United States World War II Draft Records
On 16 September 1940, President Roosevelt signed into law the first peacetime Selective Service Act. During WWII, the Selective Service System conducted six draft registrations; these records are held collectively in two groupings at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, MO.
The first group contains records from the 4th Registration for those men whose year of birth was from April 28, 1877 to February 16, 1897. The "World War II Selective Service Draft Cards: Fourth Registration, 1942" is often referred to as the “Old Man’s Registration” or the “Old Man’s Draft". The second group contains the Selective Service Records of the remainder of the WWII registrants, born from February 17, 1897 to July 31, 1927.
Since there is overlap in the WWI and WWII Selective Service registration, men born in the years 1877 to 1900 may have registered twice and have both WWII and WWI draft records.
Information in a Draft Record
For men who registered for the draft prior to 1976, the only Selective Service System information available is that of the individual Draft Registration Card (SSS Form 1) and Classification History (SSS Form 102) records.
All other individual draftee files from that period were destroyed by the Selective Service System in 1978, in accordance with approved records retention schedules. Physical examination and test results, medical letters, laboratory work and other medical documentation that may have been included in these files no longer exist.
The individual Draft Registration Card (SSS Form 1) may contain information such as: name, Selective Service registration number, age, date and place of birth, ethnicity, place of residence at time of registration and basic physical description.
The Classification History (SSS Form 102) may contain: name; date of birth; classification and date of mailing notice; date of appeal to the board; date and results of armed forces physical examination; entry into active duty or civilian work in lieu of induction (may include date, branch of service entered and mode of entry, such as enlisted or ordered); date of separation from active duty or civilian work; and general remarks.
Fourth Registration (Old Man's Draft)
Included men with a date of birth from April 28, 1877 to February 16, 1897.
On April 27, 1942, the Selective Service conducted the fourth of six draft registrations. The "World War II Selective Service Draft Cards: Fourth Registration, 1942" is often referred to as the “Old Man’s Registration” or the “Old Man’s Draft".
This regsitration was different from the others conducted by the government. It's sole purpose was to gather information regarding manpower resources in the United States. The registration included men born between 27 April 1877 and 16 February 1890 - ages 45 to 64 - and listed their industrial capacity and skills that could be used for military support during World War II.
See a description of the Fourth Registration Draft Cards from the National Archives at draft-cards-fourth-registration.pdf.
The fourth registration cards for the following eight Southeastern states were destroyed. These records cover about 10 percent of the population.
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Where to Find the Records
- U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Ancestry) ($) - see list of states included at the bottom of the page below the search field.
FamilySearch (two collections)
- United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Image Browse) (FamilySearch) - see a list of states included by clicking browse on the page.
- United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (images with partial index) (FamilySearch) - see a list of states included on the search page.
- A Wiki article describing these two collections is found at:
- Check with your local library to see if they have draft records for your area.
First through Third, Fifth and Sixth Registrations
Included men with a date of birth from February 17, 1897 to July 31, 1927.
Where to Find the Records
Copies of draft cards for men born before 1960 can be obtained by mailing a request to:
National Archives and Records Administration
ATTN: Archival Programs
P.O. Box 28989
St. Louis, MO 63132-0989
No Proof of kinship is needed; however, you will need to provide proof of death in the form of an obituary, a death certificate, or similar document.
NARA's website also has ordering information.
Wiki articles describing online collections is found at:
- Louisiana, First Registration Draft Cards (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Louisiana Second Registration Draft Cards (FamilySearch Historical Records)