Eleanor Roosevelt was of Dutch, English, and Irish descent.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884, in New York City, New York, United States. Her father was Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt, President Theodore Roosevelt's younger brother and her mother was Anna Rebecca Hall, a member of the distinguished Livingston family.
Elliott Roosevelt suffered from acute alcoholism and narcotic addiction, perhaps as a result of a vaguely described "nervous sickness" first manifested when he was a young adult. Some speculate that it may have been epilepsy. At 30, he made a trip around the world, and his fellow shipmates were his fourth cousin James Roosevelt and his wife Sara Delano Roosevelt; he soon after served as godfather to their son Franklin who (after Elliott’s death) would become his son-in-law.
Between 1890 and 1891, during what was his third overseas trip, this time with his wife and two children at the time, his family committed Elliott Roosevelt to an asylum in France. A year later, his brother Theodore Roosevelt committed him to the Keeley Center in Dwight, Illinois in an effort to treat his alcohol addiction.
Given her seemingly excellent health, Anna Hall Roosevelt’s sudden death of diphtheria at only 29 years old was a shock to her family and a wide circle of New York society friends.
Within a period of just two years, Eleanor Roosevelt’s entire sense of family was decimated. Her mother died when she was eight years old. Her four-year-old brother died the following year. Her father died the year after that. A family of five was reduced to two. The emotional toll it would surely have taken on her can only be surmised. She was left orphaned by 9 years and 10 months old. She and her remaining sibling, a second brother Gracie Hall, known as "Hall" (his mother’s maiden name) became the ward of her maternal grandmother, a formidable woman who lived in the Hudson River Valley.