Tim McGraw on Who Do You Think You Are
Lorraine L. Bourne, AG
Researching Tim McGraw’s ancestry was fascinating work and a rewarding experience for all those involved, including Ancestry.com and ShedMedia. There were a lot of interesting twists and turns in this research. As shown on the TV series, Tim McGraw did not know he was the son of Frank Edwin Jr. “Tug” McGraw until he was 11 years old, when he came across his birth certificate and saw that the McGraw surname was crossed out and Smith was written above it. This was an important discovery for Tim because Tug McGraw was one of his favorite baseball players and learning about his birth father gave him courage to move forward in difficult times as a child.
The goal of this production was to help Tim McGraw learn more about his father’s family. As shown in the production, Tim’s uncle Henry “Hank” McGraw was a valuable family resource in learning about the McGraw family.
Research started with Tug McGraw and went quickly backwards in time to Andrew McGraw and Ella May Nave, people Hank remembered. Census records at Ancestry.com and online newspaper articles helped identify information on the McGraw family. Andrew McGraw was in the butcher industry where he won awards for quickly dressing sheep. Ella May Nave was the daughter of David Robert Nave and Amelia Chrisman who lived in the vicinity of Kansas City, Missouri. The Chrisman family was among the pioneer stock of Jackson County, Missouri. Amelia died when Ella May was barely five years old. It was with Amelia’s family that Tim McGraw’s interesting and distinctive American heritage evolved.
Amelia was the descendant of three generations of Chrismans who lived in Jackson County, Missouri. Her great-grandfather was Gabriel E. Chrisman who moved to Missouri in the early 1800s along with her grandfather, Gabriel Scott Chrisman’s family. Her father was James Monroe Chrisman. Land and probate records, along with census records at Ancestry.com, helped to tie these generations together. The marriage record of Amelia “Melia” Chrisman to David Nave was found at Ancestry.com.
Gabriel E. Chrisman was the son of Isaac Chrisman and Jane Scott, an early Southwest Virginia frontier family. He and his young family founded Rye Cove Fort in what is now Scott County, Virginia in about 1772. As noted in the “Who Do You Think You Are” show, Isaac was living in dangerous territory just before the Revolutionary War began. He had crossed the British Proclamation Line if 1763 into Indian Territory. He and his family paid a high price for this choice because he lost his life due to an Indian attack. Gabriel was only eight years old when his father died but when he became of age, he helped with the settlement of his father’s estate.
The Indian uprisings at Rye Cove were recorded in the Revolutionary War pension of Charles Bickley, which was found at Footnote.com. John Redd’s handwritten reminiscences of Virginia talked about Isaac Chrisman’s death.
Of interest, Elvis Presley’s ancestors, the Preslars, traveled on the same boat to America with Jost Hite. It is fascinating to know that two famous music legends in Nashville, Tennessee, descended from early German immigrants who initially settled in New York about 1710 with a desire to build their American dream. Though Tim did not know who he descended from on his McGraw line before the “Who Do You Think You Are” show, he has exhibited some of the very same tenacity and strength his ancestors used to build his own American dream.