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. 9, No. 4, April 4, 2007




Copyright © 2007 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves.  All rights reserved.


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** General Comments

** June 2007 Reunion in Williamsburg, VA

** Help Still Needed for Williamsburg Reunion

** Other Help Needed

** Other Reunions

** Update on the John Grave Who Left a 1692 Will in Virginia

** Presentations by Ken Graves At Family History Conference In Franklin, MA

** Digitizing the Books of the World and How That Might Affect Us

** Follow-up to Name Change Article in Oct. 2006 Bulletin

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






Most of the planning for the June reunion in Williamsburg is complete, and the revised schedule with costs is now on the website.  As part of the planning for the tour of the Eastern Shore of Virginia in June, Sarah and I stopped on the way home from Florida to see the places where Capt. Thomas Graves lived and worshipped.  Other details about that reunion, other reunions, and other exciting happenings are discussed in this issue of the Bulletin.






There is still time to register for the reunion in Williamsburg, VA on June 14-17.  Big attractions are the history of the area, the many events for the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in America, and the fact that Capt. Thomas Graves arrived in Jamestown in 1608.  However, we will be discussing all the various Graves families at the reunion, and many of the families of Virginia were related to families in New England and elsewhere.  No matter which Graves or Greaves ancestor you are descended from, this reunion should be helpful and rewarding.  If you can possibly attend, you should.


If you are thinking about attending, you may still be able to get a room at the Patrick Henry Inn, or they will refer you to a nearby hotel.  But don’t put it off any longer.  See the reunion page of the GFA website for details on how to contact the Inn, etc.


There is now an updated registration form and schedule of events on the website.  The new form has many more details of the schedule and costs for the meals and tours.  Even if you have sent the preliminary registration form, you now need to send the information on this final registration form and your payment to reserve your place for the dinners and tours.






Entertainment at Dinners

We plan to have entertainment and/or a speaker at the two dinners.  The details of that have not been finalized.  What would you like to do or hear?  Please let me know and, even better, volunteer to help provide the speaker or activity.


Musical entertainment at June reunion

It would be nice to have some musical entertainment at our June reunion in Williamsburg.  There are lots of Graves family members who are musical.  Can anyone lead singing, provide a Graves soloist or musical group, etc?  Major Richard P. (“Rich”) Graves will have his guitar and bass there.  How about some of the rest of you?


Large Family Charts

I want to provide large wall charts of descendants for the families that will be at the June reunion.  These charts can easily be generated from genealogies in any of the common genealogy programs such as Family Tree Maker.  In the last issue of this Bulletin, I asked for those of you with a large amount of information in a genealogy program to contact me so I could generate the charts.  The response has been less than overwhelming.


I am now asking you to create your own charts that can be displayed on the wall.  We will have lots of time at the reunion to exchange information and talk about our families, and large charts that everyone can see and discuss will be very helpful.  Let me know if you have any questions.


Other Family Memorabilia

Feel free to take any items to the June reunion that you think might be of interest to others, such as photos, old documents, etc.






Website Design: As a result of this announcement in the previous issue of this Bulletin, we did get one volunteer to help.  However, more help is needed if the new features that are needed are to be added in the near future.  I know some of you have some expertise in this area, and there are others who have children or other relatives who are expert web designers.  Because I don’t have all the knowledge needed and I am having difficulty finding satisfactory professional assistance, I would appreciate your help.  The most important feature to be added to the website is a “members only” section that would be password protected and would contain databases and other information of special interest and benefit to members.  It would also allow members to update their personal information and pay dues online.


Other features to be added will include an online store where books, Graves/Greaves products, etc. can be purchased.


If you have the expertise and the willingness to assist with some of this, please let me know.


Publicity and Promotion: Getting the goals and activities of the Graves Family Association mentioned in magazines and newspapers around the U.S. and elsewhere would help attract members and support.  If anyone has experience and expertise in these areas and would like to help, please contact me.


Membership Recruitment: One of the tasks that would be very helpful is contacting all genealogy and history societies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, England, and other pertinent countries, and telling them about what we are doing. This would include our reunions and trips, our efforts to track down all Graves and Greaves descendants, gather their family information, get them to participate in the DNA study, etc.  Another task could be contacting all people of our surname in an area and talking to them about meeting, sharing family information, etc., preferably by phone and personal contact rather than by mail.


List of Immigrants To Virginia

I would like to develop a complete list of all immigrants to Virginia, with references for where they are mentioned (such as the will in the preceding article).  Please let me know if you can help, or send me your lists.






Information about the following GFA reunions is also on our website.


Saturday & Sunday, June 23-24, 2007 - Reunion for all Graves and Greaves families, Frankfort, KY, at the Hampton Inn, 1310 U.S. 127 South.  Saturday, Registration 1-4 PM, and Meet, Greet and Share 1-8 PM.  Sunday, 9 AM-3:30 PM.  Ken Graves will be speaking on Sunday, and will probably be there on Saturday evening also.


To help with this, to let them know you want to attend, or for more information, please contact Jim Graves at (or call 502-347-0967), or Mary Lou Watkins at (or call 859-846-4087). They would especially appreciate your help in contacting your cousins and other Graves descendants about attending.


