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. 8, No. 7, June 1, 2006




Copyright © 2006 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** General Comments

** GFA Website Changes

** Report on My Recent Trip to England

** Contributions Needed for DNA Study

** Some Future Events

** Plans for Finding Ancestry of Capt. Thomas Graves of VA in England

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






Many things have happened recently.  The Graves Family Association website has been completely changed, and that change is continuing.  I have just completed a trip to England with 8 meetings in 8 cities and towns.  The GFA Mid-Atlantic Chapter has had its planning meeting on May 20 and is planning its first chapter meeting in September.


In addition, our DNA testing company, Family Tree DNA, has increased the maximum number of Y-DNA markers it tests from 59 to 67.  That will provide even better resolution for those of you who have had 37 markers tested and are in a group where there is very little differentiation.  It will get us closer to being able to pinpoint the exact connection rather than just a distant common ancestor.


Soon you will be hearing more about our reunion next June in Williamsburg, VA.  I learned in London that we will have at least some representation of our English cousins at the reunion.


Finally, you may have been wondering how the book publishing is going.  The final editing, indexing, and publishing of the book for the Graves families of Randolph Co., NC has been delayed because of all the other things that have been happening.  I hope to complete that soon.  On the bright side, we are working diligently on the Capt. Thomas Graves book.  There is no way that the complete work can be ready by the previously-promised date of spring 2007, but I am hoping that a preliminary version will be ready before next June’s meeting in Williamsburg.






You may have noticed the changes to the Graves Family Association website.  It now has a completely new look.  I am hoping that it not only looks better, but that it will be easier for you to find what you are looking for.  One new page that has been added is “Interesting Stories” in the History section.  There will be other additions and changes in the future.  The biggest change, coming soon, will be a “Members Only” section.  This will provide extra information for members (including access to the Graves Family Newsletter, published from 1976 to 2002, census extracts, etc.), and will allow you to change your contact information, check your membership status and pay dues.  There will also be pages added for Regional GFA Chapter information.


Please let me know what you think of the website.  Are you having difficulty finding anything?  Are any parts of the website confusing?  All suggestions for changes and additions will be appreciated.


VIEWING TIP: If you want to be sure of seeing the most recent website page on the GFA website or any other website, remember to refresh your browser to reload the current page.  Otherwise you may view an old version of the page that is stored in your computer’s cache memory.






I was in England from May 10 through May 18.  Bruce and Lola Graves (descended from John Greaves of St. Mary’s Co., MD, gen. 247) went with me.  The main purpose of the trip was to meet as many descendants of Greaves, Graves, Grieve(s), etc., families as possible, and try to gather genealogical information and DNA testing samples from them.  The times and places of each of the 8 scheduled meetings were as follows.


The meetings were very successful.  Attendance ranged from 6 at the first meeting in Chester to 35 at Keswick, and generally was around 20.  We were in competition with the horse races in Chester, a jazz festival in Keswick, and the UEFA Champions League football (soccer) final in London.  (Unfortunately for the English fans, Barcelona beat Arsenal 2-1 to win their first European Cup in 14 years.)  There was no obvious advantage to holding a meeting in a city such as London versus in a small town such as Keswick.


14 DNA kits were distributed, most for testing on the spot, all for the 37-marker Y-DNA test.  Several other people promised to order a testing kit from the website.  (To order, go to the GFA website at, scroll down to the DNA section, and click on the link for “How to sign up”.)  The DNA test results are expected back by early July.


Although much genealogical information was gathered, a major challenge is to get more from all those tested plus other family members.


Prior to the trip, I sent press releases to all newspapers in each area, contacted local history and genealogy societies, and sent letters to those with the surname who were listed in online telephone directories.  I was also interviewed by BBC radio while I was there.  As a result of this publicity, contact was made with others who couldn’t attend but who may provide family information in the future.


