Dr. Phil Learns More About His Family’s Roots with MyHeritage 

Dr. Phil Learns More About His Family’s Roots with MyHeritage 

We just visited the set of television personality Dr. Phil to share with him unknown information about his family’s past. Dr. Phil was amazed and fascinated with what we were able to uncover about his family history, including never-before-seen photos and records. 

Dr. Phil began his journey with MyHeritage roughly a year ago when he took a MyHeritage DNA test and discovered previously unknown details about his family history. We even presented his wife, Robin McGraw, with some amazing family history information. Among other things, she learned that working in the beauty industry runs in her family. Robin is the founder of Robin McGraw Revelation, a skincare and lifestyle brand. She may have inherited this from her grandmother, Opal Jameson, who ran her own beauty shop in the 1930s!

MyHeritage consultant Yvette Corporon just returned to Dr. Phil’s set this past week to present him with new treasures about his roots. 

Watch the full segment here

We delved into the genealogy of Dr. Phil’s grandfather, Joe McGraw. Last time we looked into his records, we discovered that he was a wagon driver in a “feed store” in 1910. 

We now know that in the 1920s he worked as a farmer, and the 1940 U.S. Census lists him as a “meat-cutter” in a meat market. As Dr. Phil commented, “He was clearly a man of many talents!” In the same census report, Joe declared that he worked 52 weeks during 1939 and his income was only $840 for the year. Today that would equal around $15,552.

Joe McGraw, Dr. Phil’s Grandfather, in the 1940 United States Federal Census.

Joe McGraw, Dr. Phil’s Grandfather, in the 1940 United States Federal Census.

In another branch of Dr. Phil’s family tree, he has an ancestor from 5 generations back named William Russell. Born in 1794 in North Carolina, William was a farmer. Although not much is known about how he lived, we found something very interesting about his death.

We found a list of William’s properties that were sold after he died, which included many items, including 1 table, 7 chairs, 2 axes, 1 coffee mill, 1 shotgun, 1 looking glass, several calves and pigs, and 1 washing tub. All the property on William’s list sold for a total of $41.93.

Inventory of property of William Russell, Dr. Phil’s 3rd great-grandfather.

Inventory of property of William Russell, Dr. Phil’s 3rd great-grandfather.

William’s son, Samuel Joseph (Dr. Phil’s great-great-grandfather) married a woman named Sarah Ann Russell (Dr. Phil’s great-great-grandmother). 

We located an amazing photo of Sarah Ann with several of her relatives, taken some time after 1877.

Sarah Ann Russell, Dr. Phil’s great-great-grandmother, bottom left.

Sarah Ann Russell, Dr. Phil’s great-great-grandmother, bottom left.

Last time around, we found a 1917 draft record of Dr. Phil’s paternal grandfather, Joseph McGraw, who served in World War I. 

This time we found that Dr. Phil’s maternal grandfather, John Calvin Stevens, also served in World War I. His draft record provided some important details about him:

WWI draft record for Dr. Phil’s grandfather, John Calvin Stevens

WWI draft record for Dr. Phil’s grandfather, John Calvin Stevens

His registration card notes that he too was a farmer working on his father-in-law’s farm. He had blue eyes and was tall and slender.

Dr. Phil was delighted to find out these precious details about how his ancestors lived and died. When it comes to family history, there is always more to learn. You too can make amazing family history discoveries using MyHeritage. Using the coupon code DRPHIL, you can begin a 14-day FREE trial AND get 50% off a subscription. 

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


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  • Richard Hornaman

    January 22, 2020

    We have the genealogy of my of my family back to 1741 in Germany. There are church records with the family name before 1741 but we would need a professor to translate as there was a change in the language around 1740. My friend is a German translator but could not do the pre 1741 church records.
    We did record search of the church records, they go back to the 14 hundreds. My family name appears many times.
    Richard E. Hornaman 1

  • Sharon Cameron camilleri

    January 31, 2020

    Can I do myheritage in live in Australia

    • E


      February 18, 2020

      Hi Sharon, You can order DNA kits to Australia.

  • Alex

    March 2, 2020

    My name is Alex. I live in Belarus and I am 65 years old. In our country, in order to engage in his genealogy, a young man needs some serious motives, because, unfortunately, the family traditions that exist in Western Europe and the United States were lost after 1917.
    I began to be interested in my genealogy somewhere after 30 years of age. And the first such serious reason was the “Book of Life” by my uncle Nikolai Konstantinovich Kozich, which he wrote in 1986 for his 60th birthday. In this book, uncle described the life of his parents in a Bel-arusian farm in the 30s and 40s of the last century, the events of World War II and the difficult post-war life of Belarus, which was practically destroyed by the Nazis during the war years, where every third resident of the republic died.
    Further, after 6 years, my aunt Valeria Izotovna presented me with a birthday book on the “White General” M.D. Skobelev and our family tree along the lines of grandfather and grandmother, on which she worked for several years. These first trees of my family were depicted on two sheets – an ordinary sheet of type A1 format and a simple notebook sheet in a cell using a ballpoint pen, colored markers and a ruler. The book was endowed with the inscription: “Dear Sasha! I donate this book to you, the inquisitive and inquisitive man. Find out your roots, tell your fami-ly, multiply our branches! Your aunt Valeria Izotovna. Vilnius May 29, 1992”.
    From that moment began my genealogical research. My ancestors on the father’s side lived for centuries in the Smolensk province, and at the beginning of the 20th century, according to the Stolypin call, they moved to new lands in Siberia. On the mother’s side, the ancestors lived in the Igumen district of the Minsk province. Fortunately, the church’s national documents have been preserved in the National Historical Archive of Belarus – Revision tales, Metric notebooks and books, Marriage searches, as well as Inventory of estates, Recruiting presence, Judicial affairs, Results of agricultural censuses, Household books and other documents …
    As a result of 4 years of work in the archives, I was able to obtain reliable data about my ancestors – Kozich (Козич), Dubovik (Дубовик), Meleshkevich (Мелешкевич), Voitov (Войтов), Krivchenko (Кривченко) from the 1750s. I had to work with old, often shabby archival documents in Belarusian, Polish and Russian