Sunday, January 3, 2016

Laura Ingalls Wilder Genealogy Part 1

Did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder was related to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

On the Wikipedia page for Laura, there is a statement that says that Laura was related to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Now, I am a very keen genealogist. Quite frankly I was sceptical of that Wikipedia statement, so I did some research and typed in all the names for both Laura's ancestors and FDR's ancestors into my genealogy software program. 

Sure enough I discovered that yes they are related and that they are both of the same generation. 

My software doesn't seem to make real family trees, so you will have to settle for these Lines of Descent!!

But there is also a big age discrepancy between these two.

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were 5th cousins.

They were both descended from Jonathan Delano, the son of Philippe De Lannoy. Philippe changed his name to Delano when he immigrated to America from Europe in 1621.

Laura was born in 1867 and FDR was born in 1882 - Laura was already 15 years old when FDR was born.

FDR contracted polio in 1921, (at the age of 39) which cost him the use of his legs. This put his future political career in jeopardy. But he worked hard to recover from the illness, and also founded a new treatment centre for people with polio in Warm Springs, Georgia.

Laura died in 1954, aged 90. FDR died in 1945 aged 63.

Laura was 78 years old when FDR died. She out-lived her cousin by 12 years.

FDR was elected President in 1932. He was aged 50 years old. Laura was 65 years old.

I am wondering. 

Was Charles Ingalls ever made aware of his Delano heritage? His grandmother (Laura's great grandmother) was Margaret Delano who married Samuel Ingalls in Connecticut in 1793. 
Did Laura know that she was related to the Delano family?  
While the Wilders were living in Missouri, did Almanzo vote for FDR? 
Did Laura  know that FDR was a relative?

There are so many questions I want to ask both Laura and Charles, and Rose too. Did she ever know that she had some famous relatives?  

Is there any of this mentioned in any of Laura's letters and in the biography Pioneer Girl, which I clearly have not yet read? 

One more thing. Jonathan Delano Sr also had a number of other famous descendants who are also distantly related to Laura Ingalls Wilder.

 These include President Calvin Coolidge, President Ulysses S. Grant, and the NASA astronaut, Alan B Shepherd. 

Jonathan's Delano's wife Mercy Warren was the granddaughter of  Richard Warren who arrived in America on the Mayflower in 1620. So now only does Laura have several famous relatives, she can also claim Mayflower Descent too!!!

See Mayflower History for details.

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