Vol. 19, No. 2, March 31, 2017


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 © 2017 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** General Comments

** 2017 RootsTech Conference

** Who Do You Think You Are? Live Show in England in April


** More About the Big Y DNA SNP Test at Family Tree DNA

** Finding Ancestral Families in Their Country of Origin

** Does Lyman O. Graves Belong in Gen. 28 or 166?

** Genealogy 428 Has Been Added to Genealogy 83

** Updates to the GFA Website

** Family Tree DNA Now Accepts All Autosomal DNA Transfers, and All Matches Are Now Free

** How to Dispose of Unwanted Things and Preserve Wanted Things

** Comments About Jamestowne Society/Mayflower Society Article

** Find Your 2,000-Year-Old Dopplegänger

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






The time I have been able to spend on getting this bulletin written has been much too limited, but I figured I needed to get some of the articles sent.  I hope you find some of these helpful.  You can expect another issue in April






RootsTech is an annual family history conference featuring more than 200 breakout sessions that include the subjects of DNA, genealogical tools, photos, family stories, organizing the things you collect, and discovery.  This year’s RootsTech 2017 was held in Salt Lake City, UT, Feb. 8-11.  In additional to presentations and discussions, it included an exhibition hall, and much more.  You can see all about it (including videos of the presentations) by clicking here.


Some of the highlights of the conference, according to some attendees, were the following.

LeVar Burton’s Keynote Address

This was called to my attention by Roberta Estes on her DNAeXplained blog, where she raved about how interesting and inspiring it was.  LeVar Burton portrayed Kunta Kinte in 1977 in Alex Hayley’s Roots, and was later Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek.  His presentation can be seen here.






This show will be held in Birmingham, England on April 6-8.  Like RootsTech, it is one of the largest genealogy conferences in the world, and well worth attending.  You can see more on their website here and on Dick Eastman’s blog here.


Attending this is a great opportunity to attend presentations, and talk to presenters, other researchers, and vendors, and to meet new people and possible cousins.






GEDmatch is a very important website for studying autosomal DNA test results because of the analytical tools it provides and the fact that it can handle results from all the various vendors.  According to an attendee at the RootsTech conference: “During Shannon Christmas’ presentation about GEDmatch at RootsTech recently, Curtis Rogers from GEDmatch responded to a question from the audience about the size of the GEDmatch database. Curtis said that GEDmatch now has approximately 500,000 people who have uploaded kits there.  He said that on an average day 700 to 1000 new kits per day are being uploaded to GEDmatch.  This type of growth is very important to the genetic genealogy community because GEDmatch offers the excellent DNA comparison tools.  I hope that this growth continues.  I have noted that the number of people using GEDmatch at any one time has been gradually increasing over the past year or so.  Sometimes over 200 people are on GEDmatch at the same time.  Right now there are 205 people using GEDmatch.  It is particularly important that people who have tested at Ancestry upload to GEDmatch, but I encourage anyone who has tested with any of the major companies to upload to GEDmatch.  The performance of the website has also improved significantly over the past year or so.”






For those of you who have already taken the Big Y test, you may be wondering why you keep getting messages from Family Tree saying they have found new Big Y matches, and whether the Big Y test has been helpful.  These are good questions.  The matches we get notifications of actually are new matches, but they are usually not meaningful for our purposes. When they are very close, they may indicate a relative from before the start of surnames, but generally they aren’t even that.  When they are for a match with another Graves or Greaves relative, we will almost certainly already know about that.


The Big Y test has been very helpful.  One of the benefits to our Graves/Greaves project has been to finally determine which Y-DNA tests results are actually part of the same family by determining who shares the same SNPs.  Because this test is so new, we are still learning how to get the most information from it.  I will be contacting most of those who take the test occasionally to ask them to send some of the test results to one of the volunteer “experts” for further analysis or to do other things to help us learn more.  I am expecting that we will eventually be able to figure out how all the families that share a common Graves ancestor are connected, and also get information about the earlier ancestry of the family.  The more descendants we get to take the test, the easier and more precise that becomes.






Although the approaches discussed in this article can usually be used in any country, the country of most interest to most Graves/Greaves descendants is England.  The following paragraphs are part of a discussion on the ISOGG email list and some of my direct email exchanges about finding the origins of families in their country of origin, and finding family members there for family information and DNA testing.  I welcome other ideas and anyone who would like to help with contacting.


I originally wrote about my email exchange with Paul Howes, Chairman of the Guild of One-Name Studies, saying:

I have a great interest in contacting people in England who are descended from the various Graves and Greaves families for the purposes of DNA testing and gathering their ancestry information. As has been often observed, that is not easy. I am willing to pay some or all of some DNA testing, and am also willing to try to raise money from others for this effort.  I want to find people in each of the various Graves and Greaves families in England for DNA testing and sharing family information.  I am also interested in taking descendants to visit ancestral homes and towns in England, and to meet present-day cousins there.


