"Who Do You Think You Are?" Season Two: Episode Two

by Julie Hill

Posted on February 15, 2011

George Washington the Virginia Colonel, 1772.

George Washington the Virginia Colonel, 1772.

Whether you tuned in at RootsTech or at home, everyone was sure to enjoy last Friday's "Who Do You Think You Are?" episode featuring Tim McGraw. As an American country music icon, McGraw brought star-power, and also a really interesting family story.

We were excited to see Archives.com Expert Series author Kathleen Brandt featured as one of the historians helping McGraw to trace his ancestors. Brandt appears in the first couple minutes of the episode, introducing McGraw to the 'Chrisman' surname, and his sixth great grandfather Isaac Chrisman.

You can read Kathleen Brandt's bio and Expert Series articles here.

Through McGraw's journey he found out that Isaac Chrisman was a settler in SW Virginia, and was murdered in 1777 by a band of Indians, believed to be Cherokee. Going back even further, he finds his eighth great-grandfather Jost Hite, a German who came to America and was instrumental in the settlement of the Shenandoah Valley. The Hite family knew President George Washington personally; the young Washington had even stayed with them as a 16 year old on a surveying trip through the area. Historical documents reveal that Washington revered the Hite family, who truly lived the American dream and prospered through hard work.

McGraw displayed avid curiosity throughout the episode about his ancestry, and his research revealed that his ancestors were much like himself in their values and work-ethic. The professional researchers, including Brandt, did an excellent job guiding him through this process. In many cases they were able to uncover original documents related to McGraw's ancestors, which was truly astonishing.

For the everyday family historian, online repositories can be a great place to start your research. Archives.com has built an easy-to-use records database, consisting of over 1.1 billion unique records, including vital records, scanned newspapers, surname histories, and more.

To watch the full Tim McGraw episode visit the NBC website.

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