There’s room for debate on how close these two were related, but yes, Franklin D. Roosevelt did marry his distant cousin, Anna Eleanor. The love story starts well before that of course seeing as how the two actually met when they were children. It wasn’t until years later, however, when both of them attended a dinner at the White House in 1902. The event was being held by Eleanor’s uncle and Franklin’s fifth cousin, President Teddy Roosevelt. Technically speaking according to History this made “Anna Eleanor, his fifth cousin once removed as well as the niece (and goddaughter) of his fifth cousin.”
Young Franklin was 20 at the time and was attending school up north in Boston at Harvard University. Eleanor, on the other hand, was just 17. After months of courting and years of dating, the two did decide to tie the knot and get married on St. Patrick’s day in 1905. When the couple married, Teddy Roosevelt took a quick break from his White House responsibilities to escort Eleanor down the aisle in lieu of her deceased father. “Well, Franklin,” the president purportedly exclaimed at the wedding, “there’s nothing like keeping the name in the family.”
Teddy was without a doubt Franklin’s closest relative, but FDR “claimed to have traced his family tree to 10 other presidents as well” according to History. Keep in mind, as an only child he traced his roots back to the Mayflower, something we wrote about on January 14th. Remember, without John Howland, there might not have been a Franklin D. Roosevelt, and without FDR, there might not have been a new deal. It also sounds like there might not have been a holy matrimony between fifth cousins once removed.