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 Cull. Tom’s great-grandmother Mary Catherine was born in Missouri, the daughter of Jacob M. 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

70 Responses

  1. cwm85 says:

    I assumed he was Jewish lol. English and Portuguese.

  2. Capricious says:

    Surprised that he is half Portuguese.

    Thought he was an all-American man who descended from the English, Scots and Irish.

  3. andrew says:

    Tom’s Portuguese ancestors were from Azores Islands.

  4. McFarland20 says:

    You should go look at an african american again. He is clearly white, English/Portuguese.

    • ashash says:

      From which side? It can’t be his mother because she descends from Portuguese immigrants.

    • Lee says:

      Part African how? I clearly see no African influence in him and I’ve got the eyes of a hawk lol, Portuguese are European.
      45 per cent of European people have straight hair, 40 per cent have wavy hair and 15 per cent have curly hair.. Me and Tom are in that 15%. Just because someone has curly hair doesn’t mean they’re African descent lol. curly hair is a dominant trait in Europeans NOT Afro a complete different hair texture, Africans has Afro texture Europeans do NOT.

      • andrew says:


        It was not referred to his Portuguese heritage, but through his relation to Abraham Lincoln who was supposed to have Melungeon ancestry on his own mother’s side.

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