Tom Hanks

EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 - Arrivals

Hanks in 2014, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: Thomas Jeffrey Hanks

Place of Birth: Concord, Contra Costa, California, United States

Date of Birth: July 9, 1956

*father – English, some Cornish, more distant German, Scottish, and Welsh
*mother – Portuguese

Tom Hanks is an American actor and filmmaker. He has twice won the Academy Award for Best Actor, for Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994).

Tom is the son of Janet Marylyn (Frager) and Amos Mefford Hanks. Tom is married to actress Rita Wilson. He has four children: two, including actor Colin Hanks, with his former wife, late actress Samantha Lewes (born Susan Jane Dillingham); and two, including actor and musician Chet Hanks, with Rita. His siblings are Sandra Hanks Benoiton, a writer, Larry Hanks, an entomology professor, and Jim Hanks, an actor and filmmaker. Tom is a convert to the Greek Orthodox church.

Tom’s father was of mostly English, some Cornish, and more distant German, Scottish, and Welsh, ancestry. Some of his father’s antecedents lived on Barbados. Tom’s mother was of entirely Portuguese ancestry, from the Azores Islands. A picture of Tom’s father can be seen here. A picture of Tom’s mother can be seen here.

Tom’s patrilineal line can be traced to Thomas Hanks, who was born, c. 1625, in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, England.

Tom’s paternal grandfather was Ernest Buel/Beauel Hanks (the son of Daniel Boone Hanks and Mary Catherine “Molly” Mefford). Ernest was born in California. Ernest’s family has lived in the United States for many generations; most of Ernest’s anestry was English, with more distant German roots, along with Scottish, Welsh, and Cornish. Some of his distant ancestors lived on Barbados. Tom’s great-grandfather Daniel was born in Kentucky, the son of Thomas Hanks and Rachel J. Rayburn. Tom’s great-grandmother Mary Catherine was born in Missouri, the daughter of Jacob Mefford and Sarah F. Critchlow.

Tom’s paternal grandmother was Gladys Hilda Ball (the daughter of Amos Ball and Selina/Celina Scoble). Gladys was born in Iowa. Amos and Selina were English emigrants. Amos was born in Launceston, Cornwall, the son of Isaac Ball and Mary Clinnick. Selina was born in Kingsbridge, Devon, the daughter of John Dench/Dinch Scoble and Mary Pinkham.

Tom’s maternal grandfather was Clarence Peter Frager (the son of William G. Frager and Frances/Mary Enos). Clarence was born in California. William’s name was originally Manuel Gonsalves Fraga. William’s parents, Francisco “Frank” Gonçalves/Gonsalves Fraga/Frager and Barbara Nancy Silveira/Silveria, were Portuguese emigrants, from the Azores. Tom’s great-grandmother Frances was born in California, to Portuguese parents, Sergio Soares Enos and Maria Perpetua. Her family’s surname was originally Ignacio.

Tom’s maternal grandmother was Elexio Norrine Rose (born under the surname Rosa, the daughter of Emmanuel Rose and Josephine Leonora “Nora” E. A. Borge). Elexio was born in California. Emmanuel was a Portuguese immigrant; his original name was Manuel Rosa. Josephine was born in California, to Portuguese parents.

Hanks (right) with Kevin Kline in 1989, Creative Commons License photo credit: Alan Light

Tom is a third cousin, four times removed, of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, and a seventh cousin, once removed, of actor George Clooney. Tom’s paternal six times great-grandparents, John Hanks and Catherine, were also the maternal great-great-grandparents of President Lincoln and the maternal seven times great-grandparents of George Clooney.

Sources: Genealogies of Tom Hanks –

Genealogies of Tom’s parents –

Discussion of Tom’s Portuguese ancestors –

Tom’s maternal grandmother, Elexio Norrine Rose (“Elexis N Rosa”), on the 1910 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

79 Responses

  1. Marvin says:

    I think this case is very similar to Linda Carter
    from the photos I saw, the mother of Tom Hanks looks very ”Mediterranean”,
    I guess she is ethnic iberian (spanish/portuguese)
    your dad must be an full white english with northeuropean features
    tom hanks face looks like your mom but ”white”

    it is very similar to the 70’s actress linda carter where your father is ”full white” and your mom is mexican-spanish
    but Linda carter looks like a full NorthEuropean girl

    • Portugu says:

      You can’t be serious can you? You realize Mediterraneans (Portuguese, Italians, Spainards, Greeks) are “white” and they look virtually nothing like Mexicans or Hondurans’ who are largely Amerindian genetically. They’re some white Mexicans and Hondurans which is an ethnic group and not a race. Had Hanks’ mom been Mexican or Honduran he likely would have had Asianic looking eyes, would have have been 2-3 inches shorter and been much darker skinned. Which are all very dominate traits.

