Was FDR from Jewish roots? 12-14-06

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Was the Roosevelt Branch Jewish?

Probably Not!


Richard J. Garfunkel

December 14, 2006



It seems both the anti-Semites claim FDR was Jewish and the Jews out of some strange sense of ownership and or pride want to claim that he was Jewish! Nicholas Martens, the son of Martin, had a charge of slander brought against him by Philip Teyler at the Council of New Netherlands in 1638. Whatever Martens had said against Teyler has not been recorded. The charge was dismissed. Nicholas Martens held his tongue for 11 years and over that period of time it is not recorded where he had been. He came back to New Amsterdam in 1649, bought a farm from one Lambert van Valkenburgh, and had a wife Jannetje. It would have been located between present day 4th Avenue (in 1942) and 29th Street in NYC. The farm was known as Rose Hill-maybe it was known also as the Field of Roses from Zeeland where he was born. This Nicholas Martens or as he was variously known as Claes, was also known as the “The Little One” because he was so big and strapping. The legend about him said that he was the son of Martin and Anna of the village of Het Rosen Velt (Field of Roses) on the island of Tholen, near Zeeland.


North of the farm was a high hill, known today as Murray Hill, and a stream that emptied into a duck pond where the first Madison Square Garden was then located. A number of years later and after six children, he was always referred to by his nickname Claes and sometimes he was called Klein Klassjie; or Cleyn Claesjen, or even Colyn Claesie, which all meant Little Claes. He was referred twice in the old records of New Amsterdam as Claes Martenzen van Rosenvelt or Nicholas the son of Martin of the Rose Field. (Remember his dog Fala was named Murray, the Outlaw of Falahill after an earlier Scotty that FDR had owned and had named after a long-lost ancestor.)


When Jannetje Thomas, the widow of Cleyn Classie, died, and left five minor children, the Guardian, one Tomas Hall, from Gloucestershire, England, placed a family named Grevenraet, possible relatives of Janetje, to care for young Nicholas and his sisters. The daughters grew up and married and young Nicholas, who might have assumed the name of his guardians or even the name of his nurse Metje Grevenraet, preferred his father's name and modified it to Nicholas Roosevelt. Therefore, from all evidence available, his name was taken, either in New Amsterdam (New York) or Holland, from the Dutch translation of a hill or field of roses, not a Jewish sounding derivative name like Rosenvelt. The Martens were Dutch Protestants in New Amsterdam from the 1640’s. There is no evidence that he or his forbearers were Jewish in Holland, but when the question was posed to him about his supposed ancestry he did say, “In the dim distant past my ancestors may have been Jews, Catholics, or Protestants, but what I am more interested in is whether they were good citizens and believed in G-d.” He was certainly a believer in G-d, was somewhat influenced by the Reverend Endicott Peabody’s (headmaster at Groton) concept of Protestantism but did not have a consistent history of attending church services. As a young man he did tend to agree with his illustrious cousin Theodore Roosevelt that G-D looked favorably upon the United States, but nowhere does history seem to indicate that he had any sort of messianic complex. According to Conrad Black, in his book Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Champion of Freedom, Black states, “Franklin D. Roosevelt’s G-d was indulgent but exacting, fair and condign and ultimately forgiving. Beyond this, his exact ecclesiastical views, like most of his inner thoughts, are indiscernible.”


As to Sara Delano, other oppressed people came to the New World besides the Pilgrims. Many of the Dutch of Leyden, where the early Pilgrims had friends, had also settled in Plymouth. One ancestor of Sara, was Richard Warren from London. He was a religious man, and was not a member of the Church of Leyden when he sailed on the Mayflower. He was a signer of the Compact. Another passenger on the Mayflower and a descendent of FDR was one Degory Priest, who had married Isaac Allerton's sister Sarah. He died in the first winter and his widow married again and one of her daughters married a Frenchman named John Coombs. Among some of the other people that felt oppressed and settled in Leyden was a family of French origin named de la Noye. A son of that family Philippe eventually, after going from Leyden to England and then to the New World on the ship “Fortune,” married an English girl named Hester Dewsbury from Duxbury, Ma. After establishing himself in Duxbury, he answered the call by the Connecticut General Court to fight the Pequot Indians along with some 90 others and several hundred warriors from the Narraganset tribe. Under the influence of the English colonists with who he associated, his name soon lost its French spelling, and became Delano.


Basically, in conclusion, there is no evidence that his earliest recorded paternal ancestor, Claes Martens was Jewish or that his maternal descendents, Richard Warren or Phillipe de la Noye were Jewish either.



5 thoughts on “Was FDR from Jewish roots? 12-14-06

  1. It would make a lot of sense that the Roosevelts are really of Jewish ancestry. Just the surname alone tell you something about who the Roosevelts really are. Not only that, we forget about the “morano” or secret Jews. There were more American presidents with Jewish ancestry. Their name and surname tells us that there is a large amount of Jewish ancestry in some American presidents. Benjamin Franklin is a good example.

  2. The actual Dutch maiden name of Claes Van Roosevelt’s wife was Jannetje Tomas. Her father was Samuel Tomas.

    (see famouskin.com for a comment on the Angliclization of Samuel’s Name.)

    This isn’t odd, as many Dutch descended people anglicized their names after New Amsterdam fell to the Brits. Or the Brits did it for them when they did a tax census… But anyway.

    One of Samuel’s other daughter’s Fransynte Tomas married Loerus Arentje Toers.. His name is certainly is a Dutch Converso name. I know about them as they are my ancestors…LOL…

    So the Roosevelt’s are most likely Converso through Claes’s wife. and as for Roosevelt (Red Field, Rose Field), you can wonder. Their children were baptized as shown in Dutch Church records, and raised Christian.

    Food for thought certainly.

  3. In “Another passenger on the Mayflower and a descendent of FDR was one Degory Priest” descendent should be ancestor.

  4. Always interested in added research on FDR, one of our greatest men, whose accomplishments were remarkable and enshrined in over 1000 books. I have about 450 and he saved America twice, was the Soldier of Freedom. You can read my other pieces on him at this site.

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