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Gatins Family Papers

Identifier: ahc.MSS1005

Scope and Content

This collection contains correspondence, diaries, obituaries, newspaper clippings, financial records, and official United States government documents pertaining to Gatins family members. Included among the latter are files from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), court records, passport application files, and INS records. The collection also contains birth, baptism, marriage, school and death records for various family members. Also included is secondary research on significant events that affected each generation of the Gatins family.


  • 1848-2010, undated, bulk 1999-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1999 - 2008


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required.

Administrative/Biographical History

In 1849, Joseph Gatins (1827-1905) moved to Atlanta with his two brothers, James and John. Joseph Gatins was a railroad clerk and freight manager of the Central of Georgia Railroad, and later an investment banker . In 1853, he married Bridget Cullen (? - 1905) and the couple had a son, Joseph Francis Gatins, Sr. (1855-1936). Their other children were Mary Theresa Gatins (1861-1869), Julia (1863-1938), Thomas (d. 1868) and Mamie R. (d.1936). Joseph Francis moved to New York City in 1900 where he continued his career as an investment banker. He was also the first owner of the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta.

Administrative/Biographical History

Joseph Francis, Sr. married Kate Thomas (1855-1937) in 1881 and they had five children including a son, Joseph Francis Gatins, Jr. (1882-1927). He became a real estate investor, and in 1914 married Eglé de Villelume-Sombreuil (1892-1990), a descendant of a prominent French family. The couple moved to France in 1915 and had a son, Joseph Francis Gatins III (1915-1983) who served in the French army during World War II and was a prisoner-of-war at five different German prison camps. After escaping in 1943, he married Sylvia de German-Ribon (1915-1987), a Columbian heiress. The couple moved to New York in 1946 and had a son, Joseph Francis Miguel Gatins (1946- ). After Joseph, there came five more children: Charles (1947-1995), Sophie (1949- ), Martin (1950-), Eglé (1950-), and Miguel (1951-). Following a long battle with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the family settled in Atlanta in 1952. Joseph Francis Miguel Gatins lived in Richmond, Virginia and worked as a reporter and special projects editor for The Richmond Times- Dispatch. In 2009, with help from family members and friends, he wrote the book; We Were Dancing on a Volcano: Bloodlines and Fault Lines of a Star-Crossed Atlanta Family, 1849-1989, Satolah, Ga.: Glade Press, which chronicles four generations of the Gatins Family.


5 linear ft. (13 document cases)



System of Arrangement

This collection is organized into four series: I. Joseph Gatins; II. Joseph Francis Gatins Sr.; III. Joseph Francis Gatins Jr.; and IV. Joseph Francis Gatins III. Each series is arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Joseph Francis Miguel Gatins, 2010 (2010.122)

Related Archival Material

Gatins Family photographs, VIS 187, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center

Description Control

Collection processed in 2010.
Gatins Family Papers
Finding aid prepared by Paul Crater
February 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305