      Lynda Carter is not a very good example even though her mom was from Mexico her ancestors where mainly French, again the whole race vs ethnicity thing. A better example would be Jessica Alba, but even that’s not a great example.

      And “Iberian” doesn’t really mean anything, it’s not a phenotype, or a group of people, it’s a land mass. The Porutugese people (along with many of the spanish) are a mixture of Moorish, Serphadic Jewish, Celtic and if you go back far enough Lusitanian. I’m guessing you think anyone with Dark hair like Andrew and Chris Cuomo is “mexican-spanish”. “non-white”.

      Most of the Portuguese features are not exactly “dominate” features so they don’t really show up in future generations. And a lot of the Portuguese have hazel or hazel-brown eyes which are also recessive.

    • Portugu says:

      The best example would be if the English that came to America had children with the Native Americans, (Cherokees, Navajo, Choctaw, etc). And their names where English names, you wouldn’t be calling them American-English. You would just be calling them ethnically/culturally American of mix-raced descent ( Race being White, Black, Asian, Dravidian etc) Just like Mexicans are ethnically and culturally similar to Spain, but racially more similar to Amerindians. Saying “White English” is redundant sense all native Europeans fall under the category “White” with different admixtures.

      Have you ever seen pictures of Spaniards? Most of them look indistinguishable from a “Northern European” you speak of. Tell me David De Gea has “Iberian features” whatever that means. Or tell me Jean Dujardin from France isn’t “White”. You realize that 20% of British Isles have “Iberian DNA” right? Along with Scandinavian, Italian, Finnish, Greek? And that British Royalty intermarried with Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, for hundreds and hundreds of years?

      The reason why you can’t tell Hanks is “Portuguese” is because “Portuguese” is white, Along with Italian, French, Greek, Scandinavian, Russian et-cetera. If Hanks’ mom was Asian, Amerindian, Black, Dravidian, etc, you would be able to tell that Hanks was mixed-race right away. How the hell could “all” of Hanks siblings have green eyes if Hanks’ mom wasn’t “white”? That would literally be impossible.

      • NOTREALLY says:

        I generally agree with the bottom line of what you’re saying but have mixed feelings about some of your point which I find not to be quite truthful, yes, Tom Hanks’ mom is white, period, I don’t even know why this has to be a conversation in late 2021, it’s mental.
        Now your point about how all of Tom Hanks’ siblings ahve green eyes as to prove her mom is white, mixed race people (this obviously NOT being a case) can DEFINITELY inherit light features, they can in fact inherit features from either side, so eye colour doesn’t really prove anyone to be white, it’s the whole phenotype, Hanks’ mom could have black hair and pitch brown eyes and would still be white.
        Also your attempt to homogenise Europe is kind of funny, yes, you can throw them all under the “white” category which is for the most part true anyways, but just like not Asians are the same, not all sub-saharans are the same (let alone Africans at large, where the phenotypical disparity is/can be absolutely large), etc, ultimately not all whites/Europeans are the same, I’ll use the examples you brought, I think David de Gea is quite a good example of a phenotipically Iberian Celt, whereas I would probably clasify someone like Jean Dujardin within the “Iberian” phenotype category, there’s very clear (IMHO) Nordic looks, Slavic looks, Germanic, Italic, Basque + differrent branches of the aforementioned, but that’s just my take anyways.
        Also with Lynda Carter you’re just straight up misinformed, Lynda’s mom is Mexican of Spanish and Ameridian descent, so a mestiza

        • Portugu says:

          I’m not saying all White Europeans are the same, far from it. Americans typically have this notion of Southern Europeans being “non-white” and even Irish being non-white, and it’s frustrating. Usually “White” in many circles in America translates to WASP, or Northern European with the fairest of features. Usually the Catholic and the Orthodox sections of Europe aren’t considered “White” by many Americans. This is less true now but historically wasn’t always the case.

          There is tons of differences among Europeans ethnically and culturally as well as phenotypically. Russia and Eastern Europeans are good examples. But if your going use the Umbrella category “White” as many Americans do, then Southern Europeans also fall into that category even though a lot of them have admixtures with Moors and people from the Middle east. People don’t know (mainly Americans/people from the new world) that a lot of Europeans inter-married between each other and there was never this notion of “another race”. Charles the II and Catherine are a good example. Catherine was a Portuguese woman who had dark reddish/brownish hair which is common among Portuguese. There’s more examples among the Dutch and the Portuguese Like Manuel the II but that’s neither here nor there.