I am considering going to England this summer to prepare for a possible group trip in 2018. However, I will not go unless I can make contact beforehand with a number of family members who are still in England (not necessary that they have the Greaves name, just that they are descended from the same Greaves family). The only ways I can figure out to find those people is to either make telephone calls to people with the Graves and Greaves surname from the Electoral Registers, or to find genealogies on websites that descendants of that Greaves family have posted (or perhaps queries that they have posted) and contact them. The first option is very time-consuming and awkward, and for the second I don’t know of a good source other than Ancestry.


Paul Howes was kind enough to send me some of his suggestions on this subject. He wrote:

A few other things you can do:

Š          Use Facebook or other social media platforms to find British GREAVESes

Š          Use the online telephone directory (the British Telephone Phone Book). Click here. Listings are optional these days, but your prime group is older adults who are still mostly listed.

Š          Use the online electoral registers at Findmypast, which are good up to 2014, particularly with the phone number listing above.

Š          Try the local county family history societies for areas you are interested in.  Most maintain lists of members' surname interests.  You may have to join them.  Some lists, like Norfolk are not affiliated with the local FHS, or like Oxfordshire, are, but are open to non-members.

Š          I do like the Ancestry approach - did you know Ancestry maintains lists of those with particular surname interests too (e.g., click here)?  You can't tell immediately which country the people live in, though.

Š          And, don't forget the old Rootsweb mailing lists for each of your surname interests.

Š          I would post your question to other Guild members.  If you don't want the email, use the WebForum or our Facebook page."


I responded with some comments:

I have tried contacting and even joining (where necessary) county societies, and have not found that helpful.


I have found the Electoral Registers helpful, but telephoning every Graves or Greaves person in a particular area is very time-consuming and can be expensive. The same applies to the telephone directory. Where mailing addresses can be found, the response is extremely low, so calling is definitely better.


Regarding using Facebook, I see that I can go to People at the top of the Facebook page, then search for a name such as Greaves, and that I can select a city or county/shire such as Northamptonshire. Is that the best way to use Facebook for this purpose?


I am also on LinkedIn, and I see that I can search there for a surname and place by, for instance, searching for Greaves in Northamptonshire. I have the feeling that isn’t apt to be anywhere near as good for this purpose as Facebook.


Debbie Kennett wrote of some of the challenges:

It’s a challenge for any surname project to get enough samples from around the world to represent all the surviving Y-lineages.


We’ve discussed before that the US lines will not give the total picture for any given surname because they only represent a subset of the different Y-lines for the surname. If there are ten genetic families or clusters for a given surname you might perhaps only find representatives of one or two of these clusters in the US. The lines that are found in the US often tend to reproduce very rapidly so it’s typical to see very large genetic clusters for US surnames. In my experience if you test people from the home country you tend to up with large numbers of singletons who don’t match anyone else in the project. In contrast all my US participants match someone else with their surname apart from a few people who are NPEs. The NPEs in the US also have a much higher chance of getting a solid match that will help to identify their biological surname. There are also going to be some lines that survive in the US that have become extinct elsewhere.


Chris Pomery wrote a very good article on this subject for Dick Eastman’s blog back in 2009. The article is now available on Chris’s website here.


We still have little in the way of hard data but if more projects were to test all documented lineages as Chris has done then I imagine we would expect to see very similar patterns emerging.


Beth Long wrote about finding a contact in the geographical area of interest to help find people and interact with them:

I administer a project which needs to find people with particular (Hungarian) surnames living in a specific area of Romania. I was able to find a very smart and reliable young man living in that area who does testing for me. I mail him a kit or two, then tell him which surnames I want. He looks people up in the local phonebook, explains the project, then drives over and does the test. He mails the kits back to me and I mail them to FTDNA.


I also made up a simple blank ancestry tree form for him. He gets the test-takers to complete it as far back as they are able. I have most of the local church records on DVDs, back to the mid-1700s, so I can usually do the rest of the research at home.  In the case of this young man, his father is an amateur genealogist who has written two books of the genealogy of families in his own village, so the interest is there.  I also pay him about $15 per kit for his time and gas for the car.


I think a partnership with a carefully selected person in the "target area" might hold the best chance of success.


Brian Swann wrote about using social media and about offering a pedigree chart and help with creating a more complete genealogy:

I would be interested to hear if folk in America have had appreciable successes in recruiting people from cold over here by social media – I prefer Facebook, as it can be difficult to have any meaningful genealogical conversations with just 140 characters on Twitter.


