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. 5, May 31, 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

** Capt. Thomas Graves Of VA: Who Was He and Who Were His Descendants?

** Early Graves Settlers in Virginia

** Let Me Know About Any Problems With The GFA Website

** New Yahoo Group Set Up for Capt. Thomas Graves of VA

** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things






This issue of the Bulletin has a lot of information that relates to the upcoming reunion in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Because of the location of the reunion and the 400th anniversary celebration of the first permanent English settlement in America, special attention is given to Capt. Thomas Graves.  Future issues will include a more representative sampling of discussion of other families and other geographical areas.






If you plan to attend the reunion, please send your registration and payment to Ken Graves as soon as possible.  I need to have good estimates of the number of attendees as soon as I can in order to plan for the tours and dinners, and there are still some people who have said they will be there but haven’t yet sent their final registration and payment.


Even if you haven’t told me you would be attending, it is not too late to sign up.  The schedule and registration form is on the GFA website.  You may even be able to get a room at the Patrick Henry Inn in Williamsburg, since there are occasional cancellations from our group and others.  If you call the Patrick Henry Inn, be sure to tell the person you speak to that you are part of the Graves Family Association group to get the special room rate.  If you send your registration to me now, you will still be able to attend all events.  You may still be able to attend the dinners and tours up until the last minute, but I can’t guarantee it.  If you just want to attend the meetings, you can even register the day of the reunion, but it would be much better to let us know as soon as possible.


If you are flying into one of the area airports, there is information about ground transportation on the GFA website.  In addition to the options previously mentioned on the website, you can also contact Tidewater Coach, an airport shuttle service in Williamsburg, that services all 3 local airports.  Call Steve Urban at 757-218-9539 or go to






Over the years I have been asked many times when the long-promised book about Capt. Thomas Graves of Virginia and his descendants will be published.  The main reason for the delay over the years has been that it is a huge and expensive job, perhaps including as many as 3,000-4,000 pages when finished.  In addition to the task of compiling all the information, there are many areas of uncertainty and missing source material to be checked.  In the last several years, however, the results from our DNA study have introduced new uncertainty (while, at the same time, providing many new answers), and it is difficult to publish the genealogy in book or CD form until at least the major problems have been resolved.


So far, the DNA test results have shown that there are four major groups of descendants, each with a different DNA signature.  Discussion of the evidence for 4 different immigrant ancestors is on  A chart of the old and new structure for the lines from Capt. Thomas Graves is on  These 4 groups are descendants of:

(1) John2, Ralph3, Ralph4.

(2) John2, Thomas3, John4.

(3) Thomas2.

(4) Francis2.


With the first 2 lines, the 4th generation is the earliest ancestor for whom the DNA result has been confirmed by finding at least two descendants for whom this is the common ancestor. For lines 3 and 4, we only have a solid common ancestor back to generation 5.


Adventurers of Purse and Person, 4th edition, vol. 2, 2005, does not seem to support the conclusion that there were 3 or 4 separate immigrant ancestors of the descendants traditionally attributed to Capt. Thomas Graves.  This is because there was insufficient proof at the time of publication to make changes, but in a conversation with John Frederick Dorman, compiler and editor of this work, he said he does not find our results at all surprising.  Possible explanations for the results from DNA testing include: (1) male descendants of only one of the sons of Capt. Thomas Graves survived and had male children, (2) there are descendants out there but they haven’t yet been found (or even possibly some of them moved to the New England colonies or back to England), (3) there were events such as adoptions or children fathered by non-Graves men, causing lines of descendants that didn't have the DNA of Capt. Thomas Graves, and (4) this book and previous researchers are wrong and have included people who are not really descendants. The first option is a definite possibility, but the second and third options are extremely unlikely.  Option 2 is unlikely because we have found so many descendants of these lines and tested so many people, and there has been so much research and publicity over many years.  Option 3 is unlikely because 3 of the 4 lines exactly match known Graves lines. The likelihood of a Graves couple adopting an unrelated Graves child, or of a Graves man fathering a child by the wife of an unrelated Graves man, seems remote.  Option 4 is at least part of the problem; even with the best research, when documentation is incomplete there is a tendency to rely on less rigorous proof.


Line 1 - John2, Ralph3, Ralph4

Because the line of John2, Ralph3, Ralph4 is well documented and carries the name Crowshaw down through a number of generations, and that was supposedly the surname of the wife of Capt. Thomas Graves, that is most apt to be the line of his descendants.  The DNA results of the tested descendants of this line exactly match the results for the descendants of Thomas Graves of Hartford, CT (gen. 168) and his brother Deacon George Graves (gen. 65). The documentation for the early generations of this line seems solid, supporting the premise that this is the true line of Capt. Thomas Graves.


