and her mother is readily apparent in the picture below.







Mocavo recently announced that “the indexes and images for all United States Federal Censuses are now available for free to everyone.”  You can see the complete announcement here.   I tried some searches on their site, and my first reaction was negative.  I wasn’t able to find several people that I looked for, and the search capabilities were much different from those at  However, it became quickly apparent that there are some features that Ancestry doesn’t have, such as being able to easily find other records in which the person in a census record appears.  And for those of you who don’t want to pay to search census records, this free site should be helpful.


Regarding the difficulty in finding people, the problem was that I put in too much information.  For a person born in 1901 with the census record showing 1902, if I enter 1901 in the search field he won’t be found (no way to enter a range of years).  When I entered the name and the state of residence or the state of birth, the person I was looking for was found.  Another advantage of the Mocavo search page is that the search screen is very simple, and if you want to find all those of a certain name for a particular year or for all census years, in a particular location or for all locations, it is easy to do.  Free is always good.






I have recommended Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter (EOGN) many times over the years.  He publishes two versions of this newsletter, a free version and a paid version (which includes more articles).  In the May 25 issue of the newsletter, he included an article called “Google Power Search: How to Search by a Date Range and Why You Might Want To.”  In that article he discusses two methods of searching by date range.  One method is to go to Google and enter the word or phrase you want to search for.  “When the results appear, look slightly above the results and click on “Search Tools.””  Then click on the “Any time” pull-down menu, and select the time frame desired.


The second way to search by date range is to search on Google for “Google Advanced Search”, and then select the timeframe for “last update.”


You can subscribe to his newsletter, read this article, or search for past articles on the EOGN website.  To search, just click on this link and scroll down to the “Search Past Newsletter Articles” search box on the right side of the page.  To find more articles on searching with Google, scroll down to the “Categories” section on the right side and click on the “Genealogy Basics” category.




CHANGES AT ANCESTRY.COM AND STEPS TO IMPROVE SUBMITTED CONTENT, like every person and every company, does some things wrong and some very good things.  They have made many changes to their website over the years, some of which I have liked and some of which I was not to pleased with.  They have been and continue to be criticized for allowing users to submit incorrect and poorly researched family tree information.


The good thing (for users) about being able to submit family tree information is that a large amount of information is posted and can be accessed and shared.  Even when a tree contains incorrect information, it can sometimes provide clues for further research by us.  The bad thing is that many people seem to just copy material from others while doing little or no research and checking of facts themselves, so that some of the trees contain incorrect and misleading material which is passed on from tree to tree forever.


It would be nice for Ancestry to give us good, easy-to-use ways to try to get rid of blatantly wrong information in trees, and to help assure that new submissions don’t continue to spread wrong material.  However, I welcome any and all steps that seem to be in the right direction.  In that category, Crista Cowan wrote an blog article  of June 8 titled “The New Facts View: Make Sure You Are Climbing YOUR Family Tree and Not Someone Else’s”.  This isn’t a solution to the problem of bad information, but at least it indicates that it is on their radar.






There has been some discussion in the past month or so about the possible sale of, based partly on published articles.  One of the articles was in Reuters on May 20.  It stated in part: “ LLC, the world’s largest family history website helping users trace their heritage, is exploring a sale that could value it between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.  Permira Advisors LLC, the buyout firm that owns most of privately held Ancestry, has hired investment banks to run an auction for the company.”  Permira, a European private equity firm, outbid other private equity firms to take Ancestry private in 2012 for $1.6 billion.


The consensus in discussions of this story seems to be that this is a non-issue.  The holdings of private equity firms are always for sale if they see an opportunity to make a lot of money.  It is expected that a sale would not have any effect on the operation or policies of Ancestry.





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



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