The Roosevelt family and Oud-Vossemeer

Oud-Vossemeer is often referred to as the place where possibly the ancestors of the former American presidents Theodore Roosevelt and his better-known distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt came from.

Certainly they descended from the Dutchman Claes Martensen van Rosenvelt, who set foot ashore around 1650 in the present New York. But it is not known where exactly in The Netherlands this Claes Martensen came from, in spite of the investigations of many people.

For various reasons Oud-Vossemeer is a candidate. Certainly from the first half of the 17th century into the 18th century several Rosevelts lived in or near Oud-Vossemeer. Around the 16th century a piece of land in the polder between Oud-Vossemeer and Poortvliet is called “'t Rosevelt”. It is possible that this is the origin of the family name. On the island of Tholen there live no Rosevelts anymore, but in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen you can still find some.

In the past century Oud-Vossemeer has been visited several times by the American Roosevelts. A nephew of president Theodore Roosevelt visited it in 1929 and 1934 in his search for the family history. Eleonora, the widow of president Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited the village in 1950. In the years 2000,2003 and 2006 tourist-parties of Roosevelt-descendants viewed the place where maybe their roots lay.

Rosevelt locations

In and around Oud-Vossemeer are several buildings and locations that are connected with the Dutch branch of the Rosevelt family. Unfortunately the buildings are not accessible.

In the manor-house hangs a coat of arms of J.W.van Rosevelt, lord of the manor round about 1770.The manor-house is not accessible, but via their own website , you can look around in it virtually.

“Het Roosevelthuis” (The Roosevelthouse). At the location nowadays known as Raadhuisstraat 38, was formerly a house habitated by Roosevelts from Oud-Vossemeer. In 1936 A. de Rijke, owner of the house at that time, had painted the arms of the Roosevelts above the door. his house, known for some time as the “Roosevelthuis”, has been demolished in 1970.The window-frame with the name of Roosevelt was given to the local museum “de Meestoof” in St.Annaland. The house standing there now, has except for the location further no connection with the ”Roosevelthuis” and is also not accessible. However there is a plaque on the front since 2011.

In the Dutch Reformed Church you can see the family name on a baptismal font and a chandelier, once donated by the Rosevelt family. The church is not accessible.

The church in Scherpenisse, with a comparable chandelier, is also not accessible.