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. 9, Oct. 29, 2006




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


Information on how to start a free subscription to this bulletin and how to be removed from the subscription list is at the end of this bulletin.  If you received this bulletin directly, then you are already subscribed.


Visit the GFA web site at






** General Comments

** Mid-Atlantic Chapter GFA Meeting November 18

** Possible Future Graves/Greaves Gatherings

** Some Suggestions for Viewing the GFA Website

** GFA Website Changes

** Greaves and Graves Families of Yorkshire

** How to Order and Upgrade DNA Tests

** Contributing to the DNA Testing Fund

** Name Change from MacGregor to Grierson to Grieve to Greaves

** Family Myths

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






It has been a couple of months since the last Graves Family Bulletin.  Many things have happened, some of which are discussed below.


We still have a need for more people to participate in the DNA study, especially in those families that have not yet had anyone tested.  And we need contributions to our scholarship fund for those who are unable or unwilling to pay for the testing.


As I travel around I like to try to organize gatherings of Graves and Greaves family members.  Some of those opportunities are mentioned below.  Please let me know if you are interested in any of these, especially if you would like to help organize one.


Finally, for those of you who would like to help, one worthwhile activity would be to contact people with the Graves, Greaves, Grieve, etc. surname in your area, tell them about the Graves Family Association, and perhaps even organize a get-together.  I may be able to provide help and suggestions if you want.






The next meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Graves Family Association will be on Saturday, November 18, 2006, 2-5 PM, at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA.  For more information, contact John Graves at (443)542-2860 (work) or (410)867-6758 (home), or by email at






I will be in Houston, TX this coming weekend, arriving at the Sheraton North Hotel, close to Bush Intercontinental Airport, about 3 PM, Thursday, Nov. 2, and returning home early the morning of Sunday, Nov. 5.  I will be attending the 3rd International Conference on Genetic Genealogy, and will be in meetings all day Friday and Saturday.  However, I can arrange to be available to meet with anyone or a group of people on Thursday afternoon, or for dinner on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.  If you are interested, let me know.  I would love to see you and any other Graves descendants you can find.


My wife, Sarah, and I will be going to Bradenton, Florida, again this winter.  We will be leaving Massachusetts on either Sunday, Jan. 28 or Monday, Jan. 29, 2007, for a meeting that evening of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the GFA in the Washington, DC area.  I would also like to have a meeting in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia.  Let me know if you are interested.


We will be driving home from Florida in early February, and I would like to have a meeting in either the Montgomery or Birmingham, Alabama area, probably about Feb. 10.  Is anyone interested in helping organize the gathering?


After the national Graves reunion in Williamsburg, VA next June, I will be driving to Louisville, KY to participate in the National Senior Games in both cycling and track and field events.  A Graves reunion may be organized in Kentucky about the third week of June.






These suggestions actually apply not only to the GFA website, but to any website you look at.


First, I was recently asked about the size of the type on the GFA website.  It was pointed out that some people might have difficulty reading some of the pages because the type is too small or there is not enough contrast on the page.  If you or anyone you know is having this problem, there is a simple solution.  On most (and perhaps all) browsers there is a View pull-down menu at the very top of the browser page.  If you click on that, you will get a set of options that includes Text Size.  By clicking on the desired text size, you can set the page to meet your needs.


The second suggestion is one I have mentioned before.  Whenever you are visiting a web page that you have looked at previously and you want to see whether it has been changed or updated, always remember to use your browser’s “Refresh” or “Reload current page” option.  Otherwise, you may be looking at the version of the page that was stored in your computer from the last time you looked at the page and not at the latest version.






A new research puzzle is now mentioned on the main page of the website.  Detailed discussion of this and the previous puzzle can be seen on the puzzle page.  This one is regarding a possible incorrect placement of a line in genealogy 152 for Thomas Graves of Lunenburg Co. & Mecklenburg Co., VA.


Other website changes will be made as soon as I am able to get them done, including implementing the membership section.






A special effort has recently been made to learn more about the Greaves and Graves families of Yorkshire, England.  On the charts page of the website is a section that groups the Yorkshire families into the Greaves families of the Bradford and Leeds area, the Greaves families of the Ecclesfield and Sheffield area, and the Graves families of Yorkshire.  Some new genealogies and charts have been added, and others have been updated.  It is believed that most, if not all, of the Greaves families are apt to be related, and the Graves families may also be related.  Additional research in Yorkshire records is needed, and families living there should be contacted for their information.  Volunteers to help with this will be appreciated.


These Yorkshire families are probably related to others in England, but none of them have participated in the DNA study, so we don’t yet know about their common origins.  If you or anyone you can find is descended from any of these families, please consider taking the test or encouraging others to participate.







If your Graves or Greaves family has not yet been tested, it is very important that a male descendant with the Graves/Greaves surname be tested.  This is the only way we will know for sure which ancestral family you are descended from.  In addition, for a large family with many lines, we are trying to have a descendant of each line tested so that our knowledge of the family will be more complete and we will be better able to place other families that may be related.



