"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

red, white & blue line

Printed Taylor Daily Press - 7 Oct 1999

World War I Draft Registration Cards"

During World War I (WWI), there were three draft registrations; they occurred on June 5, 1917; June 5, 1918; and, Sept. 12, 1918. The reason the draft registration cards ("draft cards") are such a excellent genealogy resource is that the information was given by the individual, and is therefore likely to be more accurate than census, death, or court documents.

The most important aspect of these draft cards is that they constitute a potential resource for documenting the age and/or date of birth of men born between 1873 and 1900. This is significant since birth certificates were not filed prior to 1903 in Texas.

Also included on the draft cards is a general physical description of the individual. I learned that my great-great-uncle who died in WWI had red hair. Of course, there is no one living today who could have told me this very interesting fact about Uncle Charlie.

These draft cards have been microfilmed by the National Archives. The draft cards are arranged by state, then by county or city, and then alphabetically by surname of individual. The original draft cards are located at the National Archives - Southeast Region, 557 St. Joseph Ave., East Point, GA 30344. They charge a $10 fee for a photocopy of each original draft card (front & back).

The draft card microfilm for the states of Texas and Louisiana are available at the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research in Houston, Texas. Or, you may borrow/rent the "World War I Selective Service System draft registration cards, 1917-1918" microfilm for any county/state through the Church Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Family History Centers.

These records have nothing to do with military service, but are the draft cards required of all men living in the United States who were between 18 and 45 years of age. All men in the designated age brackets had to register - even the blind, lunatics, penitentiary inmates, aliens (non-citizens), and others. This represents approximately 23% of the population in the United States.

Keep in mind, not all men who served in the military registered for the draft. If a man was already in the military or had joined a branch of the military before the date for his draft registration, he would not have had to register.

The information included on the draft card varies and include as follows:

Internet Tip

How many times have you asked yourself, "How do I get a birth/death certificate or marriage license from this particular county?" There is a wonderful website that helps answer those questions, the Texas Vital Record Information at http://www.vitalrec.com/tx.html contains information about where to obtain copies of Texas vital records, such as birth & death certificates, marriage licenses & divorce decrees. It is linked to the United States Vital Record Information webpage at http://www.vitalrec.com/contains information about where to obtain vital records (such as birth, death and marriage certificates and divorce) from each state, territory and county of the United States. This website is hosted by Elizabeth T. Orsay who maintains the site in her spare time at home and has provided this information for over six years. She started this website to help other genealogists find vital records. She had tried to find information on the Internet to order records related to her own ancestors and found it was very scarce and scattered. Elizabeth said, "I thought it would be nice to have it all in one place with links to the various states and county vital records' offices."


Searching for the date of death and burial location of Richard Neely FOREHAND who appears on the 1900 and 1910 Census in Williamson Co., TX. Contact: Karl Forehand, Jr., 833 N. Byers, Mangum, OK 73554.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

red, white & blue line

Return to Main Page

This webpage was last created on 26 Sept 1999 and was last revised on 10 Jan 2000, 15 Nov 2001

Copyright 1999, 2000 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604