United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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The draft registration cards are preprinted forms with information recorded on the front and back. Cards for the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were filmed with the front of one card on the same image as the back of the next card in the sequence.
After the United States entered World War II, a new Selective Service Act required that all men between the ages of 18 and 64 register for the draft. The fourth draft registration covered males ages 45 to 64. The local draft board of the Selective Service System conducted the registration. The original registration cards were later sent to the regional branch of the National Archives responsible for receiving records from that state. Draft registration cards exist for 40 states and for Puerto Rico. For New York, cards exist only for the boroughs of New York City.
The cards for the following eight states were destroyed:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
These records cover about 10 percent of the population.
This draft registration, called the Fourth Registration, or Old Man’s Registration, was held on April 27, 1942. The purpose of this registration was to collect information on industrial capacity and skills of men who were born between April 27, 1877 and February 16, 1897 (ages 45 to 64). This draft registration was not intended to be used for military service but to provide a complete inventory of manpower resources in the United States that could be utilized for national service during World War II.
Information on the cards was supplied by the individual but recorded by a registrar. While there was a chance of a recording error, each individual signed his card to attest that the information was correct.
While the cards were created on April 27, 1942, they pertain to men born on or between April 27, 1877, and February 16, 1897.
For a list of records by localities currently published in the United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Image Browse) collection, select the Browse.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, or archive for the original records.
- "United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Image Browse)." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013.
Genealogical information on the registration cards includes:
- Serial number
- Birth date
- Birthplace (town or city, county, state or country)
- Mailing address
- Name and address of person who will always know registrant’s address
- Employer’s name and address
How to Use the Records
To begin your search it is helpful to know the name and some other identifying information such as the birth place, birth date or residence.
Search the Collection "United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942"
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.
Be aware that with either search 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.
- If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
- Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
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Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Download a copy of the record, or extract the genealogical information needed. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors. The following examples show ways you can use the information:
- Use the birth date and place to obtain a birth certificate.
- Use the names and residences to find the registrant and his family in census, church, and land records.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- Continue to search the cards to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may also have registered.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
- Search the cards of nearby states.
- Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals with the same family number.
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Related Wiki Articles
- United States Military Records
- World War II United States Military Records, 1941 to 1945
- United States World War II Draft Records
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should 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 Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942" index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V481-FX1 : accessed 19 June 2012). entry for Louis Rossi, Price, Carbon, Utah, born 19 March 1881; citing World War II Records, FHL microfilm 4,161,427; National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., United States.