On a dirt road in the heartland of America, one married couple has persevered to keep the memory of their tiny town from blowing away in the dust.
Back in its heyday, Gross, Nebraska, was brimming with activity and was home to as many as 600 residents. Today, the population is 2.
The town was supposed to become a major Midwest train hub, but the railroad never came, and slowly, everyone moved away – everyone, that is, except Mary and Mike Finnegan.
For the last 33 years, the Finnegans have been the town’s sole residents, and have single-handedly kept Gross on the map. They operate a small restaurant, the Nebraska Inn, where they welcome travelers of all kinds—providing comfort, hospitality, and the best burger around. Through their warmth and steadfast traditions (coffee still costs a nickel, and anyone who dares to curse has to glue a dollar to the wall), Mary and Mike have ensured that the spirit of Gross lives on.
While not short on visitors or passers-by, Mary and Mike remember the days when the town was lively—and Thanksgiving was a mix of banter and routine for family and friends with a shared history.
Just in time for the holiday perhaps best known for returning to your roots, Ancestry.com staged a unique Thanksgiving reunion for the Finnegans.
The DNA test company that traces family trees searched its extensive historical records and contacted people with a connection to Gross, bringing them “home” to rediscover a piece of their family history—some, for the very first time.
For one special day, on October 27, Ancestry enabled the past and present to come together, reuniting the Finnegans not only with their own relatives, but also with descendants of the town’s founders, the Gross family.
The huge feast that ended with Mary and Mike’s family and their new friends roasting marshmallows over a campfire will go down in the annals of Gross as perhaps the town’s most memorable Thanksgiving.
(WATCH the video below) – Photo by Ancestry
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