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.

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.

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.

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

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

    • Esther

      February 18, 2020

      Hi Sharon, You can order DNA kits to Australia.