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New States Added to WWII Draft Registration Cards!

Example WWII Draft Registration Card
Fold3 has added new U.S. states to its collection of WWII Draft Registration Cards! The collection (via the National Archives) now also includes Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, West Virginia, Utah, Alaska, Wyoming, and Virginia. The cards in this collection are registration cards for the draft and do not necessarily indicate that the individual served in the military.

There were seven draft registration periods in the United States for World War II service. The first draft registration was held on October 16, 1940—before the United States had entered the war. Men ages 21–36 were required to register at their local draft board. The second draft registration was also held prior to the American entrance into the war, on July 1, 1941. This registration was for men who had turned 21 since the previous registration date nine months earlier.

The third (February 16, 1942) and fifth (June 30, 1942) registration periods expanded the ages required to register; the age ranges for the third were extended to 20–21 and 35–44, while the fifth extended them to ages 18–20. The sixth registration (December 10–31, 1942) was for men who had turned 18 since the fifth registration six months prior. There was also a seventh registration, known as the “Extra Registration,” from November 16 to December 31, 1943, which was for American men ages 18–44 who were living abroad.

The cards from the fourth registration (April 27, 1942; for men ages 45–64) are not included in the WWII Draft Registration Cards but in Fold3’s WWII “Old Man’s Draft” Registration Cards collection.

Information on the WWII Draft Registration Cards may include the man’s name, address, telephone number, age, place of birth, country of citizenship, name and address of the person who will always know the registrant’s address, employer’s name, place of employment, and a description of the registrant.

Get started searching or browsing the WWII Draft Registration Cards on Fold3!

43 Comments

  1. I found the registration card for a cousin of mine whose father was in the Army. The registration card shows that he probably registered for the draft about 1939 or 40. The block that says “Citizenship” shows he was in prison for a felony. He was in the Army until the end of the war. Did men who were in prison for something less than life or a lot of years, have to register for the draft? He was from Hampton, VA and I’d wondering where I could find his prison record. He was killed not long after the war was over and his children neve knew him.

    • I am not sure about draft registration, but it was once fairly common for a judge to offer a first or second timer non-violent offender the option of jail time or joining the military (“They’ll make a man out of you.”)
      Of course, at that time, the military was also able to assert much tighter discipline than they can today That is not always bad, since on today’s battlefield, most combat is by very small elements relying more on the self-discipline of individuals than micromanaging by senior NCOs, but it is also why the military has discouraged the jail or military option these days.

    • Jim:

      Thanks so much for your reply. I know what you said is true but didn’t even think of that although I was in the military 1951 to 1955 and later in the CG Reserves. My husband was a CG officer also but I guess as I get older things just don’t come to mind like they did. Your info. may very well be what happened and I thank you for it.

      Louise

    • I realize that Perkins is not an uncommon name, but Frances Perkins and her husband Frances Perkins were my ancestors from Henrico, Va. if they are also your ancestors, would you please respond to this message to mha123@triad.rr.com.

    • Have you found him in the 1940 census? If he still was in prison in 1940, there is written the name and place of the prison. You should look at the newspapers of the place where he lived, maybe they have written something about his court case. By the way newspapers of that time often mentionned where a soldier was in military service.

    • You can check with the federal bureau of prisons to see if you can find a location for where he served time and when.

  2. It is my understanding that all of these cards are now at the National Archives in St. Louis. The cards for the various registrations have now been combined together for each state and the cards are in alphabetical order. Unfortunately you are not permitted to see the original card. You request the card and they make a copy for you to review. The cards that were used in the first registration in October 1940 have a field that specifies the individual’s relationship to the person who knows where you can be found. This field was deleted in later versions of the card. I tried to find the card for every male in my family tree. Got the full name, location in 1940, date and place of birth, employment, description and signature.

    • Thanks, I think there should be information somewhere about his prison time, but have just started to look. I’ve found info. on Fold 3 about a lot of the military in my family tree but need to find the criminal record. Should be interesting searching.

      Thanks for the reply.

      Louise

    • As far as I know a lot of records in St. Louis were destroyed by fire in the 70s I think 75. I was told that years ago, when we searched for my dads records so he could use the veterans hospital. My dad joined in 42 the army then left and joined the navy during Korea. His records never showed both of his service dates. He spent almost 16 years in and left when he married my mother. We never did find enough proof for the government for him to get benefits. We even sent dated pictures and orders to the board and that wasn’t enough proof without them being able to verify their own records with the pictures. I hope your able to be one who didn’t have records destroyed. I had some of my own come up missing from St Louis, but I was lucky I was able to track most of mine down in my home city. I wound up being stationed where I joined. Good luck and going to any place he was stationed or had pay records might help. I have no idea how long they keep those, since I got mine not long after I was discharged. You could also try the website http://www.ebenifits.gov if you know his info. We actually found some of my dad’s after he died, but they had us fax his info to them. Good luck.

  3. My father: Thomas Virgil Day entered WW11 between, Dec 1942 and Aug 1943. He was stationed in, Fort Clark, Texas. I have never been able to find any thing in the records about my father. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Daughter, Bobbie

  4. Have you checked Fold 3? Also, you should be able to write for your father’s military record, I belive.

    Louise

  5. Dies anyone know, are there WWII Draft Registration EXEMPTION records for people who did not have to serve because they already did during WWI?

