Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Searching the World War II Young Men's Draft Database on Ancestry.com

When you are mining a database, you often find a lot more information than just the record you are mining, at least if you are doing it on Ancestry.com.

Ancestry.com recently updated their database for U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947.   The collection description includes:
"This database contains images and indexes for registration cards filled out by men born between the years of 1898 and 1929 from Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina. The following states are also found in the index with a link to the images available on Fold3:
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Maryland
  • New Mexico
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming
  • District of Columbia
  • Virgin Islands
More cards will be added from other states as they become available. The cards are potentially valuable sources of genealogical and family information, with details that can include:
  • name
  • serial number
  • address (some ask for mailing address as well)
  • telephone
  • age
  • place of birth
  • country of citizenship
  • employer’s name
  • place of employment (address)
  • name and address of person who will always know registrant’s address, relationship to registrant
  • description: race, eyes, weight, complexion, hair
  • year of registration"
I decided to see how many Seaver entries there were in this database.  I searched for the exact name and found that there were 89:

I have worked my way down 15 of them in the last two hours, adding content and source citations as I go one at a time.  I have found that only 2 of those 15 were not in my RootsMagic database, but I didn't have a birth date for several of the 13.

The last one I worked on was William Blake Seaver, born in Tennessee in 1902:

I tried to click through to see the registration card image, but it never went through.

I logged into Fold3 with my account, and easily found the card for William Blake Seaver.  There are two sides to it:

What takes so much time for me to work with these records is trying to connect the persons on these record to a family.  In the case of William Blake Seaver, he was not in my RootsMagic database.  After I found the card above, I input his name into the Ancestry search engine (the Draft Card database summary page did not provide Suggested Records for any of the matches) and easily found his:

*  Birth record (10 June 1901 in Roane county, Tenn.), which named his parents as William F. Seaver and Mary Blake.
*  World War I Draft Registration card which provides a birth date (10 June 1901)
*  Social Security Death Index record with the same birth date and a death date (24 June 1990) and place (Sun City, Arizona)
*  A 1910 U.S. Census record for "Will Deaver" in Tennessee residing with a Blake family
*  A 1920 U.S. Census record for William B. Seaver (age 19 born Tenn.) in Texas with his father (age 60 born in Mass., with wife Rebecca and three Turner children aged 23 to 16)

Did I have William F. Seaver in my database?  I did, but all I had was an 1857  birth record in Ashland, Mass., son of George F. and Emily (Jones) Seaver.  I did not have a death date or marriage data for him.  There are two marriage records in Tennessee for Wm F. Seaver to Viola Bledsoe in 1879, and Mary Blake in 1896.  Viola died in 1895 according to her Find A Grave memorial.  I can't find a death date for Mary, but she probably died before 1920.  William F. Seaver married Rebecca Catherine (Young) Turner before 1920, probably in Texas.  William Blake Seaver had a sister, Fannie Seaver (1897-1989) who married a Clark.

There is an Ancestry Member Tree that says William Blake Seaver was married to Ann Naomi Turner (1903-2003) which provides a lead.  I haven't found any records for her, though.  Nor have I found any children yet of William Blake Seaver.  But I'm looking!

So I was able to add at least one new leaf to my family tree, plus three marriages for someone already in my tree.  Based on this, William Blake Seaver is my 8th cousin 2 times removed.

Now I have 74 more of the World War II Draft Registration cards to go.

You know, it would have taken weeks or months just to find this card ten to twenty years ago, and more months or years to find the birth record, the death record, the census records and the three marriages of his father.


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Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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Elizabeth Handler said...

Thank you for sharing this. I found my grandfather, born in 1900. I can't see the card because I don't currently have a Fold3 subscription, it's wonderful to know it's there and I can still get some information from the index (including the company he worked for in Pittsburgh). I can't wait to ask my mother if she remembers that company name.

Amberly said...

Thank you for this. I found my Grandpa. :)