Vol. 18, No. 5, Aug. 12, 2016


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 © 2016 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** General Comments

** Using Y-SNP Testing to Connect Families

** Trip to England for Descendants of Genealogies 47 & 270

** Finding Others Related to You

** Some interesting Stories About History and Genealogy

** DNA Testing “Sizzling Summer Sale” by Family Tree DNA

** Expand Your Research Using Facebook Genealogy Groups

** The Graves Family Association Facebook Page

** What Is the Correct Ancestry of Jefferson Newton Graves of MS & LA?

** Updates to the GFA Website

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






As often happens, this issue of the Bulletin is much later than I intended.  I hope you find some interesting and helpful information in this issue.  I especially direct your attention to the first two articles about preparing for a visit to the area in England where genealogies 47 and 270 originated, and the importance of all families doing extensive Y-SNP testing to determine their ancestry and their connections.


For the majority of you in the northern hemisphere, enjoy the rest of your summer!  Alas, time passes too quickly, especially as we get older.






When commercial DNA testing started back in about the year 2000 (just a short 16 years ago), Y-DNA testing of males to find direct all-male ancestry was the only option.  The only technique to do that then was to test for what are called STRs (short tandem repeats), which are the number of times a short section of DNA at a specific location on a chromosome (in this case, the Y-chromosome) is repeated.  This testing technique has been fairly good, especially when testing for more markers (now as many as 111), but it is very limited in differentiating between lineages within a single family and in indicating how families sharing a common ancestor are related.


Now we have a better tool, testing for what are called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, pronounced “snips”).  Each SNP represents a difference (mutation) in a single DNA building block, called a nucleotide.  These SNPs are believed, at least usually, to only occur once within a genome.  Therefore, finding all the SNPs in a group of individuals, and comparing the matches and non-matches, should enable us to tell when they diverged and how long ago (how many mutations ago).  That is the concept that is used in creating Y-SNP (and Y-haplogroup) trees.


A number of trees are on the Graves Family Association website.  A simplified tree for all the various Graves/Greaves families can be seen here.  You can see on that chart and on the master chart of Y-DNA STR results on the Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) website that most males tested in our Y-DNA project are in haplogroup R, a lesser number in haplogroup I, and smaller numbers in haplogroups E, F, J and Q.


When males in the Graves DNA study take STR tests, FTDNA predicts their haplogroup and their most recent SNP.  Until a couple of years ago, this prediction was more aggressive (and perhaps occasionally wrong).  Now the predictions tend to be conservative because of the availability of SNP testing.  When the results of a Y-DNA STR test are posted, the person can go to their private page on the FTDNA website, click on the link for “Haplotree & SNPs”, and see not only their Y-SNP tree but also see any recommendations for further SNP testing.  Results for those people who have done further testing can be seen on the master Y-DNA chart mentioned in the preceding paragraph, and more clearly on the appropriate haplogroup SNP charts.  So far, there are only these charts for haplogroups R, I and E, and haplogroup R has had the most activity and success.  Links to all those charts are at the bottom of the Y-DNA page on the GFA website here.


On the Y-DNA chart for haplogroup R, it can be seen that the Big Y test (which tests for many SNPs) has greatly helped the extension of the tree for three Graves/Greaves family groups.  Using the names of the family groups from the master Y-DNA chart, the three are R1-228 (genealogies 28, 150, 166, 220, 247, etc.), R1-169 (genealogy 169 from son Thomas), and R1-047 (genealogies 47, 270, etc.).  The Big Y test finds not only known SNPs that are usually already on an “official” SNP tree, but also what are called novel variant SNPs, some of which may be added to an “official” tree in the future.  Y-SNP trees have been created for the three family groups mentioned: R1-047, R1-169, and R1-228.  (It should be noted that R1-169 for descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves of VA though his son Thomas is not believed to represent the genetic line of Capt. Thomas Graves; rather, it is believed that son John via R1-168 represents the Y-DNA of Capt. Thomas Graves.)






As each family group of Graves and Greaves descendants finds their most remote ancestor’s place of origin, it would be exciting to many of the members of that group to take a trip to that area, meet any relatives still living there, and see the sites their ancestors may have seen.  Since the genealogy 47/270 group is the one I am descended from and since there are many known descendants, and since we know that the earliest known place of origin was Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, England, that will be the first priority.


