Actor Rob Lowe was brought to proud tears while researching his family history for a new U.S. TV show after learning his five-times great-grandfather fought on both sides of the American Revolutionary War.
Lowe's ancestor, Christoph Oest, was part of a fleet of German soldiers who sailed to the Americas to help British forces battle George Washington and his patriots in the late 1700s.
Oest was captured during the Battle of Trenton and given the opportunity to return home to Germany in disgrace or stay and fight for the new America.
Records Lowe researched for the filming of his Who Do You Think You Are? episode, which debuted in America on Friday (27Apr12), showed Oest chose to stay and become an American.
Thanks to the actor's investigation, which led him to his ancestor's home town of Marburg, Germany, Oest has now been recognised as a patriot and Lowe and his brother Chad have been invited to become members of the exclusive National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Lowe says, "I really did want my five-times great-grandfather to be an American patriot, but I think the way he came to be authenticated is much more powerful, I think, than I was expecting. In spite of having fought against the Revolutionaries he chose America. To choose that ideal is heroic.
"So much of what I am about - my love of politics, my patriotism - I can't help but think that some of his dreams and aspirations were passed down and I feel them."