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The Advantages of Knowing Your Past

For those lucky people who have been given a true sense of their family history my story may seem quite unusual. However, today families ar...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Genealogical finds help us have a deeper understanding of History


Being a genealogist can many times feel extremely rewarding and down right exciting when we find (through our extreme focus on one subject) details overlooked or deemed unimportant by historians. This, ultimately, is the focus of this blog.

Through my studies of Albert Gallatin, life long close friend of my ggggg grandfather John Badollet, I was able to purchase an out of print copy of Gallatin's son, James' diary. In this diary, mostly focused in the period of 1813-1827, we get a wonderful glimpse into how vital Gallatin was in American history, his European connections, with Voltaire (his grandmother had a close relationship with him), Napoleon (who tried to get Gallatin to give him inside US information, which Gallatin refused), and Jacques David (famed French painter of Napoleon's coronation), and others. Gallatin was negotiating the Treaty of Ghent at the early part of this diary (where James, his son, was his personal secretary).

Jacques David had asked Gallatin if his son, James at age 16, would pose for a nude portrait "Cupid & Psyche" with a young woman. This famous portrait is in the Cleveland Museum of Art, with few knowing the history of the portrait. James was asked to pose for this painting March 3, 1815.
The picture above is copied from "A Great Peacemaker: The Diary of James Gallatin", published in New York by Charles Scribner's Sons, 1914.
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