The Gross-Steinberg Family Tree presents:

WWI Draft Registration Cards

by James Gross

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


    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.


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).


    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).


    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.


    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
the FamilySearch computer CD-ROM under number 504818.


    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.


    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   (
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


1. ______________________



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)

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