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Tim McGraw Finds Hard Workers (and Elvis Presley?) in His Family History

Tim McGraw
Charles Skyes, NBC

Tim McGraw got some big surprises about his family history on NBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ Friday night. For example, it turns out his ancestors migrated to America on the same boat with the family members of ‘The King’ himself, Elvis Presley.

Thanks to the show, McGraw was able to go eight generations back in his family tree, to 1772, in  pre-revolutionary America. One of his ancestors, Isaac Chrisman, chose to live right on the boundary of Indian territory back in 1774. At the time, that was a very dangerous thing to do, and in fact, just a few years after buying that land, he and two of his sons were murdered by the very Indians he lived by. Which makes for an unexpected real-life connection to the lyrics of McGraw’s first big hit, 1994′s ‘Indian Outlaw.’

The journey eventually took McGraw to Washington D.C. and the Library of Congress, where he was able to look at a very special document. It was the journal of one of the most famous figures in all of history, George Washington. Our first President was a 16 year old kid at the time, and he wrote about meeting McGraw’s ancestors, the Hite family, and even staying at their home one night while traveling through the Shenandoah Valley.

McGraw reflected on growing up a “poor kid” and marveled at learning this was a common thread shared by many of his ancestors. Like McGraw, many of them started with little, and also made something better of themselves.

Going through this experience was very profound for McGraw because he knew so little about his family tree. He didn’t meet his dad, baseball star Tug McGraw, until he was 19 and considered his family history, ”sort of a blank hole for me.” About meeting his father, McGraw revealed, “it changed who I thought that I could be. There was something in me that I discovered that I didn’t know was there.”

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