World War II Draft Cards

During World War II there were seven registrations—handled by the Local Board of a County in each state, DC, and later, American men living abroad.

  • October 16, 1940—all males ages 21-36.
  • Between 1941 & 1943—five more registrations for ages 18-44.
  • April 27, 1942— the Fourth Registration or ”Old Man’s Draft” – men not already in the military who were born on or between April 28, 1877 and February 16, 1897 (a complete inventory of manpower that could be used for national service).

If a person enlisted before his draft date, a WWII Enlistment card may be available, which may lead to personnel service records.

Use clues from these cards to find other information:

Address—locate the person in the 1940 federal census or to help find land and property, tax, city directory, and other records

Telephone—might indicate something about their financial status as not everyone had a phone at this time.

Age & Date of Birth—verify this is the correct ancestor

Place of Birth—their parents should have records in this geographic area

Citizenship—if not USA, look for naturalization paperwork after the date of registration

Reference Name—might be a spouse, parent, sibling or good friend.

Employer—search for additional records near the employer’s address.

Signature—may also help to confirm the correct ancestor if you have a common name and other signed documents.

Physical Description—use this to help identify your ancestor in old photographs.

Draft Location—check this on a map, if it’s close to a border, perhaps your ancestor went to the spot closest to home, whether they were supposed to or not.

Registration Date—may help confirm age range as well as compliance with the law.

Draft Board Stamp—indicates, perhaps, how busy the group was or the local weather conditions as they were not always applied the same day as registration.

The Cards Today

Registration Cards are kept at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO, and in some of NARA’s Regional Archives.  Digitized copies may be found at Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, and Fold3.com among other websites.

 

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