          I never said other ethnic groups where the same, I said it was clear that they where part of another race of people even though some are culturally similar to Europe because of Spain (Like Central Americans). There’s many many different Amerindians and types of Amerindians, but it’s clear that they are Amerindian. Peruvian Amerindians are very very short for example, even shorter than Amerindians from central America. I’m not describing this as good or bad things, just as parts of a Phenotype. A lot of Amerindians from the United States like the Navajo can’t digest alcohol properly for example.

          Obviously not all Asians are the same either, I never stated that, but it’s very clearly that they are Asian. The same is true for Africa, look at at Seychelles for example. That’s obviously a mixture of Dravidian and African culture and people.

          And with Lynda Carter, straight from Wikipedia

          “Carter was born in Phoenix, Arizona, the daughter of Juanita (née Córdova) and Colby Carter.[1][3] Her father is of English and Scots-Irish ancestry, and her mother, whose family hailed from Mexico, is of Mexican, Spanish, and French descent”

          She barely would be Mestiza if that was the case that would be like 1/3 from one lineage.

          A group example is many of the Presidents of Mexico are actually White, Vincente Fox is a good example also historically the Hapsburgs, who where in Mexico for a period of time. A lot of Americans get that confused that there is a difference between race and ethnicity.

          Brazil is another good example Jair Bolsonaro is a mixture of Italian, German and Portuguese even though there’s a lot of Amerindians in Brazil.

          The point about Tom Hanks siblings having green eyes because his mom is Portuguese is true. If you live in the Americas you’ll notice that a lot of people from Central America (Amerindians) even if they are mixed usually have brown or dark brown eyes. This is also true of Asians, an Asian will have blue eyes is extremely rare because it’s largely a recessive trait. It’s more common among Africans actually to have greenish or bluish eyes when intermarrying with Europeans, but still incredibly rare.

          I think this is true because native Belgians had a big population in the Azores or Acores islands which came to America. Of course when the Azores where settled there was a lot of different groups that came there, mainly Moors, French, Spainards, Portuguese and Belgians from Flanders. Nick Frietas (An American politician) would be a good example. He has light brownish hair and green eyes even though his dad was 100% Portuguese with very dark hair, brown eyes and tan skin. All his kids happen to be blonde too. With someone whos Amerindian or Asian this wouldn’t happen because Ancestrally there isn’t really a connection to Europe unless your talking about far Eastern Europe or Turkic countries. Whereas if your Azorean Portuguese there’s good chance that there’s someone with Reddish hair in your ancestory, even though most of it is likely Moorish.

          When you have 70%+ European, even if you have some Amerindian then yea you will probably have more European features. Nick Fuentes is a good example or Lynda Carter like I said.

          Overwhelmingly African, Asian and Amerindian are dominant in the gene pool. nobody really disputes this, by dominant I mean there’s much higher chance that their features will show up in successive generations. Kyler Murray is a good example. African-Asian American football player.

          My point is if you took Jean Dujardin and put him in an American city many people would say he’s not White. In America there’s a cultural expectation of Northern European protestants to be considered the only cultural and ethnic Whites. I’m not saying this, it’s just a common thought among Americans. You take an American commentator(Ironically he’s Canadian) like Crowder and he lampoons Italians all the time with his tinges of racism, like using the “w” word and accusing Italians being “graby”.

          Even Lionel Messi is not considered “white” in some circles in America, it’s ridiculous I know. Americans get the culture of Spain and Portugal confused with the Amerindian people that lived their prior, and if they have a tinge of Moor or North African in them, they assume they are not white.

          Again if the English intermarried with Amerindians, you would defintely be able to a tell someone who was Half-Amerindian English. Spanish and Portuguese on the other hand is instantly conflated with nonwhite which is crazy considering the Hapsburg dynasty and all the Germans that moved to South America and mixed with the Portuguese. Like Allison Becker and Gisele Bündchen

          • Oaken05 says:

            “I’m not saying all White Europeans are the same, far from it. Americans typically have this notion of Southern Europeans being “non-white” and even Irish being non-white, and it’s frustrating. Usually “White” in many circles in America translates to WASP, or Northern European with the fairest of features. Usually the Catholic and the Orthodox sections of Europe aren’t considered “White” by many Americans. This is less true now but historically wasn’t always the case.”

            It’s bizarre what you non-Americans think that Americans believe. The most race/ethnic-concious persons in the country might separate Europe into parts (Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Mediterranean, etc.), but the idea that there is still some substantial part of the population that doesn’t see groups like Eastern Europeans and Irish as “white” is so out of date to be hilarious.

