Despite sharing the same surname, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt are not really that closely related. Many of you may know that FDR’s wife, Eleanor, was both a Roosevelt by birth and the niece of Teddy Roosevelt. When FDR and Eleanor married, Teddy Roosevelt said something to the effect, “It’s a good thing to keep the name in the family!” What some of you may not know is that JFK’s presumed killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, is actually more closely related to TR than cousin FDR is to the older president.
How can that be?
I’ll give the information below, but first, a website — :
A reliable genealogical resource famouskin.com has been researching and publishing family trees to show how historical people and celebrities are cousins to one another. This information is elsewhere in books and in the internet, since it is well-known. FamousKin gives a good visual of the tree and is an otherwise useful website.
FDR’s Relation to TR
Franklin and Teddy are 5th cousin, which they have the same great-great-great-great grandparents (4x great-grandparents): Nicholas Roosevelt (1658-1742) & Heyltje Jans Kunst. Theodore Roosevelt comes from Nicholas’s son, Johannes, and Franklin Roosevelt comes from another son, Jacobus. Johannes’s descendants are called Oyster Bay Roosevelts and Jacobus’s descendants are called Hyde Park Roosevelts.
Eleanor Roosevelt, since she’s Teddy’s niece, is also an Oyster Bay Roosevelt. TR would have been at the wedding mentioned earlier for Eleanor and not for FDR.
Again, to show the difference, TR’s family was Republican and FDR’s family was Democratic. Both Roosevelt’s were progressive, which wasn’t unusual for the time since both major parties had liberal and conservative wings. Even after TR’s death, Roosevelt’s sons and grandsons were Republicans, opposed to FDR. Teddy Roosevelt IV, an investment banker and conservationist, is currently alive. He’s a very moderate Republican (supported Huntsman in 2012). FDR’s descendants are still Democrats.
Lee Harvey Oswald’s Relation to TR
This may perplex some, partially because the Marxist Oswald is a Southerner and TR is identified with New York. What a lot people don’t know is that TR’s mother was born in Georgia from a leading Georgian family: the Bullochs. Archibald Bulloch, the great-grandfather of TR’s mom, was a governor of Georgia. From his mother’s side, TR is the great-great grandson of Joseph Oswald of Georgia, who died about 1785. This is the common ancestor of TR (and Eleanor) and Lee Harvey Oswald. TR and Eleanor came from a daughter of Joseph Oswald, while Lee Harvey Oswald came from a son, Thomas Hepworth Oswald.
While TR is the 2x great grandson of Joseph Oswald, Lee Harvey Oswald is the 3x great grandchild of Joseph Oswald. This makes them 3rd cousins, 1 time removed.
The removal is the generational gap. Thus, if you are directly related to Shakespeare’s grandfather, then you are 1st cousins, many times (15 times?) removed of Shakespeare. Basically, your direct ancestor from Shakespeare’s generation would have been first cousins with him, but you will be about 15 times removed from their generation. Does that make sense?
FDR and TR are exactly 5th cousin, despite their age gap, because somewhere in their family tree, between them and their common ancestor, an ancestor was either very young or very old when the next ancestor was born. Therefore, by chance, FDR and TR are generationally the same, genealogically speaking.
FDR shared the same last name as TR. They both knew that they were related to one another. FDR was helped politically with this attachment. Yet, famous assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, who may have never known he was closely related to TR, would have been unlikely to make any sorts of political gains with an even closer kinship to TR than FDR had.
President Oswald anyone? I kid. Seriously, though, surnames are very misleading in showing blood ties, especially when you consider that Oswald’s DNA is probably slightly more similar to Teddy Roosevelt’s DNA than FDR’s DNA is to Teddy’s. Overall, it’s quite baffling.