The Roosevelt family is a prominent American business and political family whose members include United States Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The Roosevelts were among the earliest to settle in the Dutch colonial settlement of New Amsterdam, in what would later become New York.
Van Rosevelts of Oud-Vossemeer
It has been suggested that Claes van Rosenvelt could have been related to the Van Rosevelts 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 Rosevelts 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.
Claes van Rosenvelt
Claes Maartenszen van Rosenvelt, the immigrant ancestor of the Roosevelt family, arrived in Nieuw 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. 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. James Roosevelt met his wife at a Roosevelt family gathering in the home of Theodore's mother, and James' son Franklin married Theodore's niece Eleanor.
The Roosevelt Family is generally associated with the state of New York. Harvard University educations have been common among many members of the Roosevelt Family.
Coats of arms
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.
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.
Oyster Bay Roosevelts
Hyde Park Roosevelts
- The Roosevelts - 2014 PBS documentary
- Further reading
- Cobb, William T. (1946). The Strenuous Life: The Oyster Bay Roosevelts in Business and Finance. William E. Rudge's Sons.Â
- Collier, Peter; David Horowitz (1994). The Roosevelts: An American Saga. Simon & Schuster. ISBNÂ 0-671-65225-7.Â
- Hubert, Philip G. (1903). The Merchants' National Bank of the City of New York.Â
- Schriftgiesser, Karl (1942). The Amazing Roosevelt Family, 1613â"1942. Wildred Funk, Inc.Â
- Scoville, Joseph A. (1863). The Old Merchants of New York City. New York, NY: Carlton.Â
- Whittelsey, Charles B. (1902). The Roosevelt Genealogy, 1649â"1902.Â
- Booknotes interview with Peter Collier on The Roosevelts: An American Saga, August 7, 1994.
- Booknotes interview with Betty Boyd Caroli on The Roosevelt Women, May 9, 1999.
- Booknotes interview with Susan Dunn on The Three Roosevelts: Patrician Leaders Who Transformed America, May 6, 2001.