New World War I Records Online: Draft Board Registers

Rae Gifford Digital Archives, History, Research

Archives Month is here again and this year we are focusing on the centenary anniversary of the end of the First World War. With that in mind, we will be posting weekly blogs discussing the war related records in our collections that we have digitized for online access. (Previous Posts: 145th Field Artillery Scrapbook, WWI Service Questionnaires)

List of names of persons who registration cards are in possession of this local board

Division of Archives and Records Service, World War I draft board registers, Series 2229, Millard County (Page 490a)

As the United States entered the “Great War,” President Wilson instituted the Selective Service Draft on May 18, 1917, which authorized the registration of men between the ages of 18 and 46 for potential service in the war against Germany. A system of district and local boards was created to register, select, examine, and induct men into service. The first registration began on June 5, 1917. All men aged 21 to 30 registered with their local draft boards. A second registration was held on June 5, 1918 for those that had turned 21 up to that point. A final registration was done on September 12, 1918 that expanded to men aged 18 – 45. After the war ended all local draft boards were closed.

About the World War I Draft Board Registers

Utah created local draft boards throughout the state, some counties even had to have more than one board. The Department of Administrative Services (Utah). Division of Archives and Records Service World War I draft board registers series (Series #2229) contains copies of basic military draft board registration data for Utah counties. These records were photocopied from the holdings of local draft boards, arranged by county, and microfilmed by the Military Records Section of the State Archives.

The forms include registration lists (federal form 101 PMGO), which list the individual’s number, name, and address given on the registration card. An updated form allowed notation of the man’s race. These lists were simply a register of cards in the possession of the local board. The chairman and/or secretary of the board signed and dated the lists. Other forms document induction into service (federal form 1029 PMGO) and provide a variety of information including, name, occupation, the specific camp to which a man was being assigned, and even whether or not the man failed to report to military authorities. Each of the counties provided registration forms, and most of them also have induction forms. Only a few counties provide mobilization data, which included information about the whether the individual was accepted or rejected at the mobilization camp, or maybe didn’t show up at all. The Boards mailed all finished copies of the forms to the Provost Marshal General Office in Washington D.C.

Unfortunately, because the images were filmed from copies of records, some images may be poor quality or hard to read depending on the microfilm.

Do you have family in the Draft Board Registers? Share them in the comments!

Also, remember our Brown Bag Lunches are every Wednesday at noon in October! On October 24th join us for “Noble Warrum’s Utah in the World War with Beau Burgess (Fort Douglas) and Alan Barnett (Utah State Archives). We hope to see you next week!