Family Tree Tuesday – Richard Gere

Posted November 23, 2010 by Geni | One Comment

“The First Thanksgiving”, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

This week people in the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving. It is an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. The American holiday is particularly rich in legend and symbolism.

Thanksgiving Day did not become an official holiday until Northerners dominated the federal government. While sectional tensions prevailed in the mid-19th century, the editor of the popular magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book, Sarah Josepha Hale, campaigned for a national Thanksgiving Day to promote unity. She finally won the support of President Abraham Lincoln. On Oct. 3, 1863, during the Civil War, Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.

Later,  it was President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation in 1942 designating the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

But what does all of this have to do with the actor/activist Richard Gere? Gere is a descendant of Mayflower Pilgrims Francis Eaton, John Billington, George Soule, Richard Warren, Degory Priest, William Brewster and Francis Cooke.

Check out the Mayflower Project on Geni and see which Mayflower Pilgrims you are related to. Then when you get a chance see how you are related to Richard Gere.