Brian Swann also wrote:

The one thing about Linked In is that it tends to be used by professional people, for want of a better word.  So I think you are more likely to get a reply, especially if you phrase the question reasonably generally to begin with.  The converse of the argument is that those folk tend to be busy, so may not bother and delete you.


I do think the one other thing that helps is generating a skeleton pedigree chart for folk over here back to 1837/1841 – then you have something tangible to offer them, and they are likely to be more engaged.  That takes appreciably more time, of course – but when I have really wanted to recruit someone, that is what I have done.


I have done that recently for a Swan family in America too, as I have been saying for about 3 years to some folk over there that descendants from this individual, born in 1782 in Maryland, needed to be recruited.  I did all the work to track living male descendants forwards – not that many branches, some difficult to sort through, but I could identify at least two groups living today.  As nothing seemed to be happening, I tracked someone down via trees on Ancestry, knew I could sort out where they were stuck in America, and at least I have a response.  I could identify who she was just from her email address, and could even dig out her date of birth, as she lived in Texas.  I hoped I could use her to get to her brother, who has the Y-DNA we need.  Right now I am just waiting a reply, as they have a reasonable amount to digest.


Nancy Kiser wrote about successful promotion on websites and on their Guild of One-Name Studies page:

The Phillips DNA Project has been fairly successful in recruiting Phillips men living in the UK for DNA testing.  We did this by offering free 37 marker Y-DNA tests to UK citizens on our independent website, our website at FTDNA and our profile page on the Guild-of-One-Name Studies.  We now have over 70 members from the UK but their match rate has been disappointingly low.  Fewer than 33% of these men match anyone else in our project. By comparison, once we had over 70 American men named Phillips in the project, the match rate was around 70% and it has continued at that level ever since. We have now discontinued the free test program because of the disappointing results and because our wealthy donor who was sponsoring all the free tests died.






Cory Graves, descended from Lyman Ottman Graves, called my attention to this ancestor being listed in both genealogy 28 (Rear Adm. Thomas Graves of Charlestown, MA) and genealogy 166 (John Graves of  Concord, MA).  In gen. 28, he was listed as a son of Asa Graves, born 4 Nov. 1755, and Roxanna Ottman.  In gen. 166, he was listed as a son of Asa Graves, born 19 Feb. 1757.  I had originally thought that he was descended from gen. 166, but suspected that might be wrong.  Since both gen. 28 and 166 are descended from a common ancestor, his Y-DNA test results did not resolve that issue.


Cory took the Big Y test, which tests for SNPs in the Y-chromosome, and it now looks as though he is definitely descended from genealogy 28.  His novel variants (the SNP mutations that he had but no one else had) were all different than those of the one Big Y sample from a descendant of gen. 166.  To confirm this, we need to have one more gen. 166 descendant and one more gen. 28 descendant take the Big Y test.






The question of the ancestry of Lyman Ottman Graves of Hancock Co., Maine (genealogy 428) was recently raised and discussed on the GFA Facebook page by Greg Graves and others.  Upon looking at census records, it seems apparent that Lyman was a son of Moses Thompson Graves and Eliza Ann Harden, in the 1850 census for Trenton, Hancock Co., Maine.  Moses is in genealogy 83 (Samuel Graves of Lynn, MA), and was a son of Jeremiah Graves and Mehitable Thompson.  Gen. 428 has now been added to gen. 83.  It is expected that a Y-DNA test will be taken soon by Greg Graves or other male descendant to confirm this ancestry.






Updated pages:

           Numerical Listing of Genealogies and Charts, charts.php


Updated charts:

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

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

           Y-DNA Group R1-047 SNP Tree, Y-SNP-Tree-R1-047.pdf

           Y-DNA Group R1-168 SNP Tree, Y-SNP-Tree-R1-168.pdf

           Y-DNA Group R1-228 SNP Tree, Y-SNP-Tree-R1-228.pdf

           Chart for Descendants of Greaves Family of Northamptonshire, England (Gen. 47), chart047.pdf

           Chart for Descendants of Greaves Family of Northamptonshire, England (Gen. 47), and Connections with Gen. 270 and others, chart047-connections.pdf

           Chart for Descendants of Thomas Graves of New Castle Co., DE (Gen. 85), DNAchart85.pdf

           Chart for Descendants of William Graves of Culpeper Co., VA (Gen. 94), DNAchart94.pdf

           Chart for Descendants of James Graves and Mary Copeland of VA & GA (Gen. 150), DNAchart150.pdf

           Chart for Descendants of John Graves of Concord, MA (Gen. 166), DNAchart166.pdf

           Chart for Descendants of Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT (Gen. 168), DNAchart168.pdf

