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United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards - FamilySearch Historical Records

Revision as of 13:35, 22 September 2011 by Jsearle282 (talk | contribs) (Minor Paragraph Spacing correction)
FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942  and United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards with index.

Collection Time Period

While the cards were created on April 27, 1942, they pertain to men born on or between April 27, 1877, and February 16, 1897.

Record Description

The draft registration cards are preprinted forms with information recorded on the front and back. Cards for the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were filmed with the front of one card on the same image as the back of the next card in the sequence.

Record Content

Genealogical information on the registration cards includes:

  • Name
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace (lists town or county and state or country)
  • Age
  • Residence
  • Mailing address
  • Name and address of the person who will always know the registrant’s address
  • Place of employment or business
  • Employer’s name and address
  • Race

How to Use the Records

Use draft registration cards to learn an exact birth date and birthplace for a male ancestor. Use this information to then locate other record types, such as vital records.

Record History

After the United States entered World War II, a new Selective Service Act required that all men between the ages of 18 and 64 register for the draft. The fourth draft registration covered males ages 45 to 64. The local draft board of the Selective Service System conducted the registration. The original registration cards were later sent to the regional branch of the National Archives responsible for receiving records from that state. Draft registration cards exist for 40 states and for Puerto Rico. For New York, cards exist only for the boroughs of New York City. The cards for the following eight states were destroyed:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

These records cover about 10 percent of the population.

Why This Collection Was Created?

This draft registration, called the Fourth Registration, or Old Man’s Registration, was held on April 27, 1942. The purpose of this registration was to collect information on industrial capacity and skills of men who were born between April 27, 1877 and February 16, 1897 (ages 45 to 64). This draft registration was not intended to be used for military service but to provide a complete inventory of manpower resources in the United States that could be utilized for national service during World War II.

Record Reliability

Information on the cards was supplied by the individual but recorded by a registrar. While there was a chance of a recording error, each individual signed his card to attest that the information was correct.

Known Issues with This Collection

Problem #1 - The first set of images has a searchable index and can also be browsed by Digital Film (DGS) numbers.
Problem #2 - The second collection does not have a searchable index but can be browsed by locality, which leads into a name search.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection, please read the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, feel free to report them at Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Web Sites

Online World War II Records and Indexes

Related Wiki Articles

United States Military Records

World War II United States Military Records, 1941 to 1945

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

  • "United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942." index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed 8 April 2011. entry for John Thomas Peterson; citing Draft Cards, FHL microfilm 4,147,487; National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
  • "United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed 8 April 2011. entry for George Bailey; citing Draft Cards, Indiana, B. Bailey, George, Image 1; National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

Sources of Information for This Collection:

"United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942." index and images, FamilySearch ( from the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. FHL microfilm, Family History Library Salt Lake City, Utah.