Confirming Purple Heart recipient

+5 votes

When building profile for Van Hinton Porter, his Find-a-Grave headstone says "Purple Heart". However, I cannot confirm through any other source. Any suggestions where I can confirm this?

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WikiTree profile: Van Porter
in Genealogy Help by Amy Barlow G2G6 (7.8k points)

1 Answer

+9 votes
Best answer

Most of the sites you are searching (Traces of War and The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor) rely on supporting documentation to be submitted by family, friends, or public records. In both cases, they are a starting point to verify what has already been submitted, but are in no way complete. For World War II, you would be looking for WD AGO 53-55 and would not to submit a SF180 to request copies from NARA...

However, I would say that Van Hinton's Purple Heart can be confirmed without anything more than his Hospital Admission Card stating his injuries. The Purple Heart was awarded "to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 5, 1917, with the U.S. military." It was not a 'recommended' award, and was entitled to those who met the criteria (which he did).

So knowing that Rev. Porter met the condition, and that all contemporary sources mention him having the award, you can be reasonably certain he was in fact awarded the medal.

by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (611k points)
selected by SJ Baty
Great points Steve.  Amy, you need to also consider that a big fire in the 1960's burned up many (most?) of the World War II servicemember records and a lot of document reconstruction had to be done via unit records, division or ship records, and medical records.
Was that the fire at NPRC in '73 or another fire?

It is such a shame we have lost so many valuable genealogical records to fire and other disasters, like the Commerce Department Building in January 1921 that messed us all up on the 1890 US Census, the 1922 explosion in Ireland at the Public Record Office (that destroyed TONS of Irish records), and some that hurt my personal research quite a bit, like the Liberty County Courthouse destruction in 1872 and the Galveston Courthouse that was destroyed by a Hurricane in 1900.
THANK YOU! After reading through the military records I assumed. But.... we all know where "assuming" gets us ;-). Today I learned about Purple Hearts being awarded so a HUGE thank you for that.
SJ, They tried to tell me that Dad's burnt in that fire too but I told them that they didn't, that in 1987 his sister got his discharge papers from the VA and sent them to us so we could claim his flag after he passed away.  So they kept looking and they finally found them, they had his name spelled incorrectly.  I didn't notice the incorrect spelling of his name until I went to request a copy of his medals that had gotten destroyed over the years.

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