Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Tuesday's Tip: Research in World War II Young Men's Draft Registration Cards

The record collection for U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 is one of my favorite record collections.  It is online at Ancestry.com with over 36 million draft registration cards with 53,716,458 name indexed entries.  I think that the index includes the names of the person being registered and his contact person (usually a parent or a spouse).  

The original source for this online collection is the set of draft registration cards for all states between 10/16/1940 and 3/31/1947, plus territories, DC, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.  Each set is in boxes in Records of the Selective Service System, 1926–1975, Record Group 147. National Archives and Records Administration, St Louis, Missouri.

On Ancestry.com, the user will find this collection search page in the Card Catalog:

The description of the information in this record collection is (from the Ancestry.com collection page):
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 for all states with the exception of Maine. The draft cards from the state of Maine were destroyed before they could be digitized.
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.
The record summary for my father, Frederick Walton Seaver looks like this:

Clicking for the record image on the screen above shows the face of the actual draft registration card:

If you advance to the next image using the right carat to the right of the screen with the above image, you can see the back of the draft registration card:

The "prizes" on these records are the full name, the birth date, the birth place, the citizenship, the employer, the residence(s), the next-of-kin, the signature and the physical description (on the back of the card).

For my key surnames, this collection has these numbers of exact records:

*  Seaver:    558
*  Seavers:   141
*  Seever:      93
*  Seevers:   243
*  Sever:      285
*  Severs:    265
*  Sevier:     419

*  Carringer: 122
*  Caringer:    12

*  Auble:     112

*  Vaux:      120

The Ancestry "database number" for this collection is 2238.  I have over 420 profiles in my Ancestry Family Tree with a pending Hint in this collection.   I have accepted and rejected a number of Hints from this collection.

Fold3.com (now owned by Ancestry) digitized these draft registrations cards over the past few years, and they can be accessed there also.  

FamilySearch had these draft registrations cards in collections for each state for the years 1940-1945, but has removed many of them recently.  These collections used record images from Ancestry.com.  Perhaps they are adding the cards up to 1947 to their collections and will add them back to their historical record collections.


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 U.S. online genea-world.

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