Researching World War 1 Draft Cards

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Draft Cards are some of my favorite artifacts to research, obtain and analyze.

WHY?  Because there us an abundance of information not found in any other family history document.

For example:

  • Often the middle name is not recorded on official documents – but it frequently is on a draft card application
  • If the applicant was married, sometimes his wife’s name was written. If you have no marriage record of any kind, it at least can tell you the given name of the wife.
  • In some of the 3 registrations for World War 1, the birthplace was required. In the absence of a birth certificate or newspaper announcement this may be the only place that the city and/or county is documented.
  • The physical characteristics are documented – slender, tall, blue eyed, medium build, etc. Adds another dimension to the characterization of the young man.

In the interests of keeping track of my draft card research, below is a video that shows you an easy way to create a Draft Card checklist using Excel, so you can make sure that you know who you have yet to find. The checklist takes just a few minutes to set up and is quite easy.


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