           Chart for Descendants of Francis Graves of VA (Gen. 220), chart220.pdf

           Chart for Descendants of John Greaves of St. Mary’s Co., MD (Gen. 247), DNAchart247.pdf

           Chart for Descendants of John Graves/Greaves of Northamptonshire, England and Virginia (Gen. 270), chart270.pdf


Revised genealogies:

           Gen. 28, Greaves Family of Stepney, London, England, and Rear Adm. Thomas Graves of Charlestown, MA

           Gen. 83, Samuel Graves of Lynn, MA

           Gen. 220, Francis Graves of Gloucester Co. and Essex Co., VA

           Gen. 500, Mary Graves and Amos Flint of Reading, MA (prob. desc. from Gen. 83)






Family Tree DNA now accepts all Ancestry autosomal DNA transfers plus 23andMe version  3 and version 4 transfers.  In addition, when the results are transferred, all matches can be seen, not just the first 20 matches.  More details can be seen on the DNAeXplained blog of Roberts Estes here.  You can see other interesting articles by her here.


Advantages of transferring your autosomal test results from Ancestry or 23andMe to Family Tree DNA include seeing more matches, getting access to the analytical tool of Family Finder, and being able to be part of the Graves/Greaves DNA project.






I recently noticed some articles that relate to different parts of the same problem.  The first article is titled “Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff.”  This is mainly about things like heirloom furniture, silverware, dishes, books, and similar items.  Younger people generally live a somewhat different lifestyle today and value different things as compared to the styles and values in the last century.  The article gives 8 tips for disposing of unwanted things, including early planning and discussion while everyone involved is still around.


The second article is “These books were beloved. But what happens after their owner dies?” in the Boston Globe on Feb. 17.  It discusses the problem of what to do with books perhaps collected over a lifetime.  Children and relatives usually don’t want them or don’t have space for them and libraries often can’t accept them.  Sometimes book stores or specialized libraries (such as the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston) can be a partial answer to this problem.


A third article is in Dick Eastman’s Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter (Vol. 22, No. 11, March 13, 2017) and is titled “What to do With Your Genealogy Collection When You Downsize or Die.”  This article says that one option is to donate your collection to FamilySearch.  They only accept certain materials under certain conditions which he explains in his article.


One option for preserving cherished family papers is to contact the New England Historic Genealogy Society in Boston, MA, by phone or at, and ask about the Family Archives package.  The experts at NEHGS will sort and preserve your documents, arranging your letters, photographs, diaries, and other materials into a neatly labeled, easy to access archive.  The service will also provide a convenient finding guide for you and your family.






In the GF Bulletin of Jan. 31 (vol. 19, no. 1) there was an article about an ancestor who would qualify descendants for membership in both the Jamestowne Society and the Mayflower Society.  Gerald M. Graves of Iowa, descended from gen. 85 has submitted the following comments about that.


I am afraid that Mr. Smith ran together his two ancestor societies and gave a false impression in his comment on the Jamestown Society at the end of this month’s bulletin. He stated that descendants of Roxana Rose Graves are eligible for Mayflower Society membership based on the VA Company shares owned by John Vassall. That should make them eligible for Jamestown Society membership. But only descendants of the passengers on the ship Mayflower on the 1620 voyage can join the Mayflower Society. Roxanna Rose may be a Mayflower descendant, but not through John Vassall.


Searching genealogy 166 for notes about the Mayflower indicates that if correct all the descendants of JONATHAN GRAVES (50) and Bettie Lisk would be eligible for the Mayflower Society through her decent from Mayflower passenger William Bradford. The Mayflower Society has published William Bradford’s family through the first 5 generations, which should show Jonathan Graves, if correct. It appears elsewhere in gen. 166 that JONATHAN GRAVES (50) was married to MARY TISDALE. I do not know which is correct and it is not my line. I only wanted to clear up the Mayflower Society Membership. By the way I am eligible on my non-Graves side for both the Mayflower Society and the Jamestown Society through Stephen Hopkins, the only person to be both places.”






Smithsonian Magazine and their online website has some very interesting content.  A recent article has the same title as this article.  Send the Musée de la Civilisation a photo, and it will match you with an ancient statue.  For its upcoming exhibition, the museum in Quebec City, Canada is inviting people from around the world to upload their own photos in an effort to find their ancient doubles.  Those with the closest matches will then be featured as part of the museum’s exhibition, which is slated to premiere this coming October.  Computerized facial recognition reviewed by human inspection is being used.  As of March 2017, only 5 or 6 of the more than 25,000 submissions have been considered “perfect matches.”


While the chance of using facial recognition software for finding ancestors and relatives is a possibility, most, if not all, of the “perfect matches” will be for people with no known relationship.





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



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