I usually find that the ordinary people in my family tree are more fascinating than trying to search for famous distant cousins. I was pretty surprised when reading an article and finding that I was distantly, heavy on the distant, related to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This relation comes down through his mother’s side of the family and ties into the Burgess side of mine. If you want to get technical about how distant, barely kissing, waving out the backdoor, cousins we are, it would be 8th cousins twice removed. I didn’t do that figuring by hand, I am lost at second cousins, and my genealogy program quickly gives those statistics out.
If you haven’t seen the movie ‘Warm Springs” you should. It shows the struggles he had with the results of polio. The second time I watched it was even more interesting than the first knowing that this man being represented and I shared some of the same gene pool. What he faced with polio was never shown to the American public, it was very carefully hidden. Unlike today’s times where actors and the famous can come out of hiding with their various health problems and support research, encouraging others to help find a cure. Franklin hid his ailment, afraid to give the impression to the American public that his problem was a display of weakness.
No matter how you feel about his politics you have to be pretty amazed at the man. He was determined to keep the focus of the public on the man inside, not the outward appearance of a body that wasn’t perfectly functioning. The polio didn’t affect his mind, his intelligence or his compassion. He was the same feeling human being as he was the day before the polio struck or maybe better, having had to deal with the struggle of his affliction.