Monday, May 23, 2011

In Honor of Memorial Day: Getting Information from WWI Draft Registration Cards

You may not have had a Revolutionary War soldier in your family like one of my clients, but you most likely have a soldier or two who served his or her country somewhere in your family line.

My father was a marine. My paternal and maternal grandfathers both served in WWI. Both were privates, both 21-year-old small town boys seeing the world for the first time.
“During World War I, there were three registrations. The first was on June 5, 1917, registering men between the ages of 21 and 31. The second was on June 5, 1918, registering men who had turned 21 since June 5, 1917 (A supplemental registration on Aug. 24, 1918, registered those becoming 21 since June 5, 1918.). The third registration was held on September 12, 1918, and registered men 18 through 45. So, all men born between 1872 and September 1900 who were not in active military service by June 1917 filled out draft registration cards, whether they were native born, naturalized, or alien.”

WWI draft registration cards, available through and other subscription online genealogy databases, can give you some personal information about your relatives that you may not get anywhere else, such as height (tall, medium, short), build (slender, medium, stout), hair color, eye color, place of birth, current address, nearest relative, marital status, name of employer, etc., as well as being able to see their personal signature.  Is WWI military service a part of your family’s history?

Discover your roots and watch the branches of your family tree begin to grow.

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Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN ©pje