Does having an ancestral link to the "first" Thanksgiving make a difference in how one views this U.S. holiday?
Salt Lake resident Garry Bryant answers with a most emphatic "yes!"Bryant, a Deseret News photographer and amateur genealogist, has traced his family's roots to the early settlement of the Plymouth Colony and discovered that an uncle, Edward Winslow, was one of the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock on Nov. 18, 1620. Edward's younger brother, Kenelm, from whom Bryant is directly descended, arrived a few years later on the second voyage of the Mayflower to the new American colonies.
Last year, Bryant visited the re-created Plimouth Colony while in Massachusetts on business. The visit had a profound effect on Bryant and has led his family to establish some new Thanksgiving traditions.
"It's funny, my wife and I were talking about this on Sunday," Bryant said, noting that his wife's ancestry is linked to the nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony. "We've decided that every year around the Thanksgiving table we will tell the story of one of our ancestors from that period."
Bryant said the discussion will include the name of ships involved, a brief family history and he will also use some of the numerous pictures he took at the Plimouth Colony as well.
"We want our children to know that Thanksgiving is not just a time of football games and pigging out on turkey and pumpkin pie," Bryant said. "We want them to know that the family has connections with that time, that an uncle was at the very `first' Thanksgiving."
To emphasize the real meaning of the holiday, Bryant said his wife initiated a Thanksgiving chain.
"Each day since Nov. 1 the children have written down something they are thankful for and each paper has been made into a link on the chain," Bryant said. "We're trying to focus more on things that we are actually thankful for and to establish a new family tradition."