Hello there, Here is my info on WWI draft registration cards. Please be advised that some of this info is the property of others and is being used for nonprofit purposes.
World War I Draft Registration Cards ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ by Warren Blatt INTRODUCTION: Over twenty-four million men registered for the draft for the First World War in 1917 and 1918. There were three draft registrations, which eventually included all men (whether native born, naturalized, or alien) between the ages of 18 and 45. One unique feature of these records is that they contain the exact place of birth -- town/village, county/province, state/nation -- for registrants born between June 6, 1886 and August 28, 1897 (those aged 21-31 who registered in the 1st or 2nd drafts, about 45% of the total). This may be the ONLY source for determining the town of origin of someone who was never naturalized, or someone who was naturalized via their father's papers before 1906. THREE REGISTRATIONS: During World War I there were three registrations: 1 - The first, on June 5, 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31. 2 - The second, on June 5, 1918, registered those who attained age 21 after June 5, 1917. (A supplemental registration was held on August 24, 1918 for those becoming 21 years old after June 5, 1918. This was included in the second registration.) 3 - The third registration was held on September 12, 1918 for men aged 18 through 45. At each of the three registrations, a different form was used, with a slight variation of questions asked. All three registrations include full name, home address, exact date of birth, age in years, occupation, name and address of employer, citizenship status, citizen of what country, race, eye color, hair color, height, build, city/county and state of the local draft board, date of registration, and signature of applicant (some in Yiddish!). At the first registration, the following additional information was recorded: exact birthplace, dependents, marital status, previous military service, and grounds for exemption. At the second registration, the following were also recorded: exact birthplace, nearest relative and address, and father's birthplace. At the third registration, for men aged 18-21 and 31-45 (born between September 13, 1873 and September 12, 1900), the name and address of nearest relative were also recorded. Although the 2nd and 3rd drafts ask for name and address of nearest relative, they don't specify what the relationship is. Note that the third registration did NOT request birthplace. The registration cards consist of 24.2 million cards of men who registered for the draft (about 23% of the American population in 1918). ARRANGEMENT: The records are arranged alphabetically by the name of the state; thereunder alphabetically by name of the county or city; thereunder by draft board (for large cities); thereunder alphabetically by the names of registrants. For those in rural areas, one should be able to find a registrant's card by knowing his name and the county in which he registered. In large cities and in some large counties, the search can be more difficult -- knowing a street address is usually necessary to determine the correct draft board. For instance, there were 189 local boards in New York City, 86 in Chicago, and 25 in Boston. (See "Finding Aids" below). AVAILABILITY: The original draft registration cards are stored at the National Archives - Southeast Region near Atlanta. These records are currently being microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah (The Mormons) for the National Archives. Since 1987, they have filmed states A-S alphabetically (plus Wisconsin), over 3,500 reels of microfilm thus far. They will soon complete the remaining states, T-W, and the resulting series will comprise National Archives Microfilm Publication M1509. These microfilms are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and are thus available for borrowing through all local Family History Centers. The films are also available at the National Archives in Washington, and the twelve Regional Archives will receive the films for the states corresponding to their regions as filming proceeds. HOW TO ACCESS: You currently have two avenues to access these records: either from the National Archives - Southeast Region, or via the Mormon Family History Centers. To have the National Archives staff search these records for you, get a "World War I Registration Card Request" form, or send a letter to: National Archives - Southeast Region 1557 St. Joseph Avenue East Point, GA 30344 (404) 763-7477 Enclose a check for $10.00 for each request payable to "National Archives Trust Fund"; they will return your check if the record is not found. For each card requested, supply the full name, approximate date of birth, and the place of residence when he registered. >A