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I would like to publicly if (as requested) anonymously thank those surviving friends and family members (and they know who they are :beer::beer: ) of the Inner Circle of America's top Imperial German collector-researchers for granting me the privilige of carrying on the work begun by my mentors, sadly taken from our community long before their times, leaving only a few partially trained apprentices to carry on their legacies.

Returned home from a trip yesterday with my car loaded with what portions of THREE collector-researchers' lives could be salvaged, and am still working my way through BOXES of xeroxed Rolls and laboriously hand-written notes.

I will add to this list as I straighten out the contents. But what I have here-- the labor of some years ahead, surely-- are:

Principlaity of Hohenzollern: Honor Cross and GOLD Medal, WW1 awards with swords-- ALL

Lippe-Detmold: Honor Cross 1870-1918-- ALL

Lippe-Detmold: Leopold Order & Medal-- ALL

Lippe-Detmold: Merit Medals-- ALL (I think)

Lippe-Detmold: Bertha Order-- ALL

Lippe-Detmold: Frauenverdienstkreuz-- ALL

Lippe-Detmold: Frauenverdienstmedaille-- ALL

Lippe-Detmold: "Rose" (in all its name changes)-- ALL (I think)

Lippe-Detmold: Kriegervereinkreuz-- ALL

Saxe-Altenburg: 1914-18 awards. Roth did the "X" awards, but the original rolls also contain home towns. This copy also shows the wartime awards to civilians without swords

Saxe-Coburg: Ernestine House Orders with Swords and Years, WW1-- ALL

Saxe-Coburg: Ernestine House Order Gold Medals, same-- ALL

Saxe-Coburg: Ernestine House Order Silver Medals X-- 1914 to 20.1.17, some August 1917, and 2.1.18 to end

Saxe-Coburg: Carl Edward Medals with dates and swords-- ALL (I think-- "dates" are ROLL, not action)

Saxe-Meiningen: Ernestine House Orders and Medals-- 1914-16.

Saxe-Meiningen: War Merit Cross and War Merit Medal-- ALL awards

Saxe-Weimar: SOME parts of the first half of WW1 White Falcon rolls (hard to read, oddly organized) as in all of the rolls simply list recipients by year without months and days. The higher grades seem complete. All Knight 1st X go to 1918 so must be almost complete. Knight 2nd X only go into 1915 for natives, but are complete for Bavarians, Reichs/navy personnel, and recipients from Hamburg. Prussians go to 8 names in 1917. Saxons seem complete although see below. Only 1 1914 award shown to a W?rttemberger!

Gold Merit Cross X awards to natives go to 1919 and seem complete to non-natives. Silver Merit Cross X awards go to 1919 for natives and seem complete to non-natives although none are shown for Saxons (?none awarded, or missing?).

Wilhelm Ernst War Cross roll seems complete. Gold General Decoration Xs SEEM coimplete, although on many many separate pages so cannot be sure. Silver General Decoration X goes to 1 award in 1919 so may NOT be totally complete, and there is one defective page coipy obscuring 13 names in 1918. No bronzes.

Saxony: Order of Maria Anna-- ALL awards 1906-18 but only by year, not specific date

Schaumburg-Lippe: House order 1890-1918-- ALL (I think, difficult to read and strangely organized)

and some other rolls which have already been published, mostly by the late Erhard Roth for Michael Autengruber's series, but which contain additional information on the original rolls NOT shown in published volumes-- city of residence, returns, and death notes kept by the Rolls' original keepers.

Much has, unfortunately, been lost or discarded-- but thanks to sympathetic wives and true friends, the work WILL go on.

The most detailed, perfectly organized, and beautifully kept records are Lippe-Detmold's. Oddly enough, there seem to have been two SEPARATE sets of Saxe-Coburg records, so the Lost Year may still be "out there" somewhere. saxe-Weimar's are legible but disappointingly bague on the exact dates.

I will probably tackle Hohenzollern first, as the most "doable" by numbers, and then Saxe-Coburg because it is ALMOST as complete as the published Saxe-Altenburg rolls. I have long dreamed of there BEING a Saxe-Meiningen War Merit Cross roll "out there," since that beautiful award turns up in so many groups where it will be the key to identifying an original medal or ribbon bar wearer. Those will be my first three priorities.