This trip and the meetings were a learning experience.  I may try to do some things differently in future meetings.  Minor problems were that 8 meetings in 8 days is very hectic, and that I probably should have rented a GPS system so I wouldn’t get lost as much. However, the most important problem may have been that in some of the meetings there wasn’t enough time for me to meet with all of the people attending, and for them to discuss their family and ancestry.  I’m not sure how to solve this problem, since I’m only one person, but perhaps having a portion of the meeting for people to talk about their part of the family and their interests might be helpful.  Let me know if you have any suggestions about this or about any other aspect of the trip and meetings.






We are presently more than $1,100 in debt for our sponsorship fund. You can see the status at any time by going to the Graves Family Association website. About halfway down the main page is a link titled “How to financially contribute to the study”. Clicking on that link provides some explanation of the purpose of the find and its status.  Although we don’t want to discourage anyone from participating, especially when their test results would provide important information for other descendants, we very much need financial support from more of you to be able to continue this program.  As described on the sponsorship page, you can send checks to the Graves Family Association or use PayPal.






MEETING IN BEREA, OHIO, SEPT. 17: There will be a meeting in Berea, Ohio (near Cleveland) on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2006.  This will be for all Graves/Greaves descendants, and will probably include dinner afterwards.


TRIP TO ENGLAND AND IRELAND, MAY 2009: This date is tentative.  This will be a group tour similar to the one in 1995 (see the website page for “Recent Events”).  It will be a guided tour of historic and scenic places, as well as providing the opportunity to meet some Graves/Greaves family members and visit places where the family has lived.  More information is on the website page for “Future Events”, and other details will be provided in the future.  Start saving your money now.






Not only is Capt. Thomas Graves of VA the first settler with the Graves surname in America (in 1608), but also he is believed to be the immigrant ancestor of many Graves descendants in America.  In spite of much research over many years, this family has been shown to be the most difficult of any major Graves family to accurately define.


The amount of new information gathered from our DNA study has been of tremendous value in giving us a much better understanding of the structure of the family of Capt. Thomas Graves of VA than we could ever have gotten by traditional research alone.  However, many of us have been surprised and puzzled by the discovery that the descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves are apparently actually descended from a total of 3 or 4 immigrant ancestors, not just one.  One question that needs answering is how this can be.  A second question is, assuming this is correct, which of the 3 or 4 immigrants was Capt. Thomas Graves.


The four apparent lines are: (1) Thomas1, John2, Ralph3, Ralph4, (2) Thomas1, John2, Thomas3, John4, (3) Thomas1, Thomas2, Thomas3, John4, John5, and (4) Thomas1, Francis2.  With the first 3 lines, the generations at the end (that is, the 4th generation for the first two and the 5th for the third) are the earliest ancestor in that line for who the DNA result has been confirmed by finding at least two descendants for whom this is the common ancestor.  For Francis Graves, we do not have even a solid common ancestor that far back.



(1) DNA tests are needed on other direct male lines from generations 2 and 3 of the first 3 lines.  For Francis Graves, DNA tests are needed on other direct male lines to get back to generations 2 or 3.

(2) The only serious suggestion for the ancestry of Capt. Thomas Graves is the unproven information in the LDS records.  This is that he was a son of Thomas Graves and Joan Blagrove of Lamborne, Berkshire, England.  We should search the records to find whether there is any truth in this.  Although I hired a researcher in Salt Lake City to do this and he found there was no merit to this claim, I am not satisfied with the thoroughness of his search.

(3) Three of the four lines match families found in England.  The first line matches with genealogies 168, 65, etc., and is known to have come from the area around Hertford, England.  Line 2 matches with genealogy 47 from Northamptonshire.  Line 4 (Francis Graves) matches with genealogies 28, 28A, 228, etc., from London, Derbyshire, etc.  These families need to be researched in England, with the hope that the connection with America may be found by this research.


We need volunteers to organize and oversee this research.  We also need money to hire people to do some of the research.  With the clues we now have, I am confident that this effort will produce the results we want if we are willing to do what is required to make it happen.  Let me know if you are willing to help.





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.



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