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Spoiler Alert: If you don’t already know what happened during Tim McGraw’s
episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” you are about to find out.
Country singer Tim McGraw, after looking at his birth certificate as a teenager,
discovered the man he thought was his father was not his biological father. His birth
certificate named baseball star Tug McGraw as his father, who he then forged a relationship
with as an adult. Tug passed on without revealing much about the McGraw family tree,
so Tim explored the paternal line of his ancestry on “Who Do You Think You Are?”
After gathering a few clues from his uncle, McGraw travels to Kansas City, Mo., to
find out more about his great-grandparents Andrew and Ellie Mae McGraw. He views Ellie’s
death certificate and discovered she was a member of the Chrisman family, who settled
that area of Missouri.
This led him to Virginia, researching sixth-great-grandfather Isaac Chrisman. Using
surveying records and historical maps, McGraw discovers Chrisman lived on the boarder
of Indian territory in colonial Virginia. Through a report made by a militiaman, McGraw
discovers Chrisman was attacked by Indians and died.
Issac Chrisman’s grandfather is Jost Hite, a German immigrant. He traveled to the
colonies as an indentured servant with the Pressler family — ancestors of Elvis Presley.
Hite quickly worked his way out of servitude and was awarded a massive land grant
in Virginia. McGraw views Hite’s deeds, and heads to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley
to see his land.
The Hite trail then leads McGraw to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. There
an archivist shows him George Washington’s teenage journal, which indicates Washington
lodged at the Hite family home. McGraw also reads a letter written by Washington to
his ne’er-do-well neighbor, in which he praises the Hites as a prime example of how
one should live his life.
While McGraw had professional researchers to help him navigate land plats and Virginia
records, our Family Tree University Land
Records 101 course and our Virginia
research guides to help you find your ancestors on your own.
“WDYTYA” airs Fridays at 8pm EST on NBC. Check the Genealogy Insider blog for a brief
recap of each episode, and post a comment to be entered to win in our Discover
Who You Are sweepstakes!