Some things to understand about these rolls, for anyone who has only seen the neat, clear, typed versions in the Autengruber series:

the originals are CHRONOLOGICAL rather than alphabetical. There are no indices. WE are interested in finding specific names matching up anonymous groups. That is NOT what the original intent was.

They are also almost entirely hand-written in Old German script. Some, like Lippe-Detmold's and Hohenzollern's, are in classic bureaucratic hands (I salute the shades of those long gone clerks! :cheers: ). Others are horrors of spindly, splotchy scrawls (like Schaumburg-Lippe's and what at this point I am GUESSING are parts of Mecklenburg Griffin Order rolls). Most are on huge "Bob Crachit" ledger forms but in teeny little writing. Others are crammed onto every available speck of paper right over the margins and mingling lines. Many have no first names for the recipients. Meiningen's War Merit Medal roll is in two massive xeroxed tomes, each weighing about 50 pounds, and opening flat to the width of a piano.

My work is going to be... interesting! :cheeky:

But the end result will be worth the effort.

I post this list so that anyone else typing their fingers to the bones working on these or any OTHER rolls (especially for World War One awards) keep or get in touch to prevent duplicating effort. It takes TOO LONG doing this to have it all be pointless because somebody else has finished first, and since at the end of it all is Z-E-R-O financial gain, the time could be spent best if organized for maximum results in minimum time. (Even apprentices are getting older by the day. :rolleyes: )

It looks like an exciting couple of years ahead for the sort of work my American mentors pioneered but never quite got to our Computer Age, and which Erhard Roth so magnificently began.

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David, There are no rolls for the KVK, and from what I saw in the archives in Wolfenbüttel, only about a quarter of the award files with recommendations and approvals remain. Christophe

Hi Friends, next one will be the military awards of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. I hope, until springtime I am ready to deliver. If anybody is interested, please PM me. Greetings Daniel

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I'll be judging the Julie Newmar Catwoman impersonators contest NEXT month.

Example Uno:

previously unheard of Saxe-Ernestine House Order Rolls for Saxe-Meiningen (ledger width, cannot be copied on a normal copier) reveals one Oberleutnant Hans Obstfelder received his "HSEH3bX" thanks to them pn 8 January 1915 while in Reserve Infantry Regiment 71.

He received the "HSEH3aX" from Saxe-Coburg on 31.7.16 while Hauptmann and 22nd Reserve Division Divisional Adjutant, place of residence changed from Meiningen in the above to Berlin-Friedenau here:


Line 282 in the running numbers by class.

Doesn't look too bad up on your monitor screen, does it? Try printing it out and you'll see the actual size I have to work with, by the THOUSANDS of entries. :speechless1:

His Saxe-Weimar White Falcon Knight 2nd X was a "1916" award (page 497) also as Adjutant of 22nd Reserve Division.

And why does Ricky CARE about Hans Obstfelder?

Because as middle aged adoptee Hans VON Obstfelder, and General der Infanterie, he was a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves and Swords winner and I have his P.O.W. camp-worn ribbon bar:


The Interwar Rank Lists ONLY show the highest of the "same" decoration. A Bavarian Leutnant who got the BMVK2X and a BMVO4X will only show the latter in a Reichsheer Rank List. Likewise, as holder of TWO grades of Knight's Cross X of the Saxe-Ernestine House Order, (von) Obstfelder only showed the senior class. Identification eluded me for YEARS until Glenn found a 1931 photo of him SHOWING both being worn--


because I have never been able to find :banger: a single photo of him wearing ANY ribbon bar in WW2:


It is for precisely such identifications of medal and ribbon bars (and photos of people wearing same and....) that award rolls play a vital role in research.

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I wish. Just the recipient of decades of this band of lifelong friends' hard work. In the boxes I got through today, Eric Ludvigsen had done an annual breakdown of all types of all Prussian awards from creation up to 31 January 1913-- the cut off date for the last annual Orders List. Hundreds of pages, with literally millions of awards hand counted and re-tallied and typed up. The mind boggles at such tenacity.

So I am now able to pass along everything from how many Red Cross medals 3rd Class were awarded in 1907 or Lifesaving Medals on ribbon in 1882 to totals for such awards as plain old Red Eagle Orders and Crown Orders 4th Class (let alone the bizarre and peculiar Red Eagle "embellishments") and numbers for the lowly General Decoration in silver medal.

I know there are several Hohenzollern "Adler der Inhaber" groups out there among you guys. Before this morning I had no information for you on numbers. Now I do.

