MyHeritage is always adding new resources. In December of 2016, MyHeritage added a great collection of United States World War I Draft Registrations. This is great news for genealogists who have ancestors who served in World War I.
The MyHeritage collection of United States World War I Draft Registrations has over 24 million records. It includes draft registrations from 1917-1918. This collection has been added to SuperSearch.
The initial Selective Service Act required all men who were between the ages of 21 and 30 to register for the draft. This changed in August of 1918, at the request of the War Department. Congress amended the Selective Service Act to expand to the age range to include all men aged 18 to 45.
As a result, men in the United States, who were between the ages of 18 and 45, had to enroll in the Selective Service System in 1917 and 1918. Each registrant filled in a double-sided card where he recorded his name, current residence address, date of birth, place of birth, age, marital status, race, occupation, employer, citizenship status, and other information about his next of kin. Almost all registration cards include the signature, or mark, of the man who was enrolling.
The United States World War I Draft Registrations collection not only provides a genealogist with information about a relative who served during WWI, but also gives clues about the people that ancestor was related to. The portion about his next of kin could have useful information. If the man was married, the registration card might list his wife’s name. Knowing where an ancestor lived can give clues about where to look for vital records.
Three specific registrations were conducted:
June 5, 1917: This first registration was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31.
June 5, 1918: The second registration was for those who had turned 21 after June 5, 1917, and a supplemental registration included in the second registration was held on August 4, 1918, for those who turned 21 years old after June 5, 1918.
September 12, 1918: The third, and final registration was for all men aged 18 through 45 not previously enrolled.
By the end of WWI, around 2 million men had volunteered for military service and an additional 2.8 million men had been drafted. It is important to know that a draft registration card doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual was drafted or that he didn’t volunteer separately.
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