A Free, Occasional, Online Summary of Items of Interest to Descendants of all Families of Graves, Greaves, Grieves, Grave, and other spelling variations Worldwide


Vol. 7, No. 5, May 30, 2005




Copyright © 2005 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** Memorial Day in the U.S.

** Graves/Greaves Gathering in Wrentham, MA

** Other Upcoming Graves Reunions

** Graves/Greaves DNA Study

** Frequency of Graves, Greaves, and Variant Names

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






Since I am sending this issue of the Bulletin on what is celebrated as Memorial Day in the U.S., it seemed fitting to suggest that we take a moment today to pause and remember our ancestors and all those who have died in our nation’s military service.  The day was originally called Decoration Day, and the custom of decorating graves of fallen soldiers started during and after the U.S. Civil War.  General John Logan, national commander of the Graves Army of the Republic, officially proclaimed the holiday May 5, 1868.  Memorial Day was declared a national holiday in 1971 and was set as the last Monday of May.






Ken and Sarah Graves will be hosting a gathering of all Graves and Greaves descendants at their house at 20 Binney Circle, Wrentham, Massachusetts on Saturday, June 25, 2005 (in slightly less than 4 weeks).  It will be 2-6 p.m., and will be held rain or shine.  It will be a cookout with us providing hamburgers, hotdogs, and various beverages.  Please bring some food to share.  We will be eating about 4 p.m.


In addition to the social aspect, there will be books and charts of many of the families on display.  This will be a chance to find out more about what we know of the various families, and how the DNA study is helping us find the connections between the families and even their ancient ancestry.  There will even be a chance to participate in the DNA study that afternoon for those who are interested.  You are also welcome to bring any of your own family information or memorabilia.


Please RSVP and let us know what you will bring to or call 508-384-8084.






July 4, 2005, McCrory, Woodruff Co., AR. This reunion has been taking place for 50 years or longer, and is for the descendants of Gilbert James Graves and Nancy Ann Tanner of AR.  There are usually 125-200 people attending.  For information, contact Bonnie Graves,


July 16 & 17, 2005, Siler City, NC - The 3rd annual reunion of the descendants of Enos Graves and his siblings of Randolph Co., NC (genealogy 789).  For information, contact Mary Cunningham,


July 29-30, 2005, San Antonio, TX - Descendants of all Graves families are invited.  For more information about this exciting event, contact the organizer, Ron Graves, at  Ron has now put together the complete schedule.  I will be talking about the DNA study, some of the southwestern U.S. and Texas Graves families, famous Graves descendants, trips to England, and the Jamestowne 400th anniversary celebration plans.  There will be a presentation by Sydney Holmsley, President of the San Antonio Chapter of the Jamestowne Society, and she will also talk about her Capt. Thomas Graves line.  Also, various Graves cousins will be talking about their family lines, and their displays and projects.  We are also looking forward to good food, socializing, and seeing some of the sights in San Antonio.  Make your reservations now while you’re thinking about it!







If your part of the Graves, Greaves, or other spelling, family is not yet included in the DNA study, it would be very helpful if you could either volunteer to participate (if you are a male with the Graves, etc.) surname or find someone else in your part of the family who would be willing to take part.


The test is very easy to take.  It just involves swabbing the inside of your mouth with 2 plastic applicators, putting the applicators in plastic vials, and returning them to the testing company.  If you want to take the test but are concerned that you can’t afford it, let me know and we may be able to provide the money.



Participants must be males who are descended in a direct male line from a male Graves ancestor.  This means the participant must have the Graves/Greaves surname unless there was a name change in the lineage.



It is important for families in the U.S. to have participants from England (or from families in Australia and elsewhere who know their ancestry in England) so that a link with English ancestors can be made.  However, it is just as important for family members in England to take part in the DNA study so that the various families in England can be linked with each other.  Tradition of connection with an ancient family is nice, but DNA proof of that connection is much more meaningful.



Go to the GFA website at, click on the DNA link at the top of the main page, then click on the link in the red-outlined box near the top of the next page.  This will take you to a page on the Family Tree DNA page.  Then just fill out the requested information, and your testing kit will be mailed to you the next day.  The 25-marker test is recommended, and the 37-marker test is even better (for most participants).



