The Abraham Lincoln & Tom Hanks Connection

Tom Hanks (pic from

Tom Hanks (pic from

I’ve was recently asked about actor Tom Hanks and his relation to Abraham Lincoln.  The person had read my recent posts about Lincoln and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. Yes, Tom Hanks is related to Lincoln.
Please go to this link to see the connection:
Also, just for fun, check out the following amateur video taken at the 2009 Inaguration of Barrack Obama in which Tom Hanks is quoting Lincoln:

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22 Responses to “The Abraham Lincoln & Tom Hanks Connection”

  1. Actually, I have written two books on the Hanks genealogy, and the Nancy Hanks DNA study has proven them to be the only accurate books published, correct genealogy, from the first Thomas Hanks in 1643, to present living descendants. So it’s not all messed up. The Hitchcock theory, Adin Baber theory, and Warren books are all incorrect. Barton has it correct, but ends at Lincoln. I have continued the genealogy to the present, and it took me 30 years to do it.

  2. Lydia Donaldson says:

    My mom was a Hanks, born to John LeRoy and Patricia Hanks. I discovered that my ancestor, William Hanks (1764-1851) was the first settler of Harristown, IL. He migrated from Kentucky. I’ve read that one of my ancestors was a fifth cousin of Abraham Lincoln. I don’t know about the blood relation being legitimate though. My grandfather and his twin brother were adopted by Gay and Lelia Hanks.

  3. My Grandfather was married to Jeanne Hanks. I am named after my paternal Grandmother. Jeanne Hanks is related to Nancy Hanks. Thus, I am a cousin, not blood related, but nevertheless a relative of Abe Limcoln and Tom Hanks.

  4. Chris Carr says:

    Delores Rebecca Hanks married Otto B. Parlier born 1903 to Samuel Jackson Hanks and Martha Greenfield died at the age of 39 years of age. Both parents were born Macon County, Illinois

  5. Chris Carr says:

    I forgot to add that the Hanks and the Parliers use to have family reunions that would last a week. An elderly woman told me she went to them when she was a child. Does anyone know of these?

  6. Chris Carr says:

    I have been able to trace two Hanks sisters married to two Parlier brothers. The Hanks sisters and the Parlier brothers were from the Decatur, Illinois area. My great uncle was an actor and was in hunch back of notre dame of 1939. I know the two Hanks sisters were related to Nancy Hanks. In a cousin of mine, Alfred Abraham Parlier also from Decatur, Illinois it is stated in his obituary that he knew Abraham Lincoln

  7. Kaye Thomas says:

    Dennis Hanks is buried in Charleston, Illinois.

  8. Vicky Reany Paulson says:

    Has anyone read Abraham Lincoln’s Hanks Genealogy? The whole Hanks tree is there.

  9. Daniel says:

    Nancy Hanks is the daughter of my grand mother Bessie Anthony Hanks great great grandfather. I am intersted in any family history avaliable.

  10. Vicky Reany Paulson says:

    The Hanks family were not drifters, nor illiterate, and they have many records! They did not live in North Carolina, but Virginia. Lincoln learned to read and write from his mother. The Lincoln’s were illiterate. I am a descendant of Thomas Hanks, oldest brother of Lucy Hanks, and son of Joseph and Ann Lee Hanks. I am also the author of Abraham Lincoln’s Hanks Family Genealogy, and yes, the entire line of Hanks can be traced through documents. John Hanks is the son of William Hanks, a large plantation owner, as was his father, Thomas Hanks, who arrived in this country on a ship called “the Rose”, as an indentured from Malmesbury England, in 1653.

  11. kimmie hanks says:

    Hi im 15 and I just wanted to say that im related to but yeah

  12. Adam J. Bernay says:

    If family lore is enough to establish which tribe my fellow Jews are descended from going back 1943 years (to when the tribal records were destroyed during the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70CE), then surely that plus the documentation that survives is enough to establish Mr. Hanks’ relation to Mr. Lincoln.

  13. Vicky Reany Paulson says:

    The Hanks girls were not illegitimate, their father being Joseph Hanks, and mother Ann Lee Hanks. Nancy, her mother the oldest daughter, was “baseborn”, as Lincoln told his law partner, Herndon. The Hanks Family Tree can be found at website lincolnhanksgenealogy, and is not a mess. Actor Tom Hanks can surely trace his family from there. Elizabeth and Lucy married Sparrows, but Elizabeth had no children. I don’t think Tom Hanks, would be a Hanks, if he came from that line! And no, no Hanks related to Lincoln lived in N.C.. They lived in Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

  14. Craig Hanks says:

    As a Lincoln relative from his Mom’s side, living in west end of Decatur, Illinois near homestead area Lincoln’s first lived when they moved to Illinois, I always wanted to talk to Tom Hanks & ask him his lineage in the family. As a Hanks I’ve no doubt he’s connected since there are no living descendants of Lincoln on his side of family but there are on his biological Mother’s side. Mr. Hanks is a tad tough to reach though!!