One of the important objectives will be to meet and interact with family members in England.  Although the name in England was spelled Greaves, the early immigrants in the 1600s and 1700s all changed the spelling to Graves.  After doing some searching online, the best site for locating those Greaves family members in England seems to be a website called British Phone Book at  When I searched that for people named Greaves in the city of Northampton, I got 58 results, the first 17 of which are shown below.  Some are obviously duplicates, since multiple sources were used.  The next step will be to do this for all likely locations in these counties, and then to contact them by letter or preferably by telephone.



My plan is to make an exploratory visit to the area in England next summer, and then to schedule a group trip the following year (in 2018).  If you are interested in helping do research beforehand and if you are interested in going in 2018,please let me know.



In addition to those descendants that I already know about, those on the GFA Facebook page, and your relatives, there are others that should be contacted.  These could include all those that can be found through DNA matches on any of the matching sites, and all those who can be found through the family trees they have posted on and elsewhere.



If there is enough interest and those who would like to help organize it, we might also want to consider a gathering in the U.S. in 2017, prior to the trip to England.






There are many reasons that we sometimes want to find our relatives.  Perhaps the searching is fun, or we want to broaden our social and family circle, or it helps us better understand who we are, or we are planning an event for family members and want it to include as many people as possible.  The preceding article about the trip to England discussed some of the ways to find relatives.


Another way to find some of those related to you is to refer to the set of files created by Trudy Graves on the GFA Facebook page.  Several years ago I created a file containing a list of all those who were members of our Facebook group. It contained names, place of residence, genealogy number, common ancestral group for that genealogy, and other information.  After I got tired of all the work updating it and many group members not providing their ancestral information for the file, Concetta Phillipps did an update in 2015 (called GFA Facebook Group Members).  Trudy Graves has now done a marvelous job of creating a series of files (called Graves Family Association Researchers List Gen. 1-99, etc.), which are simplified versions of my previous file.  These files are stored as Google documents, and contain only the name and place of residence of the GFA Facebook group member descended from each indicated genealogy.  To contact anyone listed, send him or her a message on Facebook.  To see these and other files on the GFA Facebook page, click on the Files link at the top of the page.  This may also be a reason for those of you not members of the GFA Facebook group to join.







An article was published this past spring in the New York Times titled “272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants?”.  You can see the article here and a similar one in the Washington Post here.  A follow-up article with stories of several of the descendants is here.


The slaves were sold by the financially struggling premier Catholic institution of higher learning at the time, known today as Georgetown University.  The college relied on Jesuit plantations in Maryland to help finance its operations, but those plantations were no longer reliable sources of the income the school needed, so the sale was organized by two of Georgetown’s early presidents, both Jesuit priests.  At the time, the Catholic Church did not view slaveholding as immoral.  Although the Jesuits had sold off individual slaves before, the decision to sell virtually all their slaves left some priests deeply troubled.  Now that this historic event has surfaced, a working group has not only been trying to locate as many of the thousands of descendants as possible, but is also studying ways for the institution to acknowledge and try to make amends for its tangled roots in slavery.


This is a positive story in the sense that some people are now learning more about their history, their ancestry, and their broader family, and that people are asking and discussing difficult questions.  However, another aspect of this is that over the course of history people have not always had the same way of thinking that we have today.  Things that are acceptable in some cultures in one era may be strongly criticized in another era.  Should we be ashamed of our ancestors or our country or culture because something was done in the past that is no longer acceptable in today’s culture?  And if our country or our society does something now considered unacceptable, should we be obligated to make amends in some way?  Many of us will have different answers to these questions.



It was common in the late 1800s and early 1900s for families to have many children, and also common for some of them to die before early.  “Photographs of loved ones taken after they died may been morbid to modern sensibilities, but in Victorian England, they became a way of commemorating the dead and blunting the sharpness of grief.”  This practice continued in some areas well into the twentieth century, although not necessarily pictured with family members as though still living.  I remember a photograph of my father’s mother after she died in the early 1940’s.


See a discussion of this practice with sample photos on the BBC website here.  Another interesting site is called “Day of the Dead: Memorial Photography”, and can be found here.  A third article is on the Burns Archive here.






Family Tree DNA is presently offering reduced prices for their autosomal DNA test, Family Finder, as well as reduced prices for combinations of Family Finder with Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) tests.  The sale price of $69 for Family Finder compares favorably with the regular $99 price, the $99 price of the similar test from, and the $199 price of the 23andMe test.






