WWI Draft Registration Records

Draft registration records are a little used resource with a plethora of information, including race.  In addition, they may contain information such as where the registrant was born, birth date, physical description, next of kin, and more.  For a genealogy sleuth, not only is there a lot of direct information, but lots of hints and tips to lead to additional resources. 

The records, meaning not only an index but the images themselves, including original signatures, are available at Ancestry.com, link given below.


The draft when initially enacted on June 5, 1917 required men aged 21-31 to register.  This would mean men born between 1886-1896.  Two supplementary drafts followed in June and August of 1918 to pick up men who has turned 21 since the original draft.  Not producing enough draftees, on Sept. 12, 1918, all men ages 18-45 were required to register.  That means all men born between 1873 and 1900.  Some men received deferments due to a physical disability of other compelling reason, but they were still required to register to obtain the deferment. 

Patriotic fever was at an all time high, so there were few draft dodgers.

Be aware though, that if your ancestor was of the age to serve and is not found it in the draft registration records, it may be because he volunteered, and therefore did not need to register to be drafted.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about issues unique to Indians registering for the draft.

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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