            Americans get a lot of flack for navel-gazing, but good lord do some of you have some stunning misconceptions about our culture. lol

        • Portugu says:

          Also lot of English-Porutugese offspring nobody even knows that they are Portuguese. It’s pretty common in Americas for the Portuguese to hide their names or to Anglicize them. A lot of Periera’s become Perry’s for example. Even people with flat out Portuguese names that are half-Portuguese nobody even knows. Shawn Mendes is a good example, or Katy Perry even though she’s less than half Portuguese. Keanu Reeves is another example. Also somebody like Steven Perry (former lead singer of Journey) no American knows that he’s 100% Portuguese. Meredith Vieira is another example nobody knows that she’s 100% Portuguese

          Portuguese culture in America seems to get heavily absorbed. It’s not like Italian or French culture which is constantly glorified in American press and gets distinct status. Or even Mexican Culture which is constantly glorified because of the food. Or even El Salvadoran culture which is villified by the press constantly.

          Here’s a little example you can try, ask an American what his favorite Italian, Mexican, French, German, Chinese,Spanish,Arabic,Greek,Thai or even Indian food is, and they will be able to tell you tons of restaurants, they will be able to tell you tons of people they know in that industry or whatever.

          Now ask them what their favorite Portuguese food is. All you’ll get is a blank stare. This is also true of Swedish people but they are more distinct in America. Most Americans think (European) Portugal is the same as (European) Spanish which is the same as Central America and Amerindians. They won’t even be able to name what’s distinct from Spain culturally and Mayan,Olmec, Toltec and Inca Amerindians.

          Portuguese people are practically seen as non-existent in America with most people saying something like “That’s like Spanish right?, or is he some kind of central-american”? Even though most Spanish speakers can’t even understand Portuguese yet can understand Italian. And Portugal is one of the oldest and most archaic European Countries, and according to many people the language is older than Spanish. A lot of this has to do with the fact that Portugal is such a small country and that the English and Portuguese where always historical allies. They where rarely in direct conflict with the English and usually in conflict with the Spanish. and French usually in the Americas.

          The English usually bailed them out though, especially when it came to Napoleon. As far as the name of the Americas that’s kind of messed up too because the Italians stole many of the Portuguese intellectual properties when it came to mapmaking and what not as they had the first global empire before anyone else, and they where pretty much everywhere which is why even Australia was rumored to be called New Magellenica by first explorers. There’s so much Portuguese influence in the modern world but most people aren’t even aware of it, like the fact that the Portuguese named the Pacific Ocean or that a lot of Harry Potter was based off Portugal (like the Wizard Dresses, Traje from the University of Combria or Salazar) or the fact in many european countries Oranges are named after Portugal because they introduced them there (Portokali Greek portocală Romanian). Or the fact the Portuguese popularized Tea in England. Or the fact that Tempora is originally a Portuguese dish popularized in Japan. Or the fact that the founding fathers of America where very fond of Madeira wine, and George Washington had a bunch ordered on his death bed. Or the fact that Thomas Jefferson had a correspondence with a Portuguese priest who he dedicated a room in Monticello too. Or the fact that Spinoza was Portuguese. Or the fact the Portuguese invented the Lobotomy which was originally called the leucotomy.The early Portuguese-American relations and heros are basically swept under the rug as well because Layfette is more sexy. How many Americans have heard of Peter Francisco?

          The list goes on and on but it’s never taught in American schools in American schools you hear about the Chinese working on the railroads, the French selling of Louisiana, The Spanish conquering central America,Greek philosophers, the Italians, the Czechs, Polish, Hungarians, Jews and many other ethnic groups that came in Ellis island. 0 mention of the Portuguese. The only time the Portuguese where acknowledged historically was a Scorsese film called Silence. They sometimes talk about the Portuguese in Rhode Island but it’s very rare. Even if you look at media from the last 15+ years the languages were always French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish. Only recently did they add Portuguese to applications and it’s always “Portuguese do Brasil”.

          Despite this debate about whether Tom Hanks is white there’s a cultural issue in America where Portugal is not seen as distinct European culture. It doesn’t have advocates in the press. It doesn’t even have caricatures of cartoons in media, it’s basically non-existent. You’ll hear more about Polish and Czech’s people than you’ll hear about Portuguese in American media.

          • andrew says:

            The Italians did not steel anything from the Portuguese. “America” name was choosen by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller. Btw the likes of Magellan and Bartolomeu Dias are very well known in history books.

            You got some interesting points, anyway Spinoza was a Jew rather than a Portuguese.

            Also frankly who cares if North Americans do not mind Portuguese people, Portuguese language have millions of speakers from the former colonies (you have more Spanish or Portuguese comments of many YouTube music videos, than English) and looks far from decline.

            I am thinking to buy an ukulele btw.

          • andrew says:

            @ Portugu

            Speaking about wines, I’ve just found John Wayne enjoyed Prosecco.

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