There was an interesting article with this title by Kathy Petlewski in volume 42, issue number 3, of NGS Magazine, published by the National Genealogical Society.  Information about the NGS, its publications and other benefits can be seen here, and if you are not a member, a copy of the magazine may be available in a nearby library.  The main message of the article was that Facebook can be very helpful for family history research.  She mentioned Facebook groups for various places such as Poland or Alsace & Lorraine, where you can often enter the surnames you are interested in.  There are also groups dedicated to surname registries, such as Irish, Scottish, English and Sicilian surnames.  There are many groups like ours covering a single surname or even just a single family within that surname, and there are groups providing general help such as Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.


The article mentioned a directory of more than 8,000 genealogical groups on Facebook listed in a directory compiled by Katherine R. Willson.  You can see more about this and some of the other helpful things from Katherine (such as a compilation of instructional genealogical videos on YouTube) at (if clicking this doesn’t work for you, just copy and paste into your browser address box).  You can see a brief discussion of her list by clicking on the “Genealogy on Facebook” link at the top of the page and then clicking on another link to see the actual list.  Her file now contains over 10,000 links.  The Graves Family Association page is number 8804 in the August revision (found by searching for Greaves, or gravesfa, or Surnames – Specific and then scrolling down).


By looking at some of these various Facebook groups, we might be able come up with ways to make our own Facebook group even more helpful.  All ideas are worth trying, and you are encouraged to take the initiative.






We continue to experience steady growth in our GFA Facebook page membership.  As of Aug. 9, it was 1597.  Here is a graph of the membership growth since we started in October 2011.


Although there are benefits to the old-fashioned practice of writing letter and sending them through the mail (snail mail), and benefits to using email and texting, social media such as Facebook and Twitter offer many advantages also.  See the article earlier in this Bulletin titled “Finding Others Related to You” for an example of one of the things that is being done on our GFA Facebook page.  We encourage you to take the initiative and make our Facebook page even more helpful.






Elizabeth Wolf recently posted on the GFA Facebook page about her Mississippi-Louisiana Graves family that includes siblings Robert, John, William H., and Jefferson Newton Graves.


In trying to respond, I found genealogy 625 for William Graves and Harriet ‑‑‑‑‑‑ of MS, LA and TX.  In looking further to see whether I could find something about William Graves and his ancestry, I was disappointed at not being successful.  However, one of the descendants in the genealogy is Jefferson Newton Graves, born 22 Feb. 1873 in MS.  I discovered that Jefferson is also in genealogy 94 (although none of his descendants are included there), and some of the submitted genealogies on show that family as where he belongs.


There was a Jefferson Graves, born about 1872 in MS, in the 1880 census for Avoyelles Parish, LA.  There was a Jeff Graves, born about 1874 in MS, in the household of J. E. (James Edward) Graves in the 1880 census for Newton Co., MS, father born in KY, mother in MS.  The Jefferson Newton Graves of interest was in the 1900 census for Spring Hill, Rapides Parish, LA, and in the 1910 and 1920 censuses for Rigollette, Rapides Parish, LA.  His father’s place of birth was reported as unknown in 1900, LA in 1910 and 1920, and MS in 1930.  Only one Jeff or Jefferson Graves could be found from 1900 on.


I have not been able to prove which genealogy Jefferson belongs in, although I suspect that gen. 94 is the correct placement.  Part of the difficulty with the correct placement is that I can only find one Jeff or Jefferson Graves of the right age in the 1880 census.  Does anyone have more information that might be helpful?  The next step will probably be for a male Graves descendant to take a Y-DNA test.






Updated pages:

       Numerical Index and Charts, charts.php

       Y-DNA Test Results, FTDNA_test_results.php

       Famous Family Members, notable.php


New charts

       Y-SNP Tree for the Gen. 47/270 Group, Y-SNP-Tree-R1-047.pdf

       Y-SNP Tree for the Gen. 228 Group, Y-SNP-Tree-R1-228.pdf


Updated charts:

       I-Haplogroup Chart, I-Y-SNP-chart.pdf

       R-Haplogroup Chart, R-Y-SNP-chart.pdf


New Genealogies:

       Gen. 564, John Greaves and Sarah Hay of Lancashire, England

       Gen. 586, Luther Henry Graves, Nancy Bliss and Lucy Maria Bridges of MA & OH


Revised genealogies:

       Gen. 74, Alexander Graves of NC & GA

       Gen. 83, Samuel Graves of Lynn, MA

       Gen. 92, John Graves and Susan ------ of SC & Carter Co., TN

       Gen. 150, James Graves and Mary Copeland of VA and GA

       Gen. 423, Samuel Graves and Elizabeth Denbo of KY & IN (was Parents of William Franklin Graves of KY & IN)





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



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