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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 11 July 2002

World War I Draft Registration Cards

Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com/, one of the leading on-line genealogy subscription databases, recently announced the launch of an immense project to make available fully indexed and digitized images of the more than 24-million World War I (WWI) draft registration cards.

The first images of original WWI draft registration cards have been posted to the website, enabling Ancestry.com subscribers to browse through more than 100,000 WWI draft registration cards already on-line. Subsequent weekly postings will bring millions of images to the website throughout the year. Upon completion, the collection will be fully searchable by name, state, county and birth date with search results linking directly to images. The WWI draft registration cards are part of the U.S. and Canada Records Collection at Ancestry.com and are available as an annual subscription for $79.95 or $29.95 quarterly.

This collection is of tremendous value for genealogists as the draft registration cards provide detailed information about males living in American between 1917 and 1918. The draft registration cards provide a wealth of personal information including: full name, age, home address, date of birth, citizenship status, birthplace, occupation, whether married and how many children under age 12, any reason to claim exemption from the draft, physical appearance height, build, eye color, hair color, whether bald, physical impairments or disabilities, and an actual signature of the draftee.

In 1917 the U.S. teetered on the brink of global warfare. President Wilson proposed the American draft to help generate the large number of men needed and the first draft registration date was set for June 5, 1917. Two subsequent registration days were held in June 1918 and September 1918 for a total of three registration days. The display of patriotism and dedication to country is astounding, as registration of eligible men was close to 100%. Over 24 million eligible citizens and aliens born between 1873 and 1900 completed a draft registration card.

This civilian registration is often confused with induction into the military; however, only a small percentage of these men were actually called up for military service. Draft registration cards were completed during 1917 and 1918 by approximately 25% of the total U.S. population at that time providing a unique record set for many of our ancestors.

This on-line WWI Draft Registration Card Collection can be accessed at Ancestry.com. To view a sample image and learn more about this unique collection, visit http://www.ancestry.com/landing/ww1/intro.html.

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

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This webpage was last created on 22 August 2002 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604