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From one to 76

It is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States.

A special day of thanks has been part of the national tradition here since the first President, George Washington, responded to a call by Congress and designated Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a “day of public thanksgiving”.1

It was to be, he said, a day to “unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications … to enable us all, … to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations … and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us …”2

Such a day was often proclaimed in the years that followed, but it wasn’t standardized to November until President Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863, and it wasn’t standardized as a national holiday on the fourth Thursday of November until 1941.3

TDay 2020

On this Thanksgiving Day, The Legal Genealogist has much to be thankful for. A warm house, food to eat, clean water to drink,4 and more.

But there is nothing for which I am more grateful that one simple fact.

When the pandemic of 2020 began, there were 42 men, women and children ranging from under a year to 75 years of age alive on this earth who were descended from, or married to a descendant from, one or both of my parents.

Today, this Thanksgiving Day in the United States, there are still 42 men, women and children now ages one to 76 alive on this earth who descend from, or are married to a descendant of, one or both of my parents.

I cannot begin to express how thankful I am for that one simple fact.

It’s the only thing that matters, in the end.

We can recover from anything else life has to throw at us — and that includes the family’s own way-too-up-close-and-personal experiences with this virus.

Everything else is no problem at all.

As long as it is still true — after all the trials and all the separation and all the angst of this pandemic — that every one of those 42 people has made it through.

For that, I am — and pray I will continue to be — eternally thankful.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Giving thanks, 2020 style,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 26 Nov 2020).


  1. I’m going to skip the Pilgrim-Indian thing. It’s a nice story. Emphasis on the last word.
  2. Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789,” Founders Online, U.S. National Archives ( : accessed 26 Nov 2020).
  3. See “Congress Establishes Thanksgiving,” Center for Legislative Archives, U.S. National Archives ( : accessed 26 Nov 2020).
  4. Okay, okay, so there are maybe some other liquids with a little more punch to them…
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