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I am looking for information regarding the attached photos. One photo is of a ring that looks well-worn. The other is for a pin that appears to be unused. I am assuming they are military in origin, perhaps for service or an award.

An obit for a close relative of mine includes a mention that he was cited by the Czar for bravery in Plevna. I believe but do not know if this citation refers to the Seige of Plevna. I have seen no records to date regarding his military service and will post separately for further inquiry about that. He was Jewish and in 1855 was born in Latvia. He immigrated in 1887 and died in the early 1900s.

I wondered if the items in these pics were for military service, for serving in battle, or for the bravery citation. These items are in the personal effects of my father who served in the US Navy during WWll. During his life he read or spoke about family origins from Courland. And he was also very interested in Seige of Plevna.

I have looked through various documents I found via Internet searches for Orders, decorations, or medals of Russia, the Russian and Ottoman Empire. I have not looked in any print books yet.

Some of where I have looked already include Wikipedia articles on Orders, decorations and medals of Russia and http://soviet-awards.com/medals5.htm http://medals.pl/ru/ru1.htm

If any of you know the meaning of these items I (and many other relatives too) would be pleased to know. Or if you can point me in the direction of other online or print sources I can look through that also is helpful. Or of course, another targeted place I can post my query is also helpful.

Thanks,

Ring of unknown origin Pin of unknown origin

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    Could you please give some more time line information for the owner(s) of these, such as a time of immigration or residency in specific cities as well as occupation. The Eagle is a common symbol and the reference to Plevna is useful but it may not necessarily been from that time period specifically. This looks more in the style of the American Eagle for example than the Russian one.. so any additional timeline info would be helpful especially to make it more relevant to the Genealogy forum vs. just History. Thanks – CRSouser Dec 15 '14 at 22:03
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    @CRSouser is right, without details of who you believe owned these medals originally, making sense of them is much more difficult, and possibly off-topic. I am assuming that it is someone born more than 100 years ago - if not, please be aware of our discussions regarding privacy at meta.genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/1900/…. By Plevna do you mean the Siege of Plevna? – PolyGeo Dec 15 '14 at 23:47
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    @annie I believe I am pretty sure I know what it is, but need some additional context before answering. So if you can please add some more timeline / location information specific to the owners this would be helpful keeping in mind this forum is used by users around the world. – CRSouser Dec 16 '14 at 0:31
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    Annie, draft registration cards are just what they say -- a record of someone registering for the draft. There are records saying who was actually called up, but as far as I know, none of them can be found online. If you can find the 1930 Census record for your grandfather, that might say if he served in WWI (column 31 should say WW). – Jan Murphy Dec 16 '14 at 4:53
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    For records at NARA, see Military Resources: World War I and World War II Records. NARA is the US National Archives. See also archives.gov/research/genealogy – Jan Murphy Dec 16 '14 at 4:57
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A few notes before I identify it which brings me to my 97% confidence level of my conclusion.

  1. Most Czarist Russian Eagles have two heads; not one and similar to other European Eagles.
  2. It kind of looks like the Eagle of Tyrol / Tirol; which is not part of Russia BUT is also much more detailed and not in the style of it typically seen.
  3. Notice the 13 stripes at the bottom, that is HUGE to American symbolism that plus the standing presenting Eagle led me to conclude it is American.
  4. It looks similar to the Standing Eagle Found on 19th Century and Early 20th Century American Coins and general American Currency the like back of the $1 bill, the Boy Scouts; it was just determining which organization used it.
  5. Revision of your question to include additional information and that they immigrated to the United States helped confirm my train of thought.

The ring and the lapel pin are from the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

The Eagles organization found in 1898 and is still around today. Their symbols though in the early years varied by localization (even seemed to within state) and or for specialized events. Though there history is marked with several Christian specific activities they are know to have members from many religions including Judaism as long as the individual believed in a 'supreme being'. The Eagles used to be a much more prominent organization than they are today and if someone had just immigrated to the United States it seems reasonable that for both social aspects as well as "Americanization" that they join such an organization. It would also explain the level of wear as it was likely something they wore daily.

What I found the lapel pin with the assumed screw back dates from 1900-1910 and there are a few of them actually on eBay once I knew what I was probably attempting to locate. I have not been able to date the ring and even used Google Image search but did not see one

Interesting things of note that the standing Eagle and the direction of their head turning seems to vary with time period and symbols where the Eagle's is both presenting AND their legs turned is rare in general. The Eagle's even turned direction in their symbolism later (by 1940s it appears) and didn't use the specific design again where as several other early designs (such as this Eagle) can be found repeatedly in their history and anniversary badges.

So there are a couple pieces of good news here:

  1. You know which organization they are from (The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an American Organization) and who the items likely belonged (the unnamed one born in 1855).
  2. The Eagles (a.k.a. F.O.E.) were large enough of an organization then that if you know where your relatives loved during that time you may be able to find records of their membership, their roles within the organization (if any), and maybe even photos from the organization of the individual in group settings or some of their other activities.
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    Excellent answer! Besides looking for the organization's records, local newspapers can be checked for events and projects contemporary to the items' owner. Many fraternal organizations active in more than 50 years ago are defunct or shrunk in membership - finding archived branch records for these may be difficult. But the mutual help that these organizations provided for members may explain some associated names on documents. – bgwiehle Dec 16 '14 at 14:34
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    I believe these items belonged to my grandfather, DOB 1882, immigration 1887. My GF was more integrated in society than the other person referenced. The Eagles started in Seattle amongst musicians where an uncle of his worked as a musician. Thus my GF may have readily heard about FOE and sought membership in organizations that he enjoyed and would provide fraternal interactions as he was also involved in Chicago politics, early 1900’s. Your answer reminded me that I found another document indicating this GF was a Freemason in Chicago. A trip to the Newberry Library is in order. Wow, thanks! – Annie Dec 16 '14 at 18:32
  • I could not edit my comment above so I am amending it here due to a factual error. The Eagles started in Seattle following a strike by musicians. – Annie Dec 20 '14 at 1:54
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My father (and many brothers) were in WWII and he had this exact gold pin in his medal collection. It was an Honorable Discharge pin (the "Ruptured Duck"), meant to be worn on the lapel for all branches of US military.

From Wikipedia: enter image description here

Here is another link for you -- ARMY ORDER OF DISPLAY/WEAR

You can click on each branch at the top of the page. You can also click on the "Issue Regulations" next to the pin for more information.

It also appears that they made rings.

http://thumbs2.picclick.com/d/l400/pict/282145481633_/WWII-Honorable-Discharge-Ruptured-Duck-Ring-STERLING.jpg

Google WWII Honorable Discharge pin and ring. You can see various pictures with a Google Image Search.

I hope this helps.

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  • Hi, Kathyrn, I've edited your answer to make it a little easier to read. If you have more information to add, you can use the edit link under your answer. – Jan Murphy Sep 20 '16 at 16:56

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