My father was drafted into WWII in 1943-44. I have searched online resources extensively for his Draft Registration Card, coming up with nothing. (This surprises me as I have easily been able to find WWI and even Civil War draft cards on other ancestors, on ancestry.com.)

Does anyone have any specialized knowledge of online or analog resources for WWII Draft Registration records for Washington State?

  • The collection on Ancestry is just the draft cards from the Fourth Registration (April 1942). The US had seven draft registration periods for WWII service. Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 22:54
  • @sempaiscuba, do I need to know in which of the seven periods he entered, in order to locate the document?
    – Laurent R.
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 23:22
  • No. It's just that you won't find his card on Ancestry if he enlisted in a later registration. The records will be with the National Archives - see my answer below for how to apply. Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 0:37

1 Answer 1


The collection on Ancestry is just the draft cards from the Fourth Registration (April 1942). The US had seven draft registration periods for WWII service.

This is from the Fold3 blog:

There were seven draft registration periods in the United States for World War II service. The first draft registration was held on October 16, 1940—before the United States had entered the war. Men ages 21–36 were required to register at their local draft board. The second draft registration was also held prior to the American entrance into the war, on July 1, 1941. This registration was for men who had turned 21 since the previous registration date nine months earlier.

The third (February 16, 1942) and fifth (June 30, 1942) registration periods expanded the ages required to register; the age ranges for the third were extended to 20–21 and 35–44, while the fifth extended them to ages 18–20. The sixth registration (December 10–31, 1942) was for men who had turned 18 since the fifth registration six months prior. There was also a seventh registration, known as the “Extra Registration,” from November 16 to December 31, 1943, which was for American men ages 18–44 who were living abroad.

I believe the draft records are in two parts: the draft cards themselves, and a series of classification ledgers containing summary details. The ledgers are held by the National Archives.

However, if I understand correctly, the later draft cards are considered 'personal information'. To obtain copies you will need to complete a Selective Service System Records Request Form (NA 13172), and provide either written authority for release, or a copy of your father's death certificate.

If your father served in the US Army, you may be able to find more of his enlistment records in the World War II Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, available on the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) website.

This dataset contains some nine million War Department microfilmed punch cards on enlistments. However, it is far from complete. For more information, see the 2004 press release from the National Archives.

To search these records, click on "World War II" under the category section:


Then click on the Search button next to the Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca 1938 - 1946 (Enlistment Records):

Enlistment records

Fill in the form, using all the information you have, and click the Search button below the form:

search form

  • I removed your statement about the ledgers being in the public domain. If you meant the ledgers are accessible by the public, please say so. The term "public domain" is problematic because general readers may understand it to refer to copyright, rather than the ITAR usage: osp.mit.edu/compliance/export-control/guidance-documents/…
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 22:15
  • @JanMurphy As you wish, although I was using the term in accordance with the UK National Archives general guidance on usage. In particular, section 2, where the definition includes "information in open public records". However, whether general readers will understand the access restrictions that may apply to 'open public records' is another question entirely! ;-) Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 3:58
  • For clarity, I suggest we use the UK National Archives' guidance on usage when talking about records at TNA, but use the terminology likely to be used by the US National Archives when we're showing things at NARA or AAD. At the NPRC in St Louis, for instance, the distinction is whether the record is Archival or part of the Federal (non-archival) Holdings. If a question was about records at Library and Archives Canada, I would use the language that LAC uses. It makes it easier all around to use each archive's own terminology. See archives.gov/personnel-records-center/division
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 8:55
  • The request form says that you can request the Card and Register if the draftee has a year of birth before 1960. This may reflect a rolling window.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 8:59

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