Go to the Graves Family Association website at, scroll down to the DNA Study section and click on the “How to sign up” link.  Then select the second option and fill in the requested information.



If you have already been tested, but only for 12 or 25 markers, it would be helpful for you to upgrade to at least 37 markers.  If you are in a family where all the results at even 37 markers are very similar, then you should upgrade to 67 markers so that we will be better able to distinguish one branch from another.



Go to the Family Tree DNA website at, login to your personal page, click on the link at the top of the page for “Order tests”, and fill in the requested information.  No additional sample is needed.  Upgrades are never done automatically, and they will always cost something.






We are presently $1,078 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 fund 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.






When I was in Sunderland, England in May, I met Andrew Greaves and his mother Dorothy.  She recently sent me a copy of an article published in Heraldry in Canada, Sept. 1998, pages 12-16, by Kevin Greaves.  The article describes a search for a Greaves ancestral line that was done primarily through heraldry, starting with a family shield and crest on some possessions belonging to the author’s great-great-grandfather.  The story seemed so unusual and interesting that I want to share it with others.  It is a good example of how surname spelling can change over time, influenced by change of place and other factors.


I won’t describe the series of events in the search for and discovery of the information, but just the final result.  Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage for Scotland gives ten generations of his ancestry from where his own family branched off, back to the 1300s.  The earliest known ancestor was one Malcolm Macgregor, whose younger son Gilbert, living in the English-speaking lowlands north of Dumfries, took the name Grierson (an anglicized version of the Gaelic Macgregor) on receiving a grant of lands in 1400.  As a result of this ancestry, the Griersons (and their descendants the Grieves and Greaveses) are listed in the tartan reference books as septs of the Clan Gregor.


Apparently, about 1680, the name for one branch of the family became Grieve.  In 1784, personal grants were made to a couple of physicians, John and James Grieve, both noted as being “from Russia”.  They were brothers in the service of the Empress of Russia in the Russian Army Medical Service, and were descended from the family of Grierson of Lag in the County of Galloway.  They had two other brothers, Alexander Macfarlane-Grieve, who was the progenitor of that line, and the eldest, William Grieve, surgeon, born 1727, who settled in Grenada, West Indies.  In Grenada, the spelling of the name became Greaves


A baptism in Grenada in 1768 was for Parris Greaves, son of Dr. William Greaves and Mary his wife.  Dr. Parris Greaves (1768-1837), great-great-grandfather of Kevin Greaves, settled in Barbados after his medical training in Britain.






A family myth is a traditional story or belief that serves to explain and support something about an individual or group within that family.  This can involve the origin of the specific family line, and may or may not be true.  Very seldom are these myths completely true, but they are sometimes true, and they often do have pieces of truth and important clues to the family ancestry.  One such example is the family of John Graves and Margery Harvey of Randolph Co., NC (genealogy 77).  A copy of notes of Phanney Graves (b. 1803) stated that her grandfather, John Graves, was from a John Graves, born in England, who came to America about 1635.  I ignored this for years, since it didn’t seem to make much sense.  Then, when we began the DNA study and found that the DNA of the descendants of John Graves of Randolph Co., NC matched that of John Graves of Concord, MA (genealogy 166), it achieved a whole new level of credibility.


As a result of some of my comments in the last GF Bulletin about connections between Graves/Greaves families in the northern and southern parts of the U.S., William H. Graves (descended from genealogy 208, Bela Curtis Graves and Dorothy Wallace of VT, NY, OH & IL) wrote:

“I read with great interest your report on the results of the DNA studies on the Virginia Graves.  The fact that several of the Virginia progenitors shared a connection to New England reminded me of the story that my father, William A. Graves, often told.  He said his father had told him that the emigrant Graves from whom we are descended was one of three brothers who, when they came to America, each went their separate ways: one going to New England, one to the Middle Colonies and one to the South, possibly Virginia.


I suspect this tale is probably fairly common, and a rather simple way of explaining the complex and often confusing relationships between the various families carrying the Graves name residing all over the United States.  The added feature that made this story unusual was the claim that these three young men who lived somewhere on the coast of England had to flee because one of them was wanted by the law.  To get out of England, they supposedly placed one of the brothers in a barrel and nailed on a top.  The barrel was loaded on a ship just before it departed and the three men made their way to America and new lives.  According to this story, anyone knowing this story is a descendant of one of the three brothers.


I have no idea when or even if this story actually took place.  I know my father's father and uncles believed it to be true and had heard it from their father, Bela Graves.”


Bill would like to know if anyone else has heard this story.  As he wrote, the story is a fairly common way to explain people of the same name in different places, and is suspect.  However, perhaps there is enough truth to it to provide some 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.



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.



To subscribe to this bulletin, send an e-mail message to  Please include your full name.  Your postal mailing address and information on your Graves/Greaves ancestry would also be appreciated, although not essential.


To remove your name from this subscription list, send an e-mail message to asking to be removed.