Today more than 35 million people can trace their genealogy to the Mayflower Pilgrims. I barely missed it. My ancestor William Hampton traveled on the Bona Nova in the same caravan with the Mayflower for a little while in 1620, until his ship broke away and headed for Virginia instead. The Mayflower now famously disembarked at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts 400 years ago in December 1620.

Over 100 years after that, in the 1730s and 1740s, newspapers came of age as a commodity through the efforts of newspaper publishers such as Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams. Though it didn’t become a national holiday until President Abraham Lincoln encouraged all Americans to observe a day of Thanksgiving in 1863, GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives show us the impact of the Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving in America’s early history.

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