WWII Draft Cards Coming Soon

Ancestry.com is currently in the final stages of work on a new database collection of World War II Draft Cards. In October 1940, President Roosevelt signed into law the first peacetime selective service draft in U.S. history, due to rising world conflicts. The U.S. officially entered World War II on 8 December 1941 following an attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Upon entry into the war, a new selective service act required that all men between ages 18 and 65 register for the draft. Between November 1940 and October 1946, over 10 million American men were registered.

This database is an indexed collection of draft cards from the Fourth Registration, the only registration currently available to the public. The Fourth Registration, often referred to as the “old man’s registration,” was conducted on 27 April 1942 and registered men who born on or between 28 April 1877 and 16 February 1897-men who were between 45 and 64 years old and who were not already in the military. The WWII draft card database at Ancestry.com will contain all the registrations that are currently available on microfilm to the public, which covers one-third of the total registrants (3,385,693 Images) from the following thirteen states:

  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

The information contained on these cards is as follows:

  • Name of registrant
  • Age
  • Date and place of birth
  • Residence
  • Employer information
  • Name and address of a person who would always know the registrant’s whereabouts
  • Physical description of registrant
  • Race
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Eye and hair colors
  • Complexion

47 thoughts on “WWII Draft Cards Coming Soon

  1. Why are only 13 states’ registrations available from the 4th registration? Why not all 50 states? Will Ancestry obtain the remaining states?

  2. Hello Melissa,
    Those states are the ones the National Archives (NARA) has released on microfilm publications so far – presumbably when NARA releases the microfilm of the other states, Ancestry will add those to their database.


  3. after looking at the birthdates included in the Fourth Registration, it’s possible that some men who registered for the draft for WW I also had to register for WW 2.

    Did service in WW 1 excuse them from registering for WW 2?

  4. This is most interesting. I will be anxious to see GA and SC added to this. Any info on when that might happen? Why are they not released?


  5. Those who plan to attend the NGS Conference in outside Chicago in a couple of weeks and who are interested in WW II draft cards for Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin can contact NARA-Great Lakes and arrange to see original cards for family members while in town. I don’t recall if they have the ones for Minnesota as well.

  6. Do you have plans to publish the cards of those men who, because of medical reasons were not accepted? My Daddy was
    certainly a 4-F because of serious medical reasons. It broke
    his heart when his brothers & cousins left and he had to stay

  7. Re WWII Draft Registration Cards for Southern States
    The fourth registration (for men born between 28 April 1877 and 16 February 1897) WWII draft registration cards for most southern states (including South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia) were destroyed in error by NARA in the 1970s. This is what I was told by the Southeast Region NARA records center, located in Morrow, Georgia. Southern state cards for the earlier registrations (for younger men), which are still being held by the Selective Service System, were not destroyed; but those cards have not been released for public access.

  8. Glad to hear this info. is coming soon. It will fill in some gaps in the family tree and provide details to pursue.

  9. The World War II 4th registration draft cards are available at various National Archives regional branches across the country. For example, the cards for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota are housed at the Central Plains Region in Kansas City, MO. They are not on microfilm but easily accessed by staff.

    Just send a query to the regional branch that houses records for the state where your person(s) lived in 1942 to see if they have a card. Yes, there will be a copy fee but they are a nifty primary document to add to your family history.

  10. You state that you are posting WWII draft cards from 13 states, then list 15 states plus Puerto Rico?? WHich is it…13 or 15 states??

    Mrts. Toni McKeen

  11. Ruth Detien asked if service in WWI excused veterans from having to register for the 4th draft. Evidently not. My great uncle, Fred Gilsdorf (29 Jul 1894- 20 Mar 1975), who saw a lot of combat with the 38th Infantry (called the “Rock of the Marne,” registered. He was then a resident of Washington Heights, NY and was employed as a postman in Manhattan.


  12. Are there any WWII Draft Registration Cards for the UK and if so do you intend to post these too?

  13. I would like to know if a draft card list is available for ww2 england, to trace my father and grandfathers records

  14. Will the website offer unit information as well? My family would love to know our three great uncles’ unit and unit history.

  15. WWII Draft Registration Cards are available at however, there is a major problem with the images. When a name is selected in some of the databases (especiallyfor Maryland registrations) the picture of the front of the card and supposedly the rear of the card appear as one downloadable image. The problem is that the front and back images are not necessarily from the same card. I noted that because persons I was interested in reflected a different race than what I knew and what was also reported when they registered for the WW I draft. Further investigation revealed that the correct information most likely came from the person ahead of them in the alphabetical listing.

    The important fact is that the information found on the back such as race, height, weight, eye color, hair color, etc. is NOT likely to be accurate. The only valid information is on the front of the card where the individual’s name is located. This may be an Ancestry problem or a NARA problem but regardless IT IS A PROBLEM!

  16. I was wondering if there would be a blank form to print out for extracting the information from the WWII draft registration cards? If so, do we know how long this could be before we can get one?

  17. Sorry but in my previous post (See # 20 above) I failed to include the site where you can view the available registration cards. providing you have paid the appropriate fees to Ancestry.com, the WW II Draft Registration cards my be searched at The important item is that the second page (if availble for your state of interest) which contains the race, height, weight, eye color, hair color, etc. is NOT likely to be accurate. So don’t accept that information as correct. Chances are that is wrong.


