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Foundations of a Public Life:  Family Background

Family Background

From the moment of his birth, Franklin Delano Roosevelt enjoyed the advantages of wealth and status.

The Roosevelts were an old and prosperous family, conscious of their place among the nation's social elite. They traced their origins in America to the 1640s, when Claes Martenszen van Rosenvelt arrived from Holland. Claes's grandsons established two branches of the family tree. Each flourished in fields that included law, banking, and shipping. The "Oyster Bay" Roosevelts - who summered on Long Island - produced President Theodore Roosevelt. FDR belonged to the family's "Hyde Park" branch.

FDR's Delano family line was equally distinguished. Its earliest ancestor in America - the French Huguenot Philippe de la Noye - arrived in 1621. A seafaring family of whalers, merchant mariners, and privateers, the Delanos commanded great wealth and were linked to prominent New England families.
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