    Also, what was the enforcement policy? How did the draft board know if someone just didn’t register for the draft?

    • Usually they were deferred because of their age unless they had specific abilities, engineering, flight, medical etc. We had some in our family due to that. Most of them served when called.

    • I’m not sure about any exemption for that. My great grandfather served in both ears and was drafted for wwii at 57 years old. I found out by accident doing the family tree from records on ancestry. Com I joined the free trial and cancelled I found out a lot. I have several memberships tracing our family tree and it’s a huge surprise what you can find. I met family I never knew I had in person and with email. We’re trying to put a reunion together now, so we can meet long lost cousins and more. Good luck

  6. Yes, it’s easy to want to send “the bad guys” even “street fools” into battles. But the idiots goof up operations because some keep grudges.

    Believe me, if it were not for making them smarter to build weapons from say learning cnc, or bombs, etc, I would love to get the fanatics to go ape on each other. But alas, we have a “heart.” It’s not a business, some answer the call for patriotism, some do not for any reason. What is it to sacrifice one’s lifestyle in the name of a true American spirit?

    My father was drafted, served both in Europe and Korea. He came back with a wide stitched cross on his chest from an operation to save his life from scrapnel. It was not as easy as a valentine box of candy, he really earned it.

    If only the prisoners would be like the movies… Life Changing episodes with terrible missions, emerging like a Hero who served to protect US. Yes, those draft numbers are like a badge of honor.

    • Came back with a wide WHAT? You just said “came back with a wide stitched across his chest…… Tell us what he had on his chest. Oh and Thank you and your family for his service, sacrifice and valor. RIP Daddy Semper fi, Korea, plus all our other over 1,000 Vets since Amer. Rev. War.

    • Barbara Turner:
      The post said he had a wide stitiched CROSS on his chest–a scar in the shape of a cross, I assume.

    • Your right, it’s not like the dirty dozen in real life. We had a guy like that when I was in boot camp. He was facing a couple felonies. He washed out because he didn’t like authority. The CO gave him a couple of chances, but decided he would wind up getting men killed. I think it was a very wise decision to kick him out. When I was in we had to depend on each other to have our backs. We didn’t need someone who didn’t want to follow orders to cause us all to get killed. The jail or military may work with some, but if they have a problem with authority then no. I am old fashioned though so maybe it works better now.

  7. HELLO! I AM LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO KNEW MY FATHER

  8. My dad was what they called 4f ,he did not serve because he said he had to many kids ,could this be true ?

  9. As a long-time subscriber to Ancestry I am dismayed that I now must pay to use the military data bases. I deplore this grubbing for money. I pay once for the privilege of using the these Ancestry data bases which were once free. Now I must pay again for the use of the FOLD data bases.

    • FYI, I was feeling the same and actually signed up for FOLD3 ‘s free 7-day membership (after misunderstanding Ancestry ‘s “see military records free through Memorial Day”. I literally spent over 24 hrs searching for additional data on ANY of my relatives and could find NOTHING that I hadn’t already gotten through Ancestry. I still have 5 days left and will likely cancel today since it has no additional useful info.

    • I agree with you about this. I was so surprised to see that we now have to pay for military records. Disappointed in Ancestry.com

  10. I whould like to fine my father card inthe military record hes was from Mississippi he was born july 5th 1925 past away oct 1977 in peekskill ny help please.

    • Doretha:
      For anyone to help, you will have to provide a first name and middle name if possible. He would have been 15 in 1940. Couldn’t find any Army records in the draft to 1946 with his name. Do you know what branch of the service he was in? That would also help. There are two McLeods in Missippi, I’m assuming that McLeod is the correct last name. Both had sons born in 1925 named Harold, so that adds to the confusion in helping you. Are these the correct people? (1) Henry C McLeod (2) Andrew McLeod.

    • Census records are what I’ve had luck with. If you know about where he lived you might get lucky. Good luck.

  11. I agree , Gerald D Hobson. Having to pay extra for the FOLD data bases is just plain wrong on so many levels

    • And Ancestry owns Fold.

    • Yes it is. I’m about done doing our tree, but I have family and we share the cost, or I would have given it up. I was spending a hundred bucks a month and was going to stop. It’s much cheaper though, when we started we were driving all over the south looking at microfilm in different cities. That was expensive. Good luck.

    • See if your local library has Fold3 in their database. I got mine free that way.

  12. I was pleasantly surprised to find images on this site for WW2 draft registration cards other than for the Old Man’s Draft of 1942. (That was the Fourth Registration conducted on 27 April 1942 for men 45 – 64 years old.) The public hasn’t been allowed access to these other cards for ‘privacy’ considerations. What changed?

    Were all these draft cards microfilmed at the same time?

    Each card has 2 sides. The backside records a physical description, however, no name is written on this side. When viewing the cards, how do you know which backside pertains to an individual? Is it the following card image or the previous card image? Would seem logical that this would be the following card image, however microfilmers have been known to shoot images in reverse order.

