Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S., Life Saving Medals Awarded, 1876-1944 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Original data:

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.

About U.S., Life Saving Medals Awarded, 1876-1944

About This Collection

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)

For more information about this collection, see the catalog of the National Archives.