United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 .
Draft registration records were created to determine eligibility for military service. This collection consists of a name index and images of draft registration cards for World War I. Three registrations were conducted between 1917 and 1918 The first was held on June 5,1917 for men between the ages of 21 and 31. The second, June 5,1918 for men 21 since the first registration and a third on September 12,1918 for men between 18 and 45. The registration includes cards for 24,000,000 men. The cards are arranged by state, by city or county, by local draft board, then alphabetical by surname.The draft registartion cards are apart of Record Group 163 Records of the Selective Service System (World War I),1917-1939 and is NARA microfilm publication M1509.
For a list of records by localities currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
World War I had 3 differenct draft registrations. Each registration was slightly different. The detail are itemized with the images shown above. However, they generally included the following information:
- Birth date
- Draft registration date
- Sometimes, father’s birthplace
- Name of nearest relative
- Age in years
- Sex is implied, since all registrants were males
- Marital status
- List of any dependents
How to Use the Record
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
Search the Collection
To search the collection by name, Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches.
To search the collection image by image,
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the "State"
⇒Select the "Local Draft Board" which takes you to the images.
Look at the entries in the list or possible matches or the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example:
- Use these records to learn the date and place of birth. The information could also be used to search for a birth record and for information on parents and siblings. This is the best source of birth information for men born in states where birth registration began late.
- Use the names of spouse, dependents, and residence to look for additional records about the registrant and his family such as census, church, and land records .
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Look for variant spellings of the names.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties and states.
Known Issues with This Collection
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
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Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- Selective Service System. "United States, World War One Draft Registration Cards." NARA microfilm publication number M1509. National Archives and Records Administration, East Point, Georgia : n.d.