My great-uncle Lester Clifton of Springfield, Illinois registered for the WWI draft and on the bottom left side of the draft card is a large zero or uppercase 'O'. I cannot find out what this marking means.

UPDATE: Here is an image of the draft card (courtesy of GeneJ): enter image description here

  • Interesting. I viewed the record and note also that a large X appears marked through the left or front side of the card.
    – GeneJ
    Oct 23, 2012 at 18:32
  • Viewed the record of a Lester Marion Cox from the same place; his record also has the X marked through and O stamped at the lower left.
    – GeneJ
    Oct 23, 2012 at 18:35
  • Ha! Lester H Crist has the O, but no X marked across. Note that the three cards I viewed were all from the same place, and all from the earliest draft (5 June 1917)
    – GeneJ
    Oct 23, 2012 at 18:37
  • 1
    I had forgotten about the large X crossing the page. I thought it might have meant he didn't qualify for some reason or that he had died in the war and they marked his card to show that at the local level. Thank you for the input. Oct 24, 2012 at 20:08
  • As you can tell from my comments above, I really like this question. I'm tempted to add the digital image, just so folks see how pronounced that "O" really is.
    – GeneJ
    Oct 24, 2012 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


I suspect O means they are of draft age, and X means too old. In our area (southern Ohio, northern Ky) the draft board had two forms. One had blank area in bottom left and was used for older men. Another had "If person is of African descent, tear off this corner" printed on bottom left. This second card was used for all men age 30 and under. I'm sure the cut-off age changed as the war progressed.

  • 1
    If you had sources, I'd upvote.
    – Luke_0
    Oct 24, 2012 at 16:02
  • I had just never seen this before and I do a lot of research for others. I appreciate your ideas and will see what else I can find out. Thank you. Oct 24, 2012 at 20:11
  • @Luke - It's just an observation, going through 20 or so cards I have collected for local family members. Can't say if other areas did this. Oct 25, 2012 at 1:18
  • He was born in 1895, which would make him age 22. That can't be "too old".
    – RonJohn
    Dec 7, 2020 at 1:34

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