street address is required for urban areas< The response time is about two weeks. Alternately, you can search the records yourself, by borrowing microfilms through LDS Family History Centers. You can find the microfilm numbers in the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) microfiche, in the Locality section under the heading "UNITED STATES - MILITARY RECORDS - WORLD WAR, 1914-1918", or on the FamilySearch computer CD-ROM under number 504818. DETERMINING STREET ADDRESS: Since large cities were comprised of many local draft boards, you must know the registrant's street address in 1917/1918 for an effective search. To determine someone's street address, you can use one of several sources. City Directories are the most reliable, and can be found at most large public libraries, and through all LDS Family History Centers (see the FHLC Locality section under the headings "[State], [County], [City] - DIRECTORIES" or "UNITED STATES - DIRECTORIES" for larger cities). Alternate sources are contemporary records which contain street addresses, such as birth, marriage and death records, wills, naturalization records and passenger lists. You can also use the address found in the 1920 Census, assuming that the family didn't move in the prior 2-3 years. FINDING AIDS: For several cities with a large number of draft boards, there are maps showing the draft board boundaries. These have been microfilmed by the Mormons on FHL film #1,498,803. The cities on this film are: Albany, NY (4) Louisville, KY (7) Allegheny Cty, PA (18) Los Angeles, CA (18) Atlanta, GA (7) Luzerne County, PA Baltimore, MD (24) Milwaukee, WI (15) Birmingham, AL (6) Minneapolis, MN (13) Boston, MA (25) New Orleans, LA (13) Bridgeport, CT (6) New Haven, CT (6) Buffalo, NY (16) New York, NY (189) Dallas, TX Newark, NJ (14) Denver, CO (9) Philadelphia, PA (51) Chicago, IL (86) Pittsburgh, PA (8) Cleveland, OH (18) Rochester, NY (8) Cincinnati, OH (10) San Diego, CA (2) Washington, DC (11) St. Paul, MN (11) Hartford, CT (3) Schenectady, NY (4) Indianapolis, IN (10) Seattle, WA Jersey City, NJ (10) Syracuse, NY (5) Kansas City, KS (4) Toledo, OH (6) The number in parenthesis following the name is the number of local draft boards in that city. Some of these maps show the boundaries of the draft boards, while others are just street and road maps which are helpful to some degree. Some are discolored or faded from age, and can be difficult to use. Warren Blatt (firstname.lastname@example.org) Boston, MA November, 1994
Sample letter request James Gross xxx My street Cherry Hill,N.J. zip / /94 National Archives,SE Region 1557 St. Josephs Ave East Point,Ga 30344 Dear Sirs, I would like you to search your files for WWI Draft Registration cards for the individuals listed below.. I understand that there is a charge of $10.00 per located card. I am therefore enclosing __ checks, each for the amount of $10.00 each. Please return the checks for any unfound files. I appreciate your efforts in regard to my family tree. James Gross LOOK UP: 1. ______________________ DOB_________________ Residence______________________________________
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 22:14:52 EST From: SMSDIAMOND
Subject: World War I Draft Registration Index Ancestry Inc. adds new material on a regular basis. Some new ones this week are listed below. Each new database is available free for ten days before a subscription is necessary. I found the World War I Draft Registration Index of particular value and I believe it is the one new one which may be of greatest interest to Jewish genealogists. * The World War I Draft Registration Index Posted January 22nd. Description: In 1917 and 1918, approximately 24 million men, (98% of men present in America), born between 1873 and 1900 completed draft registration cards. This civilian registration is often confused with induction into the military; however, a minority of those civilian men who registered were actually ever called up for military service. During these two years, three registration days were held in which the registrants completed a registration card that generally included, among other information: birth date, birth location, father's birth location, and the address of next of kin. It should be noted that aliens were required to register but were not subject to induction into the American military. Persons already in the military did not register. NOTE: This database represents approximately 8.5% of all counties nationwide, with complete coverage of Alaska, Delaware, Idaho and Nevada, and a good representation from California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas and Utah. (Note from Poster: I found many Manhatten and Brooklyn listings.) Bibliography: Banks, Ray. World War I Civilian Draft Registrations, Salt Lake City, UT, 1995-. (Note from James Gross: I found very few NYC listings)