Using World War I and II Draft Registration Cards
Draft registration cards and their uses in genealogy research
During World War I and World War II, men in the United States were required to register for the draft. Draft registration cards can be useful for finding out more about your ancestor. In some states, there were not yet vital records being recorded by the government, so a man's draft registration card may give information you won't find elsewhere. Note that men were only registering for the draft, locating a draft card does not indicate that a man served in the military.
Date of birth
Place of birth
Occupation and employer
Residence and/or address
Name of closest relative
List of dependents
The information you find on a draft registration card may include the following:
There were 3 registrations for World War I, and the information may differ because there were several different versions and questions on the registration. Here are the years and ages of the drafts:
- 1. June 5, 1917: Men between the ages of 21-31
- 2. June 5, 1918: Men who turned 21 since the 1st registration
- 3. September 12, 1918: Men between the ages of 18-45
There were 6 registrations for World War II, and the information may differ because there were several different versions and questions on the registration. Here are the years and ages of the drafts:
- 1. October 16, 1940: males ages 21 to 35 within the continental United States
- 2. July 1, 1941: males who had reached 21 since the first registration
- 3. February 16, 1942: between the ages of 20 and 45 who had not previously registered
- 4. April 27, 1942: between the ages of 45 and 65 not eligible for military service
- 5. June 30, 1942: between the ages of 18 and 20
- 6. December 10-31, 1942: those who reached the age of 18 after November 12, 1942
Where can I search for records?
You will find these records available online. It will be helpful to know the name of the person, their state of residence and their age at the time of the draft.
World War I draft registration cards on Ancestry.com
World War II draft registration cards on Ancestry.com
World War I draft registration cards on FamilySearch.org
World War II draft registration cards on FamilySearch.org
Need help finding more records? Try our genealogical records directory which has more than 1.3 million sources to help you more easily locate the available records.
Related Topics on This Site