“Who Do You Think You Are?” Episode 2 Recap

“Who Do You Think You Are?” Episode 2 Recap

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...

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!

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  1. I have been watching WDYTYA from Day 1, and have the companion book written by masterful genealogist Megan Smolyenak Smolyenak. The Tim McGraw episode was my favorite by far, followed closely by Matthew Broderick’s story last year.
    Not only because both of these stories took place on American soil, but I appreciated Tim and Matt and their sincere effort without a lot of hooplah.
    I also have researched for friends with slave ancestry and both of the stories last year by Emmitt Smith and Spike Lee were excellent.

  2. The WDYTYA episodes are interesting, but they don’t really show us how to trace the lines that don’t leave documentary evidence behind. Like my Irish Catholic ancestors with a very common name who were living on the lower east side of New York by 1832. No diaries, no land grants, no passenger lists (that I know of), just questions without answers. There are far more lines like this than there are lines that go back to Revolutionary veterans who applied for pensions, or ancestors who are buried in cemeteries that have been surveyed and recorded.

  3. WDYTYA is such an inspiration!!! I LOVE people’s life stories and those who are our ancestors have the best as we have to "work" to find them!!! I have Dutch roots and now have found someone who is willing to read and translate the documents for me!!!

  4. This was a really fun episode for me. I learned more about why my Palatine ancestors were inspired to leave their homeland for America and what the subsistence lists were. The most fun thing I learned though, was that my Palatine family traveled on the same ship as Tim McGraw and Elvis Pressley’s ancestors did. It’s a small world after all!

  5. After the Tim McGraw episode, my husband’s aunt called his mom & said that during the research a Civil War soldier, Daniel Smith from Virginia(now West Virginia)was mentioned. If this is so, I totally missed it. Can you tell me if it was mentioned, & if so, what was said about Daniel?