Is Caroline Vandergriff related to Tom Vandergriff? The truth behind the names

Caroline Vandergriff is a reporter at CBS News Texas in Dallas-Fort Worth. She joined the station in September 2019 and has covered a variety of stories, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the winter storm that crippled the state in February 2021. She has a deep, baritone voice and a passion for journalism. But is she related to Tom Vandergriff, the legendary former mayor of Arlington who brought major-league baseball to North Texas and transformed the city into a thriving metropolis? The answer is no, they are not related by blood or marriage.

The easiest way to verify that Caroline and Tom are not related is to look at their family histories. According to CBS News Texas, Caroline grew up in Arlington and graduated from Lamar High School. Her parents are Steve and Cindy Vandergriff, who own a landscaping company in the city. She has a younger brother named Ryan, who is also a journalist. She married her husband, Matt, in 2018 and they have two dogs, Moxie and Mika.

According to Wikipedia, Tom was born in Carrollton, Texas in 1926. His father was W.T. “Hooker” Vandergriff, who owned a Chevrolet dealership in Arlington. His mother was Charles Pleasant Mayes. He had two sisters, Mary Ann and Betty Jo. He married his high school sweetheart, Anna Waynette Smith, in 1949 and they had four children: Tom Jr., Victor, Nancy, and Susan. He died in 2010 at the age of 84.

There is no evidence that Caroline and Tom share any common ancestors or relatives. Their last names are coincidental and not indicative of any familial connection.

Why do they have the same last name?

The reason why Caroline and Tom have the same last name is because Vandergriff is a fairly common surname of Dutch origin. According to, the name means “from the grave” or “from the ditch” and was originally used as a nickname for someone who lived near a low-lying area or a burial ground. The name is also spelled as Vandegrift, Vandegriff, Vandegraft, Vandegraaf, or Vandegraaff.

The name Vandergriff was brought to America by Dutch immigrants who settled in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey in the 17th and 18th centuries. Some of them later moved to other states, such as Texas, where they established businesses and families. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were about 4,000 people with the surname Vandergriff in the United States in 2010.

What are their achievements?

Despite not being related, Caroline and Tom have both achieved remarkable things in their respective fields. Caroline is an award-winning journalist who has worked at several news stations across the country, including Spectrum News in North Carolina and FOX 25 in Oklahoma City. She has covered many high-profile stories, such as the Charleston church massacre, the Oklahoma teacher walkout, and the Dallas police ambush. She has also volunteered at an elementary school for homeless students and served as a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Tom was a visionary leader who served as the mayor of Arlington from 1951 to 1977, as a U.S. Representative from Texas’s 26th congressional district from 1983 to 1985, and as County Judge of Tarrant County from 1991 to 2007. He was instrumental in bringing a General Motors assembly plant, a Major League Baseball franchise (the Texas Rangers), a Six Flags amusement park, and a University of Texas campus to Arlington. He also helped create the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Lake Arlington. He was honored with numerous awards and recognitions for his contributions to the city and the state.


Caroline Vandergriff and Tom Vandergriff are two prominent figures in Texas who share a common last name but not a common lineage. They are both examples of hard-working and successful individuals who have made an impact on their communities through their professions and passions. They are not related by blood or marriage, but they are both part of the history and legacy of Arlington.

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