How lucky I am that these guys saw a long ago teenager as worthy of being trained to carry on and pass along their work. But 30 years was NOT enough for me to absorb a fraction of their acquired knowledge.

They cannot be replaced.

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When Eric was alive, he was an incredible source of information. On a Sunday morning, I showed him a photo of a woman wearing an unknown sash of a Danish/German order. On Monday morning, he called me to identify the sash as part of an obscure ephemeral/religious order, and then name the woman as a minor princess of a branch of the Danish royal house who had family connections in Schleswig-Holstein.

His research always matched that level of detail but, better yet, it was always written in a clear hand or typed -- his gift to the generations.

Rick has substantial shoes to fill.

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I have seen you work a number of minor miracles here on this forum. You are in the majors now and have stepped up to the plate. Here in the little leagues I am rooting for you, I know you've got what it takes to get the job done.

Dan Murphy

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Thank God this was saved. This is very good news. I'll offer my service as assistant should you reqire them.

Well done-and thank you to the historian and family members who helped save the legacy.


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Principality of Hohenzollern is underway and will not take long.

Saxe-Coburg will be done after that--both completable by year's end.

If I have any fingers left after that, I may just do the Saxe-Meiningen War Merit Cross (because they're prrrrrrrretty, that's why) after and see what happens.

It is my intention to see these published in book form. The massive nature of the project does not yet allow for any idea of when or how. If this was about making money, I'd be selling crack cocaine.

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Bravo, Rick. When we do such research, we stand on the shoulders of those researchers who came before and bridge from the past to the future in the task restoring the lives and histories of those who were and are the owners of these shiny things of which we are mere custodians. :beer:

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I am glad that you were able to get the documentation. I cannot imagine a better person to have it. I can hardly wait to see the roll for the Lifesaving medal!!

Although... you promised me photos of that leather clad babe!!!!! :shame: She sounded hot! :love::love::(

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Well, it took me two solid days, but I just completed the Hohenzollern 3bX class, all 946 of them, so all classes the Principality's WW1 Honor Crosses to officers are done... next week to the NCOs!

At this rate (hunched over, listing left, squinting, and with hammer-fingers, ouch ouch ouch) it will take me all of September for Sachsen-Coburg, and months just for the Sachsen-Meiningen War Merit Cross.

Funny how about four full days of work produce a "flippable" product that can be skimmed in mere minutes-- even less to look for a specific name. It may look easy when it's done, but the DOING is a chore indeed. Still have a small number with no first names entered to figure out who was which.

After I get the Merit Crosses and Gold Merit Medals done, I will make a run through trying to find as many death dates as possible to add into a "remarks" column. The whole point of so much work is to make it EASIER to identify anonymous groups afterwards.

Some interesting things from going through Hohenzollern's rolls:

Unlike normal German practice, there are posthumous awards. The Prince was, well, a Prince, and not only personally saw to it that awards got to next of kin of recipients who had died "in process"-- he also made awards to people who were already long dead. And he was remarkably generous about issuing replacement pieces--in one case TWICE, and in another to a recipient who had only had it a matter of days when it was "destroyed by an enemy shell splinter." Saved the officer's life, though. One replacement was given out in 1947-- yup, 1947. Makes you wonder where he was WEARING that, then!

Another oddity is that awards continued FOR the war long afterwards-- into the early 1930s. It is thus possible that some "slipped through the cracks" and were never recorded at all, since award documents, strangely, were never given out. The young Prince withdrew ten 2bX classes to hand out at his future discretion in 1928...

so who knows how many were made, and issued post-1932? Very few were noted as returned after the recipients' deaths.

So, next up: the Merit Crosses X and Gold Medals X... and the notation for the guy who lost wearing privilieges for 5 years in 1936 after being convicted of embezzlement! :rolleyes:

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I've noticed through various postings on the forum that there seems to be a lot of concern with the fact that some of these house orders were awarded AFTER 1918. All of these house orders, technically still exist and the heads of the various houses can still award them if they wish. I don't know if the F?rst von Hohenzollern has awarded any in modern times, but he certainly has the power since it is a house order, not a state order. There are some non-reigning European royal houses that still award their various house orders (i.e. Constantinian St. George [bourbon Two Sicilies], Sts. Maurice and Lazarus [italy], Golden Fleece [Austria], Saint Stephen [Tuscany], and others.) I know some guys who are members of some of these orders.

