United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 .
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What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of an 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 was held on June 5,1918, for men who had turned 21 since the first registration, and the third was held on September 12, 1918, for men between the ages of 18 and 45.

The registration includes cards for 24,000,000 men. Approximately 2,800,000 men were inducted into military service.The cards are arranged by state, by city or county, by local draft board, and then alphabetically by surname. The draft registration cards are part of Record Group 163: Records of the Selective Service System (World War I),1917-1939, NARA microfilm publication M1509.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

Collection Content

'World War I had 3 different draft registrations. Each registration was slightly different. The details are itemized with the images shown above. However, they generally included the following information:

  • Name
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • 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
  • Address

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • Name
  • Residence
  • Age -- 1st Registration (5 June 1917): men born 5 June 1886 to 5 June 1896
    2nd Registration (5 June 1918): men born 6 June 1896 to 5 June 1897
    3rd Registration (12 September 1918): for men born 12 September 1873 to 12 September 1900

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name:
Fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

To browse by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒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 each image. Again you will need to compare the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor.

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.

For tips about searching on-line collections, see the wiki article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

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.

What if I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties and states.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

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 Email. 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.


Related Digital Books

Soldiers of the Great War Casualties. The volumes are arranged alphabetically by state. Within each state the entries are broken down in the following order. First are photographs of soldiers averaging twenty per page. Next are the casualties arranged by Killed in Action; Died of Disease; Died of Wounds; Died of Accident; and Wounded in Action. For each soldier the volumes give name, rank and residence.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"United States, World War One Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Citing NARA microfilm publication M1509. Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.