Renee Steinig <rsteinig@...>
Checking the Discussion Group Archives, I see that there's been very little
conversation here about the World War II draft registration cards.
Commonly known as the "Old Timers' Draft," the Fourth Draft Registration
covered men born between April 28, 1877 and Feb. 16, 1897 -- men who were
between 45 and 65 in April 1942, when the registration was held. Citizens
and aliens alike were required to register, including men who had served in
prior wars. Each registrant was asked his full name, residence, mailing
address and telephone number, birth date, birth place, age, name of employer
and place of employment, name and address of a person who would always know
his address, and physical description. In many cases, a town of birth is
Note that the government had no intention of drafting these middle-aged men
for active military service. The registration was held to document their
occupational skills for possible use in the war effort.
Over 900,000 cards for the five boroughs of New York, as well as cards for
New Jersey and Puerto Rico, are housed at the National Archives-Northeast
Region, 201 Varick Street, Manhattan
(www.archives.gov/northeast/nyc/new_york.html). They were originally
organized by draft board, making access difficult, but were alphabetized
about three years ago by volunteers >from Long Island's Italian Genealogical
Group and other local organizations. The NYC cards are alphabetical within
each borough; the NJ cards are organized by county.
More recent news about the cards held at Varick Street is that they have
been microfilmed by the Family History Library in Utah and are now available
through Family History Centers. For film numbers of the NYC cards, search
for the keywords ** Selective Service New York ** in the library catalog,
www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp . At this time only
the microfilms for Manhattan (118 rolls), Brooklyn (119 rolls) and Queens
(63 rolls) appear to be listed in the library catalog, but according to
"informed sources," the Bronx (30 rolls), and Staten Island (9 rolls) have
also been filmed.
In the past, the National Archives on Varick Street responded to mail
requests for searches of Fourth Registration draft cards (up to three names
at one time for $10). I've tried to find out >from NARA whether this service
is still available but haven't received an answer to my email. I also don't
know whether NARA staffers will still bring out the boxed cards for
researchers' use or if we're now expected to use the microfilm. Maybe
someone who has been at NARA NY recently can shed light.
For other localties, "Old Timers'" registration cards may be at one of the
12 other National Archives branches around the country
(www.archives.gov/facilities/index.html) and some have been filmed by the
Family History Library. Substitute other place names for New York in your
keyword search of the FHL catalog for additional results, including records
for many New Jersey counties.
According to Leslie Corn's excellent article, "World War II Fourth
Registration Draft Cards: A Newly-Released 20th-Century Resource for
19th-Century Research," originally published in the Winter 2002 newsletter
of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, registration cards
for many cities and towns, including the rest of New York State, are still
with the Selective Service in Washington (www.sss.gov/records.htm). To see
that article and others on the subject, search Google.com for the words **
World War II draft cards **.
Renee Stern Steinig
Dix Hills (Long Island), New York