Line 2 - John2, Thomas3, John4

The results from the descendants of John2, Thomas3, John4 almost exactly match (24 of 25) the results for the descendants of William Greaves of Whitfield, Northamptonshire, England (gen. 47). Since there is not good documentation from John4 back to John2, it is not difficult to believe that this lineage is in error. The most uncertain link in the early generations of this line is John4 as a son of Thomas3, and that is where any error probably is.


Line 3 – Thomas2

The most surprising result is for the line of Thomas2, Thomas3, John4, John5. The documentation for this line is fairly good, and it was expected that it would match the John2, Ralph3 line. We have not yet found an English family whose DNA result matches this line. However, we may be able to find and test descendants of other branches of this family group, so it is still possible that the ancestral haplotype for this part of the family may change. On the other hand, another possibility is that Thomas2 was an adopted or illegitimate son of Capt. Thomas Graves, since his descendants are the only ones not yet matching a Graves or Greaves family in England. In any case, we should eventually find a match either with a Graves or Greaves family in England or with another surname.


Line 4 – Francis2

For Francis2, it is now believed that the documented youngest child of Capt. Thomas Graves was a daughter, Frances Graves, as discussed in an appendix to genealogy 169, and the male Francis Graves was a son of some other immigrant, presently unknown. We unfortunately have only two tested descendants of Francis Graves (with a third one in process as of May 2007), but the name Francis was carried on in other families (including genealogy 150) whose tested descendants exactly match the results for the Francis descendant. The results from Francis2 also exactly match the results of descendants of Rear Adm. Thomas Graves (gen. 28), John Graves of Concord, MA (gen. 166), John Greaves of St. Mary’s Co., MD (gen. 247), and others.


For a detailed look at the evaluation of whether Francis Graves was a son of Capt. Thomas Graves, look at the appendix in the Capt. Thomas Graves genealogy at


Action Needed

More lines from Francis2 and Thomas2 need to be tested, and more research in both America and England is needed to find the ancestors of all these parts of the family.  Although additional DNA testing will provide more confidence that the test results represent the ancestor (Francis or Thomas), that will not affect the conclusions for the lines already tested.  There are too many differences between the DNA results of the family groups in too few generations to hold out much hope that any of these groups will be shown to descend from a common immigrant ancestor.


One question this situation raises is, assuming these conclusions are correct, what happened to the direct male lineages from the other documented sons and grandsons of Capt. Thomas Graves.  Some possible answers to that question have been given above.






An interesting book has recently been published and is available from Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD.  It is Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary, by Martha W. McCartney.  Searching for other early settlers with the Graves (or variant spelling) surname needs to be done in the publications of John Camden Hotten, Peter Wilson Coldham, and elsewhere.


It is possible that some of the families of early Virginia as well as some of the family lines thought to descend from Capt. Thomas Graves could be descended from one or more of the following settlers.


The settlers with the Graves surname identified by this book are the following:

George Graves (or Grave) arrived in Virginia on the Seaventure in 1620.  On Feb. 16, 1624, he and his wife, Eleanor (or Elnor, a former widow), were living in urban Jamestown, where he was a household head.  Elnor arrived in 1615 or 1616 in the Susan.  On Jan. 24, 1625, they were still there, with George’s son, John, and Eleanor’s daughters, Sara and Rebecca Snowe.  John Graves (or Grave) was 10 years old at that time.  On Jan. 24, 1629, George Graves served on a jury.  He appears to have been a respected member of the community.  They are also listed on the Historic Jamestowne website, and in Jester, 1987, p. 32.

Nathaniel Graves, a gentleman who lived in Jamestown, accompanied Capt. John Smith on a Dec. 29, 1608 voyage to Pamunkey on the barge Discovery.  According to the Historic Jamestowne website, he arrived in 1608, was most likely a relative of Thomas Graves, 1608 colonist, and may have been from Leeds, Yorkshire; reference: Barbour, Smith’s Works, vol. II:192 (the collected writings of Capt. John Smith).

Robert Graves arrived in Virginia on the Southampton in 1623 and on Jan. 20, 1625, was living at Flowerdew Hundred, where he was a 30-year-old servant in Abraham Peirsey’s household.  He is also listed on the Historic Jamestowne website, and in Jester, 1987, p. 23.

Thomas Graves, a gentleman and Virginia Company investor, arrived in Virginia in 1608 in the 2nd Supply of new settlers, according to Capt. John Smith.  On May 30, 1618, Capt. Thomas Graves was named commander of Smyth’s or Southampton Hundred, and served as the community’s burgess in July and August 1619.  He was in Dublin, Ireland on Nov. 20, 1622, when he asked Virginia Company officials for a patent, stating that he was taking 100 people to Virginia.  By Feb. 16, 1624, he had taken up residence on Old Plantation Creek on the Eastern Shore.  Also mentioned in Virginia records were Katherine Graves, wife of Thomas, and his children John, Thomas, Ann, and Verlinda.  An orphan of Thomas Graves was identified as Francis Graves, although this is now believed to have been a daughter, Frances Graves.  Thomas Graves is also listed on the Historic Jamestowne website, with various additional references.