    To Bill Dorn and all interested researchers:

    If you find the card you are searching for look at the ADDRESS BOX and search for the last long number of the address. There will be a seven (7) digit number then a dash (-) and a 5 digit number followed by “fn”. If you add one (1) to the last number of the 5 digit number and click on GO you will get the next card in the list. For example: 5622145-22487, change the 22487 to 22488. The back of the previous card will be at the bottom of the image. You can check if it is the correct one by checking if the draft board area agrees with the address of the person you found.

  19. I don’t find the numbers mentioned in any address box as given in the previous comment on any of the cards that I am interested in. Please give info that applied to ALL registration cards.

  20. To Jack Novicki

    Thanks for your attempt to help. Sorry to say that I like Linda Waha have been unable to find any numbers in the address box or elsewhere on the card as you suggest. Here is one of my names of interest, perhaps I am looking in the wrong place. Your help would be appreciated.

    Henry J Sibiski, b 4 Nov 1895, Maryland residence

  21. I have found the same front/back discrepancy for Pennsylvania. I did not find any address box numbers that would direct me to the correct back of the card. Is this going to be corrected or will a work around be published? The information on the back of the card would be quite valuable to me but it is of no use if the cards are mismatched.

  22. Hi Everyone:

    At the top of your page after you find page one of the WWII draft card look for a LARGE WHITE BOX that goes across the page. If you are using Internet Explorer the word “Address” should appear to the left of the LARGE WHITE BOX and the word “GO” should appear to the right of the LARGE WHITE BOX. In the LARGE WHITE BOX you will see a series of letters and numbers and other symbols. This is the address of the CARD you were searching for. Sometimes this ADDRESS is larger than the LARGE WHITE BOX. If this is so you must move the cursor to the end of the ADDRESS to expose the numbers I referred to.

    The following is an example only, it is the LAST part of an ADDRESS for a Leon Novik’s draft card. It is NOT the whole ADDRESS only a section of the LAST part.


    If you look at the numbers that follow the “PA” (Pennsylvania) you will see 7 numbers and a dash (-) and then 4 numbers followed by “&fn=Leon&In”, ETC. If you look at the 4 numbers that follow the (-) in the example you will see 2800. If you change the last digit “0” to a “1” the number is now “2801” and then hit “GO” you will go to the next image. If you look at the BACK page it will most likely NOT agree with the address on the other image on the page. The back image on this page is matched with the image that you found in your search.

    Before you change the number in the image address print the correct front page image then go to the next image. Now you can see if the address on your front page is in the same area with the second back page image.

    Because the images are in alphabetical order the chance that the next back image, being from the same area as the front image, are very very slim. I have searched and found over 15 cards and not one back page agreed with the front page but always agreed with the front page in the previous image.

    Good Luck, Jack


  24. Especially for Jack Novicki

    Thanks for your help. I have matched most all of the persons I have been searching for. I have also run into a few glitches. An example is in searching for William Barton Amey. When I changed his URL from …MD-2223305-2411&fn.. to …MD-2223305-2412&fn… I get an “Error Processing Request” message. Maybe its because this Amey is at the end of series. Anyway I appreciate your help. Too bad Ancestry. com hasn’t been so helpful!

  25. Hi Bill:

    Glad you were able to use the work around.

    I took a look at William Barton Amey and right you are. I got the error message as well. I went back and checked the WWI draft card for William Barton Smith Amey who has the same birth date and is living in Baltimore, MD.

    The signatures look the same (Amey looks exactly the same) and his description is more or less the same as the one on the back WWII card that is in the same image as the front.

    He is listed as tall in WWI – hair – sandy, eyes – blue, color – medium. WWII – 5″7′, eyes – blue, hair – brown, complexion – Light.

    I think that both parts of the cards in the image of the WWII data base for William Barton Amey belong together.

    Regards, Jack

  26. Hi Jack

    I see your point and I have no doubt that theWm Barton Smith Amey WWI registration is for the same Wm Barton Amey in the WWII registration. On the other hand I checked the location of his home address (2836 Alameda), and the registration address (1928 W. Pratt) and they are basically across town with his work (10 E Lafayette Ave) in between. I would assume that his registration location would be close to his home. But you know what they say about assuming things so I think I will just consider the back of his card as being missing.

    By the way if you want to continue on this subject or another genealogy or Ancestry.com subject, contact me billdrn(at)comcast(dot)net


  27. Why is it that when new features are reported in the weekly news letter the web site has more characters than are reasonable? If you try to use them you get nothing but error messages that the site can’t be located.

  28. I sent a help message about the WW11 cards and the wrong
    information on the back of the cards.

    My Grandfather, William Field Trent was 61, born in Patrick
    County, VA on March 14, 1881 and lived in Dunbar, Kanawha County, WV. when WW11 broke out.

    Grandpa was about 5’11, black hair (going bald on top), hazel/
    green eyes.

    What I got with his front of the card was of a man living in
    Mullens, WV in Wyoming County with a crooked back – 5’3 and
    127 lbs with blond (light) hair.

    How do I find the correct “back” card??????

    Linda Trent Brown

  29. When will the Registration Cards from WWII 1942 be available for those that registered in West Virginia and Virginia


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