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

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United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.

United States
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Record Description
Record Type Draft Registration Records
Record Group RG 163: Records of the Selective Service System (World War I)492
Collection years 1917-1918
Microfilm Publication M1509. World War I Selective Service Draft Registration Cards. 4,277 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 572850
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What Is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

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. Classifications lists, induction notices, docket books and other records of the local boards will be located at NARA Regional Archives in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Fort worth, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. See the collection inventory tables below for more information.

Related Publications[edit | edit source]

National Archives Record Group 163[edit | edit source]

National Archives Catalog

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

Collection Inventory Tables[edit | edit source]

Additional records of the Selective Service will be found at the National Archives and the National Archives regional centers.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

World War I had 3 different draft registrations. Each registration was slightly different. The following information may be found in these records:

  • 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

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

Sample Draft Registration Cards

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the soldier
  • The county and state of residence for the soldier
  • The age of the soldier at the time of the draft:
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 Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Collection Browse Page:
  1. Select State
  2. Select Local Draft Board to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • 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 name of the nearest relative and residence to look for additional records about the registrant and his family such as census, and church records
  • You will want to determine if your ancestor or relative served in the military during the war. Obituaries, cemetery records, discharges, membership in the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars may identify the military unit or dates of service.The 1930 census may also identify veterans. Other records at the National Archives from the Selective Service include classification lists, and lists of men ordered to report to local boards for induction. Discharge records may also be helpful

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the names
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties and states
  • Check with the National Archives at St. Louis
  • 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
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the United States.

Additional World War I State Collections Online

Other FamilySearch Collections[edit | edit source]

These collections may have additional materials to help you with your research.

FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch Historical Records[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch Digital Library[edit | edit source]

Soldiers of the Great War
This series is arranged alphabetically by state. Each volume gives name, rank and residence. The volumes contain photographs of soldiers and list of casualties. The following abbreviations are used: K.A. - Killed in Action; D.D. - Died of Disease; D.W. - Died of Wounds; D.A. - Died of Accident; and W.A. - Wounded in Action.

Known Issues[edit | edit source]

Click here for a list of known issues with this collection.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

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Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
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Image Citation:
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