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Franco-Prussian War

Franco-Prussian War

Posted: 11 Aug 2010 4:29AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Klee
I see that the question has been asked several times and I am wondering if anyone knows how to find the record of a family member who fought in the Franco-Prussian war on the French Side? We have a medal and believe that it was given to my gggGrandfather Michel Klee but have no proof.

Thank you

Re: Franco-Prussian War

Posted: 11 Aug 2010 4:19PM GMT
Classification: Query
It would be nice to know what is this medal, its marking or its design, date, etc... can you publish its picture?

Re: Franco-Prussian War

Posted: 11 Aug 2010 4:47PM GMT
Classification: Query
My grandmother had this medal and now my mother has it. According to my grandmother, it belonged to her father, Michel Klee, b. 1845. I have attached two images of the medal - front and back

This is information I found on line about the the medal:

The Franco-Prussian War Medal 1870-1871.
(Medaille de 1870-1871)

Instituted in November 1911 for award to those with service in the Franco-Prussian War, July 1870 to February 1871. The medal was awarded to participants who held the combatants certificate, of which it is believed 150,000 existed.

Description: bronze medal, obverse depicts the helmeted effigy of 'la Republique', and in the lower left quadrant the designers signature "Georges Lemaire". Reverse shows (below the dates 1870-1871) a trophy of arms with Flag, and a tablet inscribed "Aux Defenseurs de la Patrie." Three types exist: 30 mm diameter, a larger version at 36 mm, and an uncommon silver variant. A ribbon bar is found for men who voluntarily enlisted, inscribed "Engage Volontaire" .

Ribbon: green with four black vertical stripes.

Re: Franco-Prussian War

Posted: 12 Aug 2010 6:07PM GMT
Classification: Query
This medal is what the French call "Médaille commémorative” i.e., medal given to every participant of a particular campaign or war. However, it may be a clue as to the existence of a pension, that is, a trace in the records. For a long time the medal was given without accompanying paper certificate. I am not sure about the rules of attribution for this war; however, after one loses a war, this kind of decoration are given long after the battles has ended as recognition or "thanks" and a possible pension (such was the case with the Napoleonic wars veterans!).
Regrettably, the Mémoire des Hommes official site ( in Paris, is not covering the Franco-Prussian war. Specialized history war associations exist that could help you. If your ancestor was not an officer, i.e., not in the rolls at the Vincennes Army archives, inquire at his place of birth.
As I note the name KLEE, I suspect the soldier was from Alsace or Loraine and, like so many, may have left the motherland after the German took over. For location of possible places of birth, visit and do some statistics for probable birth locations listing the name. Reading French as well as German would be most helpful when digging into the Alsatian records but the Geneanet site is multilingual.
Good luck.

Re: Franco-Prussian War

Posted: 13 Aug 2010 5:22PM GMT
Classification: Query
I confirm Gaselen's info, plus on the Service historique de la Défense's website ( ) there's some info (in French, of course) about how to find the track of a soldier:
Another way could be to see if there's a special file about him getting the Médaille Commémorative. If so, it seems this file would be in the Service historique de la Défense, as mentioned here:
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