Last season NBC started airing a new show called “Who Do You Think You Are?” It’s sponsored by the genealogy-based website, Ancestry.com, and they take a celebrity and trace that person’s ancestors back as far as they can. They visit locations in the U.S. and even go back to Europe or Africa or wherever the quest takes them.
Pat and I were watching an episode last night featuring country singer, Tim McGraw. The story told how Tim thought his last name was “Smith” until he was 11 years old and found his birth certificate and learned that his name was really “McGraw” and that led him to the fact that he was the son of Tug McGraw the baseball player.
As they dug into his story, Tim learned that he was part of a pioneer family in Missouri named Chrisman. The Chrismans were tracked back to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia during the 1700’s. The story told how the Palatines fled religious persecution in Germany and traveled to England and then were recruited to travel to America. Upon arrival in America the people became indentured servants as the British forced them to work off the cost of their passage. The next revelation was that an earlier ancestor was named “Yost Heyd”. Yost Heyd was apparently an enterprising man and went from being an indentured servant in 1710 to being the largest private land owner in Virginia and was known as “The Baron of Shenandoah”. A young surveyor who was surveying the state recorded Yost Heyd’s name in his journal and probably knew him well. That young surveyor was George Washington.
While Pat and I watched the program, I began to perk up as I heard words like Palatine, Shenandoah, and then “Yost Heyd”. I remembered those names from several years ago when I was posting information and names to my Family Tree Maker database. After watching the program, I went to the computer, opened Family Tree Maker, and did a search on “Yost Heyd”. Sure enough, he popped up and the program said he is my 7th great grandfather! So, Guys…Tim McGraw is your cousin! I know that all of you guys would like to say hello to Tim and would certainly enjoy meeting up with his wife, Faith Hill.
Dave Thomas 11/12/2012
Tim McGraw and wife, Faith Hill.