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Who Do You Think You Are? Recap: Rob Lowe

April 27, 2012 06:01 PM by Candace Young

In recent weeks on Who Do You Think You Are? viewers have watched the journeys of celebrities such as Edie Falco, Jerome Bettis, and Helen Hunt. This week, actor Rob Lowe delves into his ancestry. Keep reading for all the highlights of Rob’s journey…

Rob Lowe grew up not knowing much about his family history, and as an adult he wonders if there are reasons he’s so enthralled with Americana and patriotism. His mom passed away a number of years ago, and he regrets not asking her more. He would like to explore that side of his family and starts by meeting with his brother, Chad.

They look through photo albums and find a picture of their great-grandparents, Oran Hepler and Bessie Mae East, along with clippings referring to Christopher East in Ohio. They get on ancestry.com and learn John Christopher East is somehow associated with Daughters of the American Revolution.

Rob heads to Washington D.C. to meet with a genealogist with the DAR. He gets to see John Christopher East’s family tree, and locates his great-grandmother, Bessie Mae on it. John Christopher is his 5X great-grandfather. The genealogist breaks the news that they have no actual documentation supporting the idea that John Christopher was a patriot, but he advises Rob to go to the Library of Congress to keep digging.

There, Rob meets with a historian who shows him a document from the Revolutionary War. They find a listing for Christophe Oest – the historian thinks it is Rob’s ancestor, and he served in an assault regiment in the Revolutionary War. The historian suggests they next look in George Washington’s personal papers. They find out Rob’s 5X great-grandfather wound up being help prisoner for trying to stick it to George Washington!

Rob visits the barracks in Trenton where his 5X great-grandfather was held. He gets to see a diary from a soldier who was in the same regiment as Christopher. Rob learns more of the details of the battle his family member was involved in against George Washington and his troops. It turns out it was the infamous trip Washington took across the Delaware that spelled the end for his ancestor’s troop – they were surprised in the fog and captured!

At a church, he reads a diary entry about how Christopher and his regiment were paraded through the town and humiliated. Interestingly, Washington had posters put up around the city saying the soldiers were forced into their roles. If they were willing to leave their army, they could become Americans. The historian says 15% of them elected to take a risk and stay.

Rob next heads to Germany to find out about Christophe Oest’s life before he came to fight in America. Once there, he is disappointed at first, but perseveres. They go to a village to chase a small lead. At the parish there, they find a record of John Christophe’s Oest’s birth – he was baptized in that very church! Johannas Oest and Lora Noll were his parents, and Christophe had eight brothers and sisters. Christophe’s father died when he was 12 years old. His mother died later, five years before Christophe went to fight in America. This helps Rob understand why Christophe chose to stay in America.

Back at the hotel, Rob receives a letter letting him know that his ancestor, Christophe Oest (East), was accepted into the Daughters of the American Revolution organization as a patriot for paying taxes that supported the American cause after becoming a citizen. Rob is also invited to apply to join. He tears up over his happy ending.

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Photo credits:  Dominic Chan/Wenn.com, Wenn.com

Topics: NBC Reality TV Shows, Who Do You Think You Are? |

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1 Comment »

One Response to “Who Do You Think You Are? Recap: Rob Lowe”

  1. Susan Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    This was an interesting episode, and I am a fan of Rob Lowe, but how could a German mercenary who fought against George Washington, be honored by the Daughters of the American Revolution as a patriot?

    History is what the people in charge say it is.

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