Francis Graves settled in Old Rappahannock (now Caroline) County.  Previously believed to have been a son of Thomas Graves, DNA testing of descendants has shown that he is probably of a separate family, although more testing of other lines of descent from Francis is needed to confirm this conclusion.


Early Virginia settlers from other sources include the one below.  Can some of you who have access to more complete Virginia records than I do please check other sources so that we can know as much as possible about all early Graves settlers?

Richard Graves was mentioned on page 56 (April 20, 1635) in the Ames edition of County Court Records, Accomack-Northampton, 1632-1640, and again in Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents, no. 344, as one of 10 persons transported by John Neale June 18, 1636. (This person has been suggested by Mrs. Mason Jones as a possible father of Francis Graves.)


George Cabell Greer, "1623-1626 Early Virginia Immigrants" (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1973), examined by Richard W. Kesler, lists the following:

Thomas Graves, imported by Stephen Gill in 1651.

Richard Graves, imported by Robert Pitts in 1637.

Richard Graves, imported by John Neale also in 1637.  This appears to be the same person mentioned by Mrs. Mason Jones (above) as possible father of Francis Graves.


Some of the publications to include in the search for additional names of settlers are the cited by Richard W. Kesler in his analysis of the parentage of Francis Graves.

Nell Marion Nugent, "Cavaliers and Pioneers Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623-1800", Volume 1, 1934, (Richmond: The Deitz Printing Co., 1934), p. 13

William Montgomery Sweeny, "Captain Thomas Graves and Some of His Descendants", William & Mary Quarterly, Series 2, Volume 15 (2592), p. 387

"Virginia Magazine of History and Biography", Volume 2, p. 60

Jennings Cropper Wise, "Ye Kingdome of Accawmacke or the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century" (1911, Rpt. Richmond: The Bell Book and Stationary Co., 1988), p. 37

Susie M. Ames, "County Court Records of Accomack- Northampton, Virginia 1632-1640", Volume 1 (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia), p. 145

Susie M. Ames, "County Court Records of Accomack- Northampton, Virginia 1640-1645", Volume 2 (Washington: The American Historical Association, 1954), p. 223

James Handley Marshall, "Abstracts of Wills and Administrations of Northampton County, Virginia 1632-1802" (Camden, Maine: Picton Press), p. 12

Ralph T. Whitelaw, "Virginia's Eastern Shore A History of Northampton and Accomack Counties", Volume 1, (Richmond: Virginia Historical Society, 1951), p. 141

"Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 1607-1624/5" published by Order of First Families of Virginia, 1607- 1624/5, fourth edition, 2007.

Susan Myron Kingsbury, "The Records of the Virginia Company of London" (Washington, 1906-35), Vol. II, p. 132

Clayton Torrence, "Virginia Wills and Administrations 1632-1800" (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1972), p. 330

Virginius Dabney, "Virginia The New Dominion" (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1972), p. 18

"Genealogies of Virginia Families from the William and Mary College Quarterly", Volume II (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1982), p. 772

"Genealogies of Virginia Families from Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine", Volume II (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1981), p. 71

Stratton Nottingham, "Wills and Administrations of Accomack County, Virginia 1663-1800" (Cottonport: Polyanthos, 1973), p. 3

George Cabell Greer, "1623-1626 Early Virginia Immigrants" (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1973), p. 134






It was recently called to my attention that some of the links in genealogies on the GFA website were not working, especially the ones in the Capt. Thomas Graves of VA genealogy (genealogy 169). The links in genealogies 169 and 220 now work. The problem is that every time I update a genealogy that contains links, the program in Microsoft Word that converts to the HTML web page puts in the wrong link addresses. So I have to manually put in the correct addresses, and sometimes I forget to do that. I have not yet found a good way to handle this problem. (Any suggestions will be appreciated.) As the comment on the main page of the GFA website says, please let me know when you find any problem with the website.


Also, if you have any additions or corrections for any of the genealogies on the GFA website, please send them to me. The changes will be made as soon as possible.






A new Yahoo group has been created for questions and discussion about the ancestry and descendants of Capt. Thomas Graves, 1608 settler in Jamestown, VA.  There has been discussion for some time about how to facilitate discussion among family members, and how to be of most help to people interested in a particular family group.  If this group and its mailing list are successful, we may create similar groups for other families.  An advantage of Yahoo groups is that they allow uploading of photos, databases, etc.  To join, go to the Graves Family Association website at and click on the Forums link at the top of the page.


Please let me know your thoughts on this or any other way to interact more effectively.  You can also share your thoughts on this and other subjects on the forum already set up for this purpose at





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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