Once again, for your review and use, is another very nice database within FamilySearch that contains very readable documents of our ancestors. In this case it is not just geared for Illinois researchers but contains data for World War I draft registrants from across the country. Front and backside of the registrant draft registration are shown.
The database in FamilySearch is titled “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”. There are about 3.2 million records in the collection. The images are that of the cards filled out by your ancestors. Front side and backside. The cards were printed. Your ancestor wrote their responses in cursive writing (The World War II Draft Registration Cards database in Ancestry are printed by the registrant making them even more readable).
Here is a link to this World War I Draft Registration database in FamilySearch:
Here is the description of the database contained within FamilySearch:
“Name index and images of draft registration cards for World War I. Three registrations occurred between 1917 and 1918. The 1st was held 5 Jun 1917 for men ages 21-31. The 2nd was held 5 Jun 1918 for men who turned 21 since the 1st registration. The 3rd started 12 Sep 1918 for men ages 18-45. The collection includes cards for 24 million men. The cards are arranged by state, by city or county, by local draft board, then alphabetical by surname. The draft registration cards are part of Record Group 163, Records of the Selective Service System (WWI), 1917-1939, and is National Archives Microfilm publication M1509.”
I recommend starting with just a surname and maybe a first name when beginning to search the database. Use the template of search parameters as needed to pare down your result list.
Remember, too much entry data may be no good because if any one item you enter is not actually in the record, you will not get that record in your results. Start with large results and then add other search criteria little by little. At some time just look through the results list.
Here is what you can expect the registrant was to supply on the front side of the card:
- Home Address
- Date of Birth
- Native born, naturalized , alien, other
- Where were you born
- If not a citizen, from what country
- Present occupation
- By whom employed
- Who is dependent on you
- Are you married
- What military service have you had
- Do you claim any exemptions
- Registrant signature
Here is what the registrant was to supply on the back side of the card:
- Tall, medium or short in stature (Not exact height was asked)
- Slender, medium or stout build (Not exact weight was asked)
- Color of eyes
- Color of hair
- Are you bald
- Specify if you have lost a body part or how you are disabled
Please note I see that the card content and questions could be different based on which of the 3 draft registrations was in place. You get the drift that there could be variances in the contents. My lists above come from one of the KIERNA cards shown.
Date of registration on the back was provided by the registering agency along with who did it.
There is great information contained in these cards. I guess they were politically correct back then to use the term for body build as “stout”!
I have always been interested especially to see documents with my ancestors signature. These cards do not disappoint.
It sure is nice to also be able to see what occupation they had and for whom they worked.
It is also nice that both front and backside are contained in the downloaded image simultaneously. Sometimes that does not happen in other databases and you are required to download the front side as one download and the backside as another download. You can easily forget to do this (Trust me I did that for the World War II Draft Cards in Ancestry. Double check so you don’t have to go back for another download image.).
Enjoy this database and the readability you should encounter. Having a physical description of an ancestor is always a bonus. Having a signature is also very touching since so many documents we discover related to an ancestor do not have a signature.
Hope you find lots and lots of ancestors!
Schaumburg Township District Library