Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Tuesday's Tip: U.S. World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

The record collection for the U.S. World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947  is one of my favorite collections.  This collection is available on:

*  Ancestry.com ($$):   35,600,493 entries ( 
https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/ymdraftcardswwii/ )

*  Fold3 ($$): 27,595,350 entries  ( 
https://www.fold3.com/title/816/wwii_draft_registration_cards )

The description of the collection on the Ancestry collection page says:

This database contains World War II draft registration cards from multiple registrations filled out by men in select states aged 18–44.
Historical Background
The U.S. officially entered World War II on 8 December 1941 following an attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. About a year before, in October 1940, President Roosevelt had signed into law the first peacetime selective service draft in U.S. history because of rising world conflicts. Multiple registrations held between November 1940 and October 1946 signed up more than 50 million American men aged 18–45 for the draft.
Cards in This Database
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
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois - Additional records to be added soon
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky - Additional records to be added soon
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire - Additional records to be added soon
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • 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 and/or Mailing Address
  • 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
The collection includes some replacement cards for registration cards that were destroyed. These cards list a name.

This Ancestry record collection currently has 35,600,493 entries.  It is an indexed collection with links to some record images on Fold3.

I entered several exact surnames in the "Last Name" search field and found (on Ancestry):

*  285 for "Seaver"       
*  91 for "Seavers"
*  67 for "Seever"
*  150 for "Seevers"
*  238 for "Sever"
*  227 for "Severs"

*  105 for "Carringer"
*  15 for "Caringer"

*  99 for "Vaux"

*  53 for "Auble"

*  288,467 for "Smith"

Here is an example of a record summary from this collection on Ancestry:

Ancestry provides only a record summary from the actual draft registration card.  If a user has a Fold3 subscription, they can click on the link "View Original image on Fold3" below the place holder image on the screen above.

The front of the draft registration card on Fold3 looks like this:

By clicking on the right-facing carat below the image, the user can see the back side of the draft registration card:

It is important to understand what this collection represents and includes.  Only males born between 1900 and 1927 should be in this collection.  However, not all males were registered, including those already in the Armed Services.  There may be indexed entries for females who are nearest relatives in some of the collections.

Note that there are records in the Ancestry collection for 39 of the 50 states, plus DC and Virgin Islands.  Fold3 claims 45 states plus DC and Virgin Islands.  More may be added in the future to both collections.

This is strictly a 20th century record, and as such can be very useful to find birth names, birth dates, address and employment in 1940-1947 and a physical description for men born between 1900 and 1927.  The person listed on the draft registration card usually filled out the form and signed it In some cases, this may be the only record with a birth date of a person born between those dates.

These draft registration cards are Original Sources, but the birth name and date information is Secondary Information and Direct Evidence of those items.  The home address, employment information, nearest relative and physical description are Primary Information and Direct Evidence.

For those interested in mining this record collection for Hints of persons in their Ancestry Member Tree, the Ancestry.com database number is 2238.  Currently, I have over 380 Hints for persons in my Ancestry Member Tree who are indexed in this record collection.  I work on them occasionally, adding content and source citations to this record collection to my RootsMagic family tree.  Of course, I have many more accepted Hints for this collection in my Ancestry Member Tree.

I typically source the person's name, birth date, address and occupation, and in some instances the physical description and nearest relative, in my RootsMagic family tree.


NOTE:  Tuesday's Tips is a genealogy blog meme intended to provide information about a resource helpful to genealogists and family historians, especially in the online genea-world.

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Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Unknown said...

"Note that there are records in the Ancestry collection for 39 of the 50 states, plus DC and Virgin Islands. Fold3 claims 45 states plus DC and Virgin Islands. More may be added in the future to both collections."

1940 - 1947 ONLY 48 STATES, EH? :-)


Randy Seaver said...

Technically, yes. But Alaska and Hawaii were territories and are on the list.

Marian B. Wood said...

Happily, those who live in Connecticut (like me!) can access Fold3 for free through the CT State Library, with a state library card (not a local library card). Still, I prefer the Ancestry search interface to the Fold3 search interface. Thanks for the reminder to look in both places--I always prefer to see the original card!

Peggy Virnig Mnich said...

What is the difference between WWII draft registration cards and U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947? I noticed, during my research, WWII draft registration cards are dedicated to the year of 1942 while U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947, would vary between 1940 and 1947. Hmmm...

Randy Seaver said...

Peggy, the WWII Draft Registration Cards in 1942 were the so-called "OLd Men's Draft Registration" of men born between 1874 and 1900 - the ones who would be 42 to 66 years old in 1942. It was performed after the "Young Men's Draft Registration" started in 1940. We were at war after 12/7/1941 on two fronts so need a bigger pool. Ancestry and other sites had the Old Men's draft cards done first, so it got the generic label, and then the Young Men's draft cards were digitized. So two separate sets of data. All valuable!