    An Ancestry.com article for the 1942 Fourth Registration stated that there was a problem with the way the cards were microfilmed in DE, MD, PA, and WV:

    These four states were microfilmed at the National Archives in such a way that the back of one person’s draft card appears in the same image as the front of the next individual’s card. Thus, when viewing the scanned image of each person’s original draft card you will see the correct front side of each person’s draft card, but the back side of the previous person’s card. On occasion a person’s race will be listed incorrectly in the database, since the information regarding each person’s race was keyed from what was listed on the backside of the previous individual’s card. Ancestry.com is aware of this issue, and is working to correct it. The draft cards for states other than Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia were microfilmed in a different manner and thus images of the original draft cards from those other states display correctly in the database.

  13. Louise Perkins,

    My grandfather served in WW1. When he was discharged from the Army they told him to take his discharge papers to the county court house & take his papers to the county Recorders office to have recorded. I feel if you contact your county recorders office they should be able to help you..

  14. In some of the genealogy seminars I’ve attended, I’ve heard there were many WWII records lost due to a fire. The speakers were from the National Archives and they asked if you had copies of your service member’s records to contact them and arrange to send copies. I will be doing this for my father, as I have his discharge and letters where he attempted to get a medical disability after being medically discharged, but was denied. (The original injury was from a car accident) but military training exasserbated it.)

    Someone above mentioned that these records used to be sealed for privacy and asked what has changed. The answer is that most WWII vets are dying off. My dad was born in 1921, was 19 when he enlisted, and if he were alive today, he would be 96. Unfortunately he died in 1996 and it took a year for his military grave marker to arrive because they couldn’t keep up because so many WWII vets were dying.

    • Yes it is. I’m about done doing our tree, but I have family and we share the cost, or I would have given it up. I was spending a hundred bucks a month and was going to stop. It’s much cheaper though, when we started we were driving all over the south looking at microfilm in different cities. That was expensive. Family can get them and I think they told me 50 years was the date my dads records were unsealed. He was still alive than so he signed them to ask about his records.

  15. My dad served in WWII from ’43 to ’46 in the 3rd Armored Division. He was part of the D-day campaign. When he was mustered out in ’46, he came back home with the French Medal of Valor (Croix de Guere). The order from the French Government (#1123) lists him along with about 150 other men from various division battalions and companies as the recipients. He never spoke about the incident that merited the medal.

    After he passed away in 2001, my family began to try and find out what order number 1123 was issued for with no luck. Seems that there was a fire in Kansas City in 1953 or 1956 (the stories vary) that destroyed a whole bunch of records (my dad’s included). I have contacted Fold3 about it but so far all I have received is “auto response” telling me that they are working on it.

    Maybe someone out there has a similar situation with that French order number that could fill us in on what happened. He also was awarded the Purple Heart but refused it because my grandfather would not understand why he got the same medal for getting hurt that my uncle received for getting killed. (we’re hillbillies what can I say?”

  16. Did the military photograph those who served in WW1? My great uncle served and is buried in Arlington. I was wondering if I could find a picture of him.

    • I found a picture of my great grandfather from wwi, he was drafted and lived in Indiana. I found a long lost family member with ancestry who had the picture. So there is hope and it was. A picture from boot camp and his unit. I hope this helps. I found out looking at family trees who had the same family member and the boards looking for information on family.

  17. I am also very disappointed that the images of World War II draft cards were moved from Ancestry.com to Fold3. These cards were one of the few documents that were filled out by the person himself. Often, errors occur with the transcription of the card images. For example, the address written by the person differs from the city of the draft board, yet only the draft board city is transcribed. And the month and date of registration is not listed on the transcription, only the year. As a retiree on a fixed income, I cannot afford both Ancestry.com and Fold3. I am not sure I will continue Ancestry.com, especially when its value is decreased by removing images to another paid service. What will we lose next?

    • Fine. We got it. You want to hi-jack the topic board to complain about fees. This database was free all weekend through Memorial Day.There is no monopoly. No one is stopping you from filing a request for records with NARA, the VA, or whoever is the current keeper of the records. You can also go to a library or any of a multitude of facilities that subscribe to these databases and let the publc use it without charge. Now that you’ve made your grumble public and diverted the purpose of this forum, will you let us get back to discussing the WWII draft cards and their interpretation?

    • Sorry, Hector. You are right.

  18. I’ll be glad to look anything up for you that I can, I have both Ancestry and Fold 3 and will continue it.

    Louise

  19. I’m confused about the Draft Registration Records for WWII that’s on Fold3. I looked up my father-in-law and the dates on the “Registration” are 1945. That’s when he was discharged from the Army after being in the war. He enlisted on 30 Oct 1940. Were they required to “register” for the Draft again after their discharge? Does anyone know?

  20. I look for my common-law husband records and found out he had two names booth and ancestor.com and folded 3 when he said he was a white man I knew all the papers were wrong a lot more study and a lot less money should be put into it Let’s Help the People find our people who served in the military I have nieces and nephews who I have helped raise I hope I’ll always be able to find your papers if ever needed for their children love the family love the world all respect to the United States of America service people God bless