The International Commission on Orders of Chivalry (http://www.icocregister.org/list2004.htm) lists all of these orders as currently existing orders. Some may be awarded only to family members, some may not be awarded at all, but I know some are awarded to outsiders for various reasons.

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Mike: I agree, certainly within the purview of an legitimate Head of a (formerly) Reigning House to hand things out... though none would be "recognized" by existing governments.

So far the last award for 1914-18 that I have found was made in 1931. I would regard that as legitimate-- after all, I got my own grandfather's WW1 Victory Medal in 1977!!

But it DOES throw the numbers off. My late friend Neal O'Connor, for instance, dismissed the post 11/11/18 awards out of hand. Well, Iron Crosses were bestowed as late as 1924, so that kind of "processing" slack is warranted.

Thanks to Daniel Krause for pointing out ONE more that missed getting written in the Roll, but which was published at the time and shows in the 1916 Bavarian Rank List--

so 947, not 946 He3bXs! :beer:

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Just finished the Merit Crosses X on my "day off" (THAT was easy-- 5 words of advice: BUY ANY YOU FIND, N-O-W) and found the Non Roll HE3bX guy erroneously listed among the Silver Merit Cross X recipients (DEDUCT that one from the total, oho! :rolleyes: )

Monday: on to the Gold Medals X! Being unable to FIND missing first names of NCOs, things should progress rapidly without the backtracking and source flipping that slowed doing the officers--still some holes there being assiduously worked on by mes compadres. :beer: Might even be done after two solid days typing by Tuesday night. That'll have been what amounts to a full work week (assuming that I was getting paid for any of this) for Hohenzollern. Add in the time and effort of my two "sub-contractors" :rolleyes: and you will see that "free research" is NOT at all "free" for those of us who actually DO it. :ninja:

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How do you recognize Awards Rolls Transcribers in public?


The vacant stares, hunched posture, negflected personal hygiene and most of all, the bleeding fingers.

Hohenzollern, down to the gold medals is DONE. I award myself one day off, and then ON to Sachsen-Coburg.

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Coburg is going to be a tougher slog than I thought just flipping the hundreds of pages--

the "neat" roll is so microscopically tiny that the pages literally need to be read with a magnifying glass. Doing THAT rather gets in the way of typing. The "messy" roll was obviously written by a 14th century PRE-Sutterlin dungeon dweller. Hard to tell what is up and what is down, and even when the two rolls overlap (no, they do not match, and must be combined, quadrupling the work "per piece") I very often can only make out the names by matching the dates and unit numbers.

And this is one of the GOOD ones!!! :speechless1:

A day's labor has turned out this, so far for the Saxe-Coburg version of the Ernestine House Order--

Awards "with Year Dates," each class completed for the entire war:

Grand Cross with Star: 2

Commander with Star: 3

Commander: 26

Knight 1st: 52 (deducting 1 withheld since the recipient had died before receiving the Order, another 1 which was turned back in when the same class with Xs was bestowed, and 2 turned in when Commander grades were received) = 48

Knight 2nd: 74 (deducting 6 returned when the same grade with Swords was bestowed) = 68

Merit Crosses = 22

A rough count shows

Gold Medals = 79

Silver Medals = 144

and those will be done next.

As far as "normal" X awards go, from the "good" list which is numbered consecutively (the bad one varies from no numbers at all to using the same numbers over and over on every page by line :banger: )

Grand Cross Star to Royals = 7

Grand Cross Star with Xs = 29

Commander with Star Xs = 28

Commander X = 212

Knight 1st X = 460

Knight 2nd X = 1,069

Merit Cross X = 251

Gold Medal X = 828

and somebody else will have to do this one, because 1917 is missing--

Silver Medal X = 3,118 to when the pages cease 30.1.17, and at least 2,000 more when they resume (unnumbered) 2 January 1918. :speechless1::speechless1:

Carl Eduard Medal 1st X = 1

Carl Eduard Medal 2 X = 349

Carl Eduard Medal with Year Dates = 10

One unepxected thing to come out of the "with Year Dates" lists is that BESTOWAL date did NOT match with the years chosen to go on the piece-- not just from being processed over New Year's or something like that. In several cases, YEARS went by and the years specified bore no relation to WHEN the decoration was awarded. So an Order with "1914 1916" on it MIGHT actually have bee given out... in 1918. At least the messy roll specifies the actual dates.

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