Were Franklin And Theodore Roosevelt Related?

 

Laurel King, Contributor

| updated

Copy Link Code

Were Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt Related?

Yes. In relation to Theodore, Franklin Roosevelt was a distant cousin who later become a nephew-in-law, when he married Teddy's niece, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt were both descendants from Dutch colonists, who settled in the New York area in the mid-17th century. According to any Franklin Roosevelt biography, the two were fifth cousins, having a paternal relative in common (Nicholas Roosevelt, 1658-1742). Although the men were born 24 years apart, they shared two significant ties: Franklin married Theodore's niece, and they were both served as President of the United States.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sr. (also referred to as "FDR") was an only child, born January 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York. His parents – James Roosevelt and Sara Ann Delano – were both from wealthy, established families. They were also sixth cousins. He was a descendant of several different familial backgrounds, including Dutch, English, and French Huguenot. On his father's side, the family wealth had been built from success in trade and real estate; his mother's side gained theirs from trade in China, including tea and opium. He was named after his mother's favorite uncle, Franklin Delano.

Similar to Theodore, Franklin was raised in privilege and wealth. The two had anything they could wish for, including the best tutors and plenty of leisure time. They both attended Harvard, and they both dropped out of Columbia Law School before finishing: Theodore left early to seek political office, and Franklin left early because he had already passed the New York state bar exam.

While Franklin was still at Harvard, in 1901, Theodore became the 26th president. Exhibiting his now-legendary enthusiasm and zest for progress, it wasn't long before Teddy became his fifth cousin's idol. In the middle of 1902, Franklin was 'formally' introduced to the woman who would become his wife – Eleanor Roosevelt. Although they had spent a short time together as children, their introduction on the train to Tivoli, NY led to an engagement, with Franklin at a young 22 years and Eleanor just behind him at 19 years. Ignoring his mother's vehement refusal to give her blessing, Franklin married Eleanor on March 17, 1905 with Teddy standing in at the wedding in place of Eleanor's father (Elliott) who had died.

Franklin and Eleanor had six children together, born immediately after their marriage and for several years thereafter. The first child was a daughter, Anna Eleanor, born in 1906. She later moved into the White House and served as an official hostess for social gatherings. The second child, a son (James), was born in 1907 and lived to the age of 83. During his lifetime he served his father in a political capacity, as well as an officer in the military. Their third child, Franklin Delano, Jr. was born in March 1909 and died in November of the same year. Their fourth child, Elliott, was born in 1910; he served as an active duty member of the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII, retiring as a brigadier general. Their fifth child (third surviving son) born in 1914, was named Franklin Delano, Jr. in traditional memoriam to his deceased older brother. His life work revolved around the law and politics, as well as his five children. Their youngest child, John, was born in 1916. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, receiving a Bronze Star. Out of all of their children, John was the only boy who did not campaign for public office.