Roosevelt family

This article is about the U.S. business and political family of Dutch origin. For the name Roosevelt, see Roosevelt (surname). For people named Roosevelt, see List of people with surname Roosevelt.
"Roosevelts" redirects here. For the 2014 documentary, see The Roosevelts (film).

Theodore Roosevelt and family in 1903.
Current region New York and New England
Earlier spellings Rosevelt, van Rosenvelt, van Rosevelt
Place of origin Netherlands
Connected families Delano family
Du Pont family
Astor family
Livingston family
Longworth family
Hoffman family
Schuyler family
Goodyear family
Lowell family
de Peyster family
Estate Sagamore Hill (Oyster Bay)
Springwood (Hyde Park)
Name origin and meaning "From rose field" (Dutch)

The Roosevelt family is an American business and political family from New York whose members have included two United States Presidents, a First Lady,[1] and notable merchants, politicians, inventors, clergymen, artists, and socialites. Descendants of a mid-17th century Dutch immigrant to New Amsterdam, many members of the family became locally prominent in New York City business and politics and intermarried with prominent colonial families. Two distantly related branches of the family from Oyster Bay on Long Island and Hyde Park in Dutchess County, Upstate New York, achieved national political prominence with the elections of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909) and his fifth cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933–1945), whose wife, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, was Theodore's niece.

The Roosevelt family has been associated with many prominent institutions, including Harvard University and Groton School, which was first attended by Franklin Roosevelt and later many of both his and Theodore's children and descendants.


Van Rosevelts of Oud-Vossemeer

It has been suggested that Claes van Rosenvelt could have been related to the Van Roosevelts of Oud-Vossemeer, who were amt lords in the Tholen region of the Netherlands. While evidence suggests that Claes van Rosenvelt, the ancestor to the American Roosevelt family, indeed came from the Tholen region where the Van Roosevelts were land owners, no records exist that prove that he is related to the noble family. It may simply be a coincidence, or Claes van Rosenvelt may have chosen the name purposely because of its noble origins or to honor his local amt lord, as was common practice for peasants of the time.[2][3]

Claes van Rosenvelt

Claes Maartenszen van Rosenvelt, the immigrant ancestor of the Roosevelt family, arrived in New Amsterdam (present day New York City) some time between 1638 and 1649. Around the year 1652, he bought a farm from Lambert van Valckenburgh comprising 24 morgens (that is, 48 acres or 19 hectares) in what is now Midtown Manhattan, including the present site of the Empire State Building.[4] The property included roughly what is now the area between Lexington Avenue and Fifth Avenue bounded by 29th St. and 35th St.

Claes' son Nicholas was the first to use the spelling Roosevelt and the first to hold political office, as an alderman. His children Johannes and Jacobus were, respectively, the progenitors of the Oyster Bay and Hyde Park branches of the family that emerged in the 18th century. By the late 19th century, the Hyde Park Roosevelts were generally associated with the Democratic Party and the Oyster Bay Roosevelts with the Republican Party. President Theodore Roosevelt, an Oyster Bay Roosevelt, was President Franklin Roosevelt's fifth cousin. Despite political differences that led family members to actively campaign against each other, the two branches generally remained friendly. Franklin Roosevelt married Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore's niece and his own fifth cousin once removed. James Roosevelt met his wife at a Roosevelt family gathering in the home of Theodore's mother.

Coats of arms

The coat of arms of the Roosevelt Family
Date of origin 17th century
Shield Three roses one in pale and two in saltire gules barbed seeded slipped and leaved proper.[5]
Crest and mantle Upon a torse argent and gules, Three ostrich plumes each per pale gules and argent, the mantling gules doubled argent.[5]

In heraldry, canting arms are a visual or pictorial play on a surname, and were and still are a popular practice. It would be common to find roses, then, in arms of many Roosevelt families, even unrelated ones. Also, grassy mounds or fields of green would be a familiar attribute.

The Van Rosevelts of Oud-Vossemeer in Zeeland have a coat of arms that is divided horizontally, the top portion with a white chevron between three white roses, while the bottom half is gold with a red lion rampant. A traditional blazon suggested would be, Per fess vert a chevron between three roses argent and Or a lion rampant gules.[5]

The coat of arms of the namesakes of the Dutch immigrant Claes van Rosenvelt, ancestor of the American political family that included Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt, were white with a rosebush with three rose flowers growing upon a grassy mound, and whose crest was of three ostrich feathers divided into red and white halves each. In heraldic terms this would be described as, Argent upon a grassy mound a rose bush proper bearing three roses gules barbed and seeded all proper, with a crest upon a torse argent and gules of Three ostrich plumes each per pale gules and argent. Franklin Roosevelt altered his arms to rid of the rosebush and use in its place three crossed roses on their stems, changing the blazon of his shield to Three roses one in pale and two in saltire gules barbed seeded slipped and leaved proper.[5]

Family tree

Claes Maartenszen van Rosenvelt
emigrated to America c. 1649
(died 1659)
Nicholas Roosevelt
Johannes Roosevelt
Jacobus Roosevelt
Jacobus Roosevelt
Isaac Roosevelt
Hyde Park branch
James Jacobus Roosevelt
Jacobus Roosevelt IIII
Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt
Oyster Bay branch
Isaac Daniel Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt, Sr.

Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr.
Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt
Theodore "Ted" Roosevelt III
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Sr.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr.
John Aspinwall Roosevelt II
Franklin Delano Roosevelt III
(b. 1938)


For an alphabetical list of people with the surname Roosevelt, see Roosevelt (surname).

Oyster Bay Roosevelts

Hyde Park Roosevelts

See also


  1. Moore, Frazier (September 10, 2014). "PBS' 'The Roosevelts' portrays an epic threesome". AP News. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  2. "Amt lords". Ambachtsheerlijkheid. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  3. "Oud Vossemeer". Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  4. "Lambert Jochemse van Valckenburch of New Amsterdam". Retrieved 2008-02-28.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 26th and 32nd Presidents of the United States". American Heraldry Society. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
  6. Hough, Franklin B. (1858). The New York civil list. Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons & Co. p. 300. Retrieved November 27, 2009.
  8. Genealogical and Biographical Notes: Haring-Herring, Clark, Denton, White, Griggs, Judd, and Related Families. Peter Haring Judd. 2005. ISBN 978-0-88082-190-2.
  9. "Historic Pelham: Elbert Roosevelt, An Early Settler of the Manor of Pelham, and Other Members of His Family". Retrieved 2016-05-02.
  10. Theodore Roosevelt Association (1990). Theodore Roosevelt Association Journal. The Association.
  11. Frances M. Smith (1909). Colonial Families of America. F. Allaben genealogical Company.
  12. John Lippert; Jim Efstathiou Jr.; Mike Lee (April 1, 2013). "Republican Born Roosevelt Digs Deep for Texas Oil Found With CO2". Bloomberg Markets Magazine. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
Further reading
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