Lately I have been bouncing around my 8th cousin twice removed, Franklin Delano Roosevelt” family finding facts and filling in family lines. I knew that I was related but didn’t feel inspired to fill out the descendants until watching a PBS special on his wife Eleanor Roosevelt’s life. My relationship to FDR is a very twisted one coming down the Burgess line to Perrys, Popes and then Churchs. Deborah Church would marry Warren Delano, FDR’s great grandfather.
Although I am related to FDR I am not related to his wife. The ancestor line that connects us is through FDR’s mother Sarah Ann Delano. Sarah Ann Delano Roosevelt was one of 11 children born to Warren and Catherine Robbins Lyman Delano. The beginnings of the gain of wealth in the family seem to have started with Warren Delano. He would list himself in the Census as a merchant trader. His wealth was made in trading with China.
China exported all types of goods including silks and tea, but wouldn’t accept imported goods. According to an article written in 1979:
“The British struck upon an ingenious way to reduce a huge trade deficit. Their merchants bribed Chinese officials to allow entry of chests of opium from British ruled India, though its importation had long been banned by imperial decree. Imports soared, and nearly every American company followed suit, acquiring "black dirt" in Turkey or as agents for Indian producers.”
Warren Delano would be in the thick of things working for Russell & Company and amassing his fortune. After 1851 he would return from the China merchant trade and live in Algonac, Orange County, New York. He would return to China in 1859 to recoup losses suffered during the panic of 1857. There is the prologue to the book A Notable Passage to ChinaMyth and Memory in FDR’s Family History of the families trips and life in China written by RJC Butow from family remembrances.
Sara Ann Delano would marry James Roosevelt and their only child would be Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From written accounts, until the time of her death, Sara was very involved in Franklin’s life even after his marriage to Eleanor. Franklin and Eleanor would have 6 children, 5 of whom would survive to adulthood and between them have 19 marriages. Franklin and Eleanor were 5th cousins once removed.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wouldn’t be the only famous person in the Delano family tree. From FDR’s 3rd great uncle would come author Laura Ingalls Wilder, President Ulysses S. Grant, anthropologist Robert Redfield, astronaut Alan B. Shepard, and the poet Conrad Potter Aiken.