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World War I Selective Service System draft registration cards, 1917-1918

World War I Selective Service System draft registration cards, 1917-1918
Manuscript/Manuscript on Film
Washington, D.C. : National Archives & Records Administration, 1987-1988
4,346 microfilm reels ; 16 mm.
National Archives microfilm publications; M1509


United States World War I Draft Registration Cards are available online, click here.

Microfilm of original records in The National Archives in East Point, Georgia.

High reduction (32x) film. Use a high reduction reader.

Occasionally while filming, lost cards would be found. If these cards were found, they would be filmed after the Z's of the locality they belonged to.

The alphabetical arrangement of cards for Van Buren County, Arkansas (G.S. film no. 1530648) is out of sequence. The letters K, L and M repeat themselves in several places.

"On May 18, 1917 the Selective Service Act was passed authorizing the President to increase temporarily the military establishment of the United States. The Selective Service System, under the office of the Provost Marshal General, was responsible for the process of selecting men for induction into the military service, from the initial registration to the actual delivery of men to military training camps"--Introd.

"Local boards were established for each county or similar subdivision in each state, and for each 30,000 persons (approximately) in each city or county with a population over 30,000. The local boards were charged with the registration, determination of order and serial numbers, classification, call and entrainment of draftees"--Introd.

"During World War I there were three registrations. The first, on June 5, 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31. 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.) The third registration was held on September 12, 1918 for men age 18 through 45"--Introd.

This is the cover record for an analytic set. Draft registration cards are also listed separately under each state or territory of the United States. See entry in the Locality Catalog under: (State) - Military records - World War, 1914-1918. In the Author/Title catalog, see entry under: United States. Selective Service System. (State), World War I Selective Service System draft registration cards, 1917-1918.

"The information included on each registration differs somewhat but the general information shown includes order and serial numbers (assigned by the Selective Service System), full name, date and place of birth, race, citizenship, occupation, personal description, and signature"--Introd.

"The registration cards consist of approximately 24,000,000 cards of men who registered for the draft, (about 23 of the population in 1918). It is important to note that not all of the men who registered for the draft actually served in the military and not all men who served in the military registered for the draft. Moreover, these are not military service records. They end when an individual reports to the army training camp. They contain no information about an individual's military service"--Introd.

"The records are arranged alphabetically by state, followed by Puerto Rico; thereunder alphabetically by county or city (except for Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island which are alphabetically by the names of registrants:--Introd. The title boards on the films for Rhode Island are incorrect.

"In rural areas one should be able to find a registant's card knowing his name and the county in which he registered. In large cities and in some larger counties the search could be more difficult. In New York City, for instance, there were 189 local boards"--Introd.

For larger cities or counties, there may be many draft boards within the same geographic area. Researchers may need to consult a 1917 city directory to determine the address of an individual from the following cities or counties: Albany, NY; Milwaukee, WI; Atlanta, GA; Minneapolis, MN; Baltimore, MD; Newark, NJ; Boston, MA; New Orleans, LA; Buffalo, NY; New York City, NY; Chicago, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Cincinnati, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; Cleveland, OH; Providence, RI; Indianapolis, IN; St. Louis, MO; Jersey City, NJ; St. Paul, MN; Kansas City, MO; San Francisco, CA; Los Angelos, CA; Seattle, WA; Louisville, KY; Syracuse, NY; Luzerne County, PA; Washington, DC

The cards are arranged in a rough alphabetical order by surname.


Library of Congress Subjects


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Film/Digital Notes

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