Dr. Phil Gets Real with MyHeritage


Dr. Phil uses the power of television to tell compelling and emotional stories.
Just a few weeks ago, Dr. Phil took a MyHeritage DNA test to learn more about his ancestral roots and discover his ethnic makeup. Starting with a small family tree, MyHeritage’s matching technologies got to work. We were able to unearth some incredible historical records and stories about his ancestors. Friend of MyHeritage, Yvette Corporon, recently revealed his MyHeritage DNA results to him live on air.

Watch the MyHeritage DNA reveal:

Phillip McGraw was born in Vinita, Oklahoma, to Joseph J. McGraw, Jr. and Anne Geraldine “Jerry” (née Stevens). Phil grew up with two older sisters and one younger sister. The family moved to the oilfields of North Texas where his father was an equipment supplier. Later, the family found themselves moving often so that his father could pursue his lifelong goal of becoming a psychologist.

Ethnic origins
Dr. Phil discovered that he has overwhelmingly Irish, Scottish, and Welsh origins, amounting to 64.3% of his total ethnicity. His other ethnicities were English and Iberian.

DNA Matches
Dr. Phil was matched with 20,000 MyHeritage users from 64 different countries. Most are from the U.S., but some originate from Europe, and more interestingly, some hail from Central and South America, and even Asia.

Historical records
Dr. Phil’s Irish origins can be seen in the 1900 U.S. Census record for his great-grandfather, John McGraw. John was born in Ireland in 1847. His parents, Dr. Phil’s great-great-grandparents, were also born in Ireland. The family immigrated to the United States in 1878.

1900 United States Federal Census — John McGraw (Click to zoom)

In a record from the 1910 U.S. Census, Joseph Philips McGraw, Dr. Phil’s grandfather, is listed as a wagon driver in a feed store.

1910 United States Federal Census — Joe P McGraw

At the age of 33, Joseph was drafted to serve in World War I. His draft registration card, shown below, contains some fascinating details about his life, including his place of employment, and his nearest relative, his wife Susan. Furthermore, the card describes his physical appearance — he was of medium height and stout built, with grey eyes and brown hair.

Yvette handed Dr. Phil the framed WWI draft registration card as a keepsake of his family’s service to their country. Dr. Phil was emotional to receive this special piece of his heritage.

Joseph McGraw’s WWI draft registration card:

United States World War I Draft Registrations, 1917–1918 — Joe Phillip McGraw

We even found that Dr. Phil is 11th cousins three times removed with the recently deceased George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States.

Dr. Phil was amazed by his ethnicity breakdown and by the priceless discoveries he made about his family. Learning about his roots has left him inspired and connected to his ancestors in ways he never imagined.

Have you made any surprising family history discoveries of your own? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Connie Gilliam

    December 11, 2018

    I have no idea who my father is or anyone on my mothers side beyond her mom & dad. Help would be a

  • Peggy Johnson

    January 15, 2019

    I’m adopted I’m 71 year old lady dont know who I am I applied for my birth records so I know my name.

  • Craig Sanders

    January 15, 2019

    My father’s mother disappeared when he was 5, never to be seen again. All we had of her was her maiden name and that we believed she was from Texas born in 1894. I traced the only Fern Lois Powell I could find in Texas, and found a possible match. Her father being one C.R. Powell. Through DNA I was re-united with a grand daughter of one of her sisters. Our common grandfather being Charles Ransom Powell. We also discovered through DNA that my father’s oldest 2 brothers have a different mother than Fern Lois. We still do not know what happened to Fern (we are still looking) but at least we know where she came form and her remaining family in Texas know where she ended up, initially, in California after leaving the Texas family. We have made other interesting discoveries through DNA but this was the most exciting.

  • Jenita Dalton

    January 15, 2019

    Christmas 2017 my children surprised me with MyHeritage as they knew I had been looking for my biological father, I had a name but nothing more. In the year that followed I started getting matches, long story short, I believe I have tracked down a half sister whom I have contacted and she agreed to do the sibling testing, we should have results soon!

    • Esther

      January 16, 2019

      Hi Jenita,

      What an amazing discovery! We’d love to hear more at stories@myheritage.com.

      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Melissa

    January 16, 2019

    I had no idea I had a half brother from my father. He is 8 years younger than me and we grew up less than 3 miles apart. I also found out I was mostly Scandinavian. Having an Irish family name I was told my ancestors were from Ireland and Scotland, however, the DNA showed differently. I was amazed.

    • Esther

      January 16, 2019

      Hi Melissa,

      What an amazing discovery! We’d love to hear more at stories@myheritage.com.

      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Melissa Terhune

    January 16, 2019

    My exciting discovery is that the man listed on my birth certificate is not my father. I don’t know who my father is.
    I’m glad I did the test, but, am trying to figure out exactly who my father is. Since I’m in my 50’s I imagine he is deceased.

  • Doreen Flynn

    January 16, 2019

    With a name like McGraw Dr phill shouldn’t be surprised he has Irish blood , the country is full of mc graws , I did my own DNA but nothing strange came up I’m Part Irish and English .

  • TB Riggs

    January 16, 2019

    Wow! Dr Phil sure has an interesting past. I also submitted my DNA to My Heritage not too long ago, and I was totally surprised by my results. I had no idea that I had 35% Scottish – Irish and Welsh in my background, although I have often wondered why my house was full of Queen Ann antiques, and why I am so attracted to writing Historical Romance Novels from the past, lol. Now I know. It’s in my Blood, lol.

    In addition to the above, I am also 45% Northern European,( Germany, Switzerland, Belgium,) etc, with an additional 25% percent Ashkenazim Jewish, Hungarian, and Austrian. All in all I am very pleased with who I am.

    My Grand-Daughter Jessica, age 18 years old, on the other hand, was in for a big surprise when her DNA results arrived. Believing that she was part Native American on her father’s side, she found out that her father’s Grandmother was not Native American after-all, or 100% Cherokee like he was told. There was no Native American DNA found in my Grand-daughters DNA that even suggests American Native. She was 92% European. It would appear, that my son-in-laws mother was given up for adoption as a baby and was raised by a Native American woman who was 100% Cherokee. Perhaps through some digging we can find out who this woman was.
    TB Riggs. tbriggsnovelist.com

  • Eleanor Miller

    January 16, 2019

    My DNA surprised me by concluding I am 65.9% English,24.4& Eastern European and 9.7% Scandinavian. I know where both Mother and Father’s families came from in Germany. Could it be that results of DNA are based on ancestors who migrated to Germany ?

    • Esther

      January 17, 2019

      Hi Eleanor,

      Our ethnicity estimates go back 5-6 generations, so that is definitely possible.

      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Julia Ann Crum Benoit

    January 19, 2019

    How do I upload my dna from ancestry?