Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York in 1882 at "Springwood," his family's country estate amid the rolling hills and pastoral splendor of the Hudson Valley. Descendants of Dutch immigrants who arrived in New York City in the mid 17th century, FDR's ancestors had lived in the valley for generations and were distant cousins to a second branch of the family that had settled Oyster Bay, Long Island, and gave rise to Theodore Roosevelt. Franklin was the son of James Roosevelt and his second wife, Sara Delano, and with the exception of a half-brother twenty-six years his senior, had no other siblings.
At Springwood, FDR enjoyed a privileged but solitary boyhood, where, under the doting eye of his mother, he pursued his many outdoor passions, including riding, fishing, ice-boating, and wandering the woods and fields of his father's estate. The family also owned a town house in New York City, where they spent much of the winter, as well as a summer cottage on Campobello Island, Canada.
Like many of the children of the old-money Hudson Valley Aristocracy, FDR's early education was undertaken at home, first by a governess, and later by a private tutor. At fourteen, FDR was sent to Groton, a prestigious boy's boarding school located in Massachusetts, where he would remain for four years. Next came Harvard, which granted him a BA in 1903, and finally, Columbia University Law School. FDR left Columbia without taking a degree, but he passed the New York bar examination in 1907, and spent the next three years practicing law as a junior clerk at Carter, Ledyard, and Milburn, a prominent New York City law firm.
In the fall of 1902, while FDR was still at Harvard, he began to see more and more of his distant cousin, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. A year later, FDR asked for her hand, and the two of them were married on March 17, 1905. The daughter of Elliot Roosevelt and Anna Hall, Eleanor was a member of the Oyster Bay branch of the Roosevelt family. She was also the niece of a man FDR much admired, Theodore Roosevelt, who was President at the time of their marriage and gave Eleanor away in the absence of her deceased father. The couple had six children, five of whom survived infancy. In the first years of their marriage, Eleanor's attention remained primarily focused on her family, but as the years passed, she would become more and more involved in issues of public policy and social justice.