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Help with city & local medal research


MilitaryWired
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MilitaryWired

I am having trouble researching some WW1 city medals and was hoping some of you can help. Is there an easy way to find out the historical population of small towns? OR, is there a way to find out how many people were eligible to receive their cities WW1 service medal? I see some references to the Louis Small book on city medals but does this book include the number of eligible recipients for each medal? Here are just a few examples of the city medals I am trying to research:

 

I appreciate everyone's help in advance!

 

 

Alto, Texas

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Robbinsdale, Minnesota, w/ smooth reverse. There must have not been many eligible recipients as this was hand engraved.

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South Kingston, Rhode Island w/ engraved top bar.

101skri.jpg

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I'm looking for the Louis Small reference as well. I have a partial list from a friend that took the information from the book and it lists numbers (1920 census) as well as statistical estimated numbers of state issued medals. I didn't ask about local issues at the time.

 

Here's a PIC of the book:

 

Tim

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I have the Small book, great reference. The Texas medal is listed with 45 estimated recipients, your Rhode Island medal is listed as 241 actual recipients. Your Minnesota medal is not listed. The Small book has a great many medals, but it is not a complete list of medals issued by all states, counties, cities, and town.

 

Kevin

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Lou Small's book used the 1920 census figures for towns and counties. He then applied a fairly simple methodology to estimate the number of people eligible for the local medals. As I recall, he used the number of people who served versus the national population and came up with a figure of about 4%. He applied this number across the board.

 

While the 4% figure is a reasonable number in the absence of specific data, it doesn't really work well in all populations. For example, in large sections of the Northeast, where there large numbers of single males working in non-critical industries, the numbers will be substantially higher. In many rural areas, the numbers are lower (fewer males and many were in critical farming jobs).

 

There are very few situations where we know precisely how many local medals were given. Sometimes you can find a news article that talks about the presentations and how many men were present; sometimes city records indicated the number of medals purchased. I've even found a program for the medal presentation of medals in an upsate New York county, which listed every man who received the county medal (broken down by town). This gave a fairly good number for each of the towns that also gave out medals. None of this is precise, however.

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Hi Jeff,

 

That's why, with few exceptions, I have failed to go beyond the basic State level of collecting as I just don't know what I am getting into here.

 

I have the Doug Boyce reference (State Medals for War Service) but still need the Planchet Press Pub (State, County, City, and Organization Medals for World War One) by Richard Planck.

 

Any ideas where the Planchet Press Pub or Small references can be found these days?

 

Tim

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Fred Borgmann

There is no easy way. Lou Small's method was the most logical but does not include the many soldiers who lived out side of a geographical unit but were still local enough to be considered home town boys and were given medals. Your medal looks like it could be gold which means it is possibly a posthumous issue so the local gold star list could help you there. There is also the fact that many medals were produced but not claimed which would explain why so many are still available in the original folders and boxes. Ashland Wisconsin is a good example of that. Local historical societies can also be very helpful as can the local county veterans service offices. All are very time consuming. Good luck and have fun.

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  • 4 months later...
JimmyBerry2013

I have been collecting town medals for 20 years and am planning an update of small and plancts books. I have a very large list of known medals with types if you want to email me at katerogers@msn.com.

Jim

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  • 7 years later...
Sumserbrown

Small's book is a great starting point but the number of medals issued is just an estimate. As an example Small estimates 233 medals in Haddonfield, NJ but if you count the number of men listed on the war memorial it is actually 296. There are also lots of gaps in his book where a town might have been missed out, or he does not know exactly what medal type, ribbon etc was issued for that town. That all said, it is still my go-to book.

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