Thursday 17 November 2016

US Life Saving medals 1876-1944 on Ancestry

I like collections that you don't automatically think about with family history, so this one caught my eye on Ancestry:

U.S., Life Saving Medals Awarded, 1876-1944
Source: Record of Life Saving Medals Awarded, 1876-1944. NARA microform publication M2136. 1 Roll. NAI: 2217630. Records of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1785-2005, Record Group 26. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.

Here's the blurb:

This collection consists of registers that were used to record the awarding of Life-Saving Medals. These medals were first authorized by an act of Congress on June 20, 1874 (18 Stat. 127) which established that first and second class lifesaving medals could be bestowed "upon any persons who shall hereafter endanger their own lives in saving, or endeavoring to save lives from perils of the sea, within the United States, or upon any American vessel." The medal of the first class (gold) was confined to cases of "extreme and heroic daring," and the medal of the second class (silver) was to be awarded "in cases not sufficiently distinguished to deserve the medal of the first class." Entries were added to the registers in rough chronological order by date of award. Each entry in the registers recorded the following details for the award recipient, who was referred to as the applicant.

Name of applicant
Place of residence
Award inscription
Nature of service performed
Date of service
Date of application
Date of referral to commission
Date of commission report
Date of award
Nature of award (first or second-class OR gold or silver)
Date medal ordered (or other details)
Date medal sent (or other details)

There are further details about the collection on the US national archive site at


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Genealogy, A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

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