United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States

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United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Index)  and United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Image Browse).
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
United States flag.png
Flag of the United States of America
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Draft Registration Cards
Record Group RG 147: Records of the Selective Service System
Collection years 1942
National Archives Identifier 476 59923
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What is in This Collection?

This article describes multiple collections of the fourth World War II draft registration of men age 45-64 (born 1877-1897). The draft was conducted on April 27, 1942. This collection is part of National Archives Record Group 147, Records of the Selective Service System, 1940-.

The collection United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Index) contains an index and images of the registration cards. The collection United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Image Browse) contains only images of the registration cards. The images are arranged by state, surname letter and the first name in the browse string. Index and images for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington are courtesy of Ancestry.com.

Collection Content

Sample Image

After the United States entered World War II, a new Selective Service Act required that all men between the ages of 18 and 64 register for the draft. The fourth draft registration covered males ages 45 to 64. The local draft board of the Selective Service System conducted the registration. The original registration cards were later sent to the regional branch of the National Archives responsible for receiving records from that state. Draft registration cards exist for 40 states and for Puerto Rico. For New York, cards exist only for the boroughs of New York City.

The draft registration cards are preprinted forms with information recorded on the front and back. Cards for the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were filmed with the front of one card on the same image as the back of the next card in the sequence. The cards for the following eight states were destroyed:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

These records cover about 10 percent of the population.

The draft registration, called the Fourth Registration, or Old Man’s Registration, was held on April 27, 1942. The purpose of this registration was to collect information on industrial capacity and skills of men who were born between April 27, 1877 and February 16, 1897 (ages 45 to 64). This draft registration was not intended to be used for military service but to provide a complete inventory of manpower resources in the United States that could be utilized for national service during World War II.

Information on the cards was supplied by the individual but recorded by a registrar. While there was a chance of a recording error, each individual signed his card to attest that the information was correct.

While the cards were created on April 27, 1942, they pertain to men born on or between April 27, 1877, and February 16, 1897.

Coverage Table

Links in the Locality field are to entries in the National Archives Catalog.

Locality Index Image Browse
Alaska X
Arkansas X
California X
Connecticut X
Delaware X X
Idaho X
Illinois X X
Indiana X X
Louisiana X
Maryland X X
Massachusetts X X
Michigan X
Nevada X
New Hampshire X X
New Jersey X
New York, Bronx X X
New York, Brooklyn X
New York, Kings X
New York, Manhattan X X
New York, Queens X X
New York, Staten Island X X
Ohio X X
Oklahoma X
Oregon X
Pennsylvania X X
Puerto Rico X X
Rhode Island X X
Texas X
Vermont X X
Virginia X X
Washington X
West Virginia X X
Wisconsin X X

Digital Folder Number List

This collection was published as a DGS browse collection. A table listing each DGS number and its contents can be found at United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 Digital Folder Number List. The table can be sorted by DGS number, GS number (microfilm number), the state where the registration took place, the title of the collection as it appears in the FamilySearch Catalog with a link to the record, a sequence number (SEQ) which represents the order in which the film note appears in the FamilySearch Catalog record, and the Film Note describing the contents of the DGS image folder.

What Can This Collection Tell Me?

Information on the registration cards includes:

  • Serial number
  • Name
  • Residence
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace (town or city, county, state or country)
  • Age
  • Mailing address
  • Name and address of person who will always know registrant’s address
  • Employer’s name and address
  • Race

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the person registering for the draft.
  • The birth date and birth place of the person.
  • The state and county of residence for the registrant.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial page
⇒Select the "State" category
⇒Select the "Surname Letter" category
⇒Select the “Name" category which takes you to the images

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search keep in mind:

  • 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.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s World War II Draft Registration record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Download a copy of the record, or extract the genealogical information needed. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the birth date and place to obtain a birth certificate.
  • Use the names and residences to find the registrant and his family in census, church, and land records.
  • Continue to search the cards to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may also have registered.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • For details about another index to these records, see the wiki article United States, World War II Draft Registrations (FamilySearch Historical Records).

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the cards of nearby states.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals with the same family number.

Known Issues With This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered..

Citing This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation

"United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing NARA microfilm. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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