All contributions toward the DNA study will be much appreciated.  Many thanks to those of you who have already contributed.  We especially need funding for testing of descendants in the British Isles, some of whom may be less willing or able to pay the cost.  You may also want to consider sponsoring a relative as a way to get a test for your part of the family.  In response to questions asked about the total amount of money needed over the next couple of years to sponsor this testing program, the need is in the thousands of dollars, but any contribution will be appreciated.






In the U.S., the frequency of the names Graves, Greaves, and other variations in the 1990 census can be estimated from U.S. Census Bureau data at  The % frequency and the rank among all surnames in the census are below.  It can be seen that the Graves spelling is by far the most common in the U.S. (often caused by changing from another spelling).

Graves             0.039   276

Greaves            0.002   6364

Greve               0.001   14894

Grieve              0.001   15188

Grieves 0.000   20868

Grave               0.000   21558


The Office of National Studies in the U.K. has compiled a similar list of surnames in use in England, Wales and the Isle of Mann in September 2002.  This list is a subset of the total population, and contains almost 270,000 surnames, shared by 54.4 million people.  In contrast to the U.S., the Greaves spelling is almost twice as common as Graves.  This can be found at  The numbers are the count, the ranking among all surnames, and an estimate of the total count for that surname since the start of parish registers in the 16th century.

Greaves            14,256             517                  49,896

Graves             7,994               983                  27,979

Grieve              2,495               3056                8,733

Grieves 621                  9584                2,174

Greeves            571                  10225              1,999

Grave               300                  16378              1,050

Greves             143                  26388              501

Greve               107                  31766              375


Another survey has been done in the U.K. from telephone directories about 1980, and can be found at Survey of Contemporary Surnames,  It is not complete and has more errors and duplications.  The numbers are the absolute count, with frequency per 10,000 in parentheses.


Greaves (especially in Yorkshire and Lancashire), 1617 total, Sheffield 282 (138), Leeds 238 (84), Bradford 146 (65), Manchester Northeast 149 (69), Manchester South 101 (37), Manchester Northwest 90 (39), Preston 131 (51), Birmingham 182 (48), Leicester 148 (56), London 150 (15)


Graves (especially in East England), 911 total, Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire 124 (80), Leicester 65 (24), Peterborough 58 (39), Cambridge 78 (45), Bedford 65 (26), Norwich 41 (24), Southend-on-Sea 64 (29), Canterbury 83 (29), Brighton 54 (20), Cumbria and North Lancashire 68 (46), Liverpool 51 (22), London 160 (16)


Grieve (Scottish), 620 total, Edinburgh 232 (114), Fife 142 (173), Dundee 119 (106), Glasgow 127 (36)


Grieves, 111 total, Tyneside 70 (35), Durham and Wearside 41 (25)


Grave, Cumbria and North Lancashire 18 (12)





This bulletin is written and edited by Kenneth V. Graves,  Ken Graves was also editor of the Graves Family Newsletter (no longer published).  This bulletin will contain announcements and news of special interest to Graves descendants with Internet access.  It will not contain queries, genealogies, photos, and the kind of in-depth articles that used to appear in the Graves Family Newsletter.



Send any material you would like to have included in this bulletin to  The editor reserves the right to accept, edit or reject any material submitted.



If you do not already belong to the GFA, you can join by sending $20 per year to Graves Family Association, 20 Binney Circle, Wrentham, MA 02093 (more details on GFA website).  Payment may also be sent electronically via PayPal by going to and sending payment to  Benefits include access to the “members only” section of the website, membership directory, and help with learning more about your Graves/Greaves family.  The purpose of the GFA is to bring together as many descendants as possible to work toward learning more about the Graves/Greaves families, to help other descendants, and to instill pride in our ancestry.



Although the contents of this bulletin are copyrighted by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves, you are hereby granted rights, unless otherwise specified, to re-distribute articles to other parties for non-commercial purposes only.  Do not re-distribute the newsletter in its entirety.



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