How to Apply for a Civil War Medal
at the
West Virginia State Archives

Many heirs of West Virginia Union veterans of the Civil War may be eligible to claim medals struck to honor their ancestors years ago. Most of the medals were claimed by the veterans themselves, their immediate families, or their descendants, but several thousand medals remain unclaimed. A list of the unclaimed medals is available in the Archives and History Library and on its website.

To claim an ancestor's medal, a claimant must submit his or her line of descent from the veteran along with documentation to support this line of descent. To establish line of descent, claimants must include copies of primary sources, including birth, death, marriage, will, deed, military, census, Bible records, etc. Old letters, diaries, marriage announcements, or obituaries may also prove helpful in supporting a descendant's claim. Please note that a family chart submitted without primary source documentation is not sufficient. At this time, we do not accept DNA testing documentation.

The claimant who establishes the most direct relationship to the veteran will be awarded the ancestor's medal six months from the date the fully documented claim is received by Archives and History. The purpose of the six-month waiting period is to allow for sufficient verification of the descendant's claim and for submission of counterclaim(s) by other potential descendant(s). In the case of equal claims, the descendant whose claim was received first will be awarded the medal.

To submit a claim for a remaining medal, please submit the application form with appropriate documentation and a fifty dollar ($50.00) non-refundable fee to:

Archives and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Boulevard E.
Charleston, WV 25305-0300

Medal claims may only be submitted by mail or hand-delivered in person. None will be accepted via e-mail or fax.

Civil War Medals

West Virginia Archives and History