Friday & Saturday, July 27-28 2007, Inaugural meeting of the GFA Southwest Chapter, Clarion Hotel, Waco, TX, for all Graves/Greaves descendants.  Registration and reception Friday afternoon, and dinner and get-together Friday evening.  On Saturday, there will be meetings, lunch, and discussions from about 8:30 a.m. until about 4:30 p.m.  For information and to help, contact Ron Graves at


March 2008 - Reunion for all Graves and Greaves families, probably in Auburn, AL (but possibly in Montgomery or Birmingham area). Anyone who would like to help organize this or who might like to attend, please contact Dick Graves at






Karen Chilton Beverly, descended from Capt. Thomas Graves of VA (genealogy 169), recently told me about a reference to a will in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (England) for the “will of John Grave of Virginia, North America”.  The will was dated 24 September 1692.  I ordered a copy of the will and have put it on the GFA website.  You can see it by going to the website, scrolling down to the “What’s New” section, and clicking on the link.


It was originally thought that once the will was transcribed, it might be for someone descended from Capt. Thomas Graves (genealogy 169). Most of the will has now been transcribed by Karen Beverly, along with another record that shows that John Grave was a Quaker and probably lived in Isle of Wight Co., VA. Can you complete the missing pieces of the transcription and help find what family he was part of?


As explained in the commentary on the website, it appears that John Grave may have been a fabric merchant (a draper). Two nephews, Peter Grave and Walter Potter, are mentioned in his will, but no wife or children are mentioned. It is interesting that his will seems to differentiate between the surname Grave and Grieves, but no mention is made of the spelling Graves.






Ken Graves will be making two presentations at the 2007 Franklin Family History Conference on Saturday, April 21, in Franklin, Massachusetts.  One presentation will be about using DNA for genealogy, and the other will be about the benefits of family associations.  For more information or to register for the conference, go to






There was an interesting article in the New York Times Magazine about this subject.  In addition to talking about how the digitizing of all media, especially books, is dramatically changing our lives, our culture, and the business models of our society, there are some interesting implications for genealogy, including Graves/Greaves genealogy.  Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that is contributed to by its users is one example of the value of digitizing information and making it available.  Links and tags may transform digitized writing as we have known it, making it much more valuable to all of us.  On the Graves Family Association website, I would like to use wikis with links and tags to increase the value of genealogies, allowing everyone to update, correct, and share information.  My question is, how can that be done?  Let me have your input.






In the Oct. 29, 2006 issue of this Bulletin (vol. 8, no. 9) was an article titled “Name Change from MacGregor to Grierson to Grieve to Greaves”.  The discussion was based on an article in Heraldry of Canada, Sept. 1998, by Dr. Kevin W. Greaves.  In a response, he wrote the following.


I am a retired physician born in Barbados to a Barbadian father and a Canadian mother. On my father's side, some of the family (mixed English and Scots) had lived in the island since 1639, although the Greaves line were relative latecomers, arriving from Scotland in the late 1700's. My interest in heraldry stems from my membership in the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, of which I have recently retired as president.


The article's intent was to show the way in which genealogy and heraldry could be linked and could help one another. The changes of surname were an interesting but secondary focus of the detective tale described in the piece. Speaking of the Griersons of Lag, your synopsis of the article says simply that "... about 1680, the name of one branch of the family became Grieve", but does not explain further, probably because that element of the story was contained in a page illustrating the heraldry of the various families, not in the main text of the article. Actually however, this is a fascinating piece of the puzzle, since the step from Grierson to Grieve seems a bit far-fetched. My first impression was that the change arose from inadvertence. Burke indicates that for two or three generations, some of the Griersons dropped the "-son" and were known simply as Grier, but does not specify when this occurred. Given the similarity between Grier and Grieve -- especially in handwriting -- it seemed at least plausible that the change could have occurred through a clerk's mistranscription. That may still be the correct interpretation. However, the discovery of a Robert Grieve (bapt. 1657) born to a Thomas Grierson and a Janet (or Jonet) Grieve puts a different light on the story. The assumption of the mother's surname strongly suggests that the mother was an heiress (i.e. had no brothers) and that the son, under Scottish law, took the mother's surname in order to inherit. This, then, rather than the similarity of names, appeared to be the cause of the change of surname.


This is bolstered by the heraldic facts. When two of Robert's great-grandchildren (both Grieveses) petitioned for arms in the 1770's, the court of the Lord Lyon recognized (in the text of the letters patent) their descent from the Griersons of Lag and granted them shields that were remarkably similar to those of the senior Grierson line -- the only change being a transposal of the colours, plus the usual Scottish borders for cadency. The crest (the object that sits on top of the shield) granted to the two brothers was, however, not the traditional Grierson crest (a fetterlock or shackle) but a mailed arm holding a dagger, presumably recognizing the change of surname. I have no evidence for the origin of that crest (the one used by my own great-grandfather), but suspect it may have been one associated with the Grieve family prior to the Grierson/ Grieve marriage.


I would be most interested if any of your correspondents could throw any light on this matter.





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.



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