  15. Kim says:

    I should’ve said TWO of whom married into the Hanks family – there were I think 5 Sparrow brothers, two different Sparrow brothers married “the Hanks girls” as they were known. One of those branches was Dennis Hanks’ branch and one was Abe’s, if memory serves me…I need more caffeine Lol. Anyway two of the Sparrow brothers married or had children with or both, with a Hanks girl, one of whom was Lincoln’s granny. Yet another Sparrow brother is my ancestor. I believe Tom Hanks is related on the Hanks side of course so we wouldn’t be blood related I don’t guess. My connection to Abe would be the common ancestor, the father of the Sparrow brothers.

  16. Kim says:

    Thank you Dave for posting! You are right on the money. I am descended from the Sparrow family one of whom married into the Hanks family, to be exact my ancestor’s brother Sparrow married Lincoln’s grandmother Hanks. Which makes me a second cousin (x times removed) to Lincoln and now I guess also to Tom Hanks somehow.

    People are wrong to say there is nothing on the Hanks. Dennis Hanks loved to talk about his family and I have some newspaper clippings of the day which mention all of what Dave said and more. It goes into the Sparrow connection, and Dennis’ visit to see Abe in the White House one time.

    The Hanks girls were illegitimate and so were their children, which is why it isn’t detailed too much in Abe’s autobiography. That was still scandalous back then. It’s said the “Hanks girls” were camp followers so maybe Lincoln’s ancestor was a general or other smart soldier and that’s where his smarts came from. Who knows.

  17. B. Nash says:

    My folks are from Tennessee-so I know what you’re talking about!

  18. Jacy says:

    I am related to the Hanks family still living in North Carolina and I’m not so sure they’d be keen on claiming Nancy or Abe or Tom as kinfolk!

  19. DAve Wiegers says:

    There are Hanks still living in Illinois. I have met some of the family along the way. They are related to Lincoln’s cousin Dennis HAnks.
    Dennis Hanks, the cousin of Abraham Lincoln’s mother, was born in Hardin County, Kentucky. He was the illegitimate son of Nancy Hanks, an aunt of Lincoln’s mother, also named Nancy Hanks.

    Dennis moved to southern Indiana in 1817 and lived with the Sparrow family, relatives of Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Abraham and Dennis became close friends. In 1818, when both the Sparrows’ mother and Lincoln’s mother died, Dennis moved in with the Lincolns. He and Abraham Lincoln shared the loft space in their cabin. In 1821, he married Sarah Elizabeth Johnston, the daughter of Thomas Lincoln’s second wife, Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln. They moved with the Lincoln family to Illinois in 1830.

    Though Dennis and Abraham parted ways after moving to Illinois, they still stayed connected to some degree. From 1844 to 1846, Harriet, his daughter, boarded with Abraham and Mary Lincoln in Springfield while she was at school. In 1851, Lincoln represented Dennis in a lawsuit against William B. White. During Lincoln’s presidency, Dennis assisted in the care of Lincoln’s aging and ill stepmother.

    After Lincoln’s assassination, Hanks was a key player in purchasing and displaying to the public a cabin Lincoln lived in briefly in Decatur, Illinois.

  20. B. Nash says:

    Ahhh, very interesting and informative! So it seems impossible to actually verify if Tom Hanks is related to Lincoln? Another Lincoln “truth” busted?

  21. KOJohnson says:

    No, actually, the Hanks family from whom Lincoln was descended is so undocumented, and the few surviving documents so messed up by those who wanted Nancy Hanks to be legitimate, that nobody can tell who’s related to whom.

    The documents presented demonstrably refer to other people named Hanks, which was a very common name in North Carolina and Kentucky, or to a family named Hawks. But virtually none refers to the Hanks family connected with Tom Lincoln. Those people appear only in records from when they were arrested for offenses like fornication or prostitution.

    All Hanks genealogies are specious. They were illiterate, propertyless drifters who never bothered about marriage or birth certificates. There is simply no record for these people at all. And such as their authentic record is, it would not encourage anybody to claim relationship with them–if that were possible.

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