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WWI Draft Registration Cards at National Archives and Records Administration, Southeast Region

WWI Draft Registration Cards at National Archives and Records Administration, Southeast Region
August 23, 1999

The following information is provided by the National Archives and Records Administration, Southeast Region, in response to recent postings on several list serves concerning World War One (WWI) Draft Registration cards maintained at our facility. Unfortunately, the original posting, and subsequent, altered postings provided incorrect information about these holdings and related reference procedures. To better serve the public and the research community, we provide the following information and guidance concerning the WWI Draft Registration cards:

  1. The original cards, in excess of 24 million, were received at our facility a number of years ago. Upon their receipt, they were boxed and arranged by NARA employees. The original arrangement was by state, there under by county or draft board, and there under alphabetically by the registrant's last name. The cause for arrangement by draft board instead of county is due to the size of certain cities. For example, New York City had in excess of 180 boards, Chicago had over 80. As a result, we require a street address when searching for cards in most large cities.
  2. The cards were later microfilmed by representatives of the Genealogical Society of Utah in the exact order they were originally arranged; each NARA regional facility has a copy of the microfilm for the states in the region that it serves. Any patron wishing to use microfilm will find the cards arranged exactly as they are in the box. The arrangement of the cards has never been changed.
  3. NARA, Southeast Region, has provided a request form for these records for a number of years. The forms can be ordered via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , telephone: 404-763-7383, or in writing: NARA, Southeast Region, 1557 St. Joseph Avenue, East Point, GA 30344.
  4. At a minimum, the following information is required from the requestor for NARA staff to conduct a search for draft registration cards:

Full name of registrant
Complete home address at the time of registration (to include county)
Name of nearest relative

  1. Additional information, if known, which can improve the thoroughness of a search includes:

Birth date
Occupation of registrant

  1. In July, 1997 NARA established an updated fee schedule for services provided to the public. The minimum mail-order fee for photocopies for each WWI Draft card was increased from $6.00 to $10.00, a fee which includes both sides of the card. Patrons need not request that both sides of the card be copied, and patrons need not submit a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) with their request.

Walk-in customers can make self-service photocopies of the original records for $0.10 per side. Please contact individual regions for their policies regarding microfilm copies. These fees are copying fees only; there is no charge for searches when a record is not located.

The staff of the NARA, Southeast Region, remains committed to assisting our patrons in anyway possible, including the timely and accurate dissemination of information concerning our holdings and services. The WWI Draft Registration cards represent only one of many significant collections of historical records maintained by the Region that are invaluable for genealogical research. For additional information regarding our holdings and services, visit our home page at

JAMES J. MCSWEENEY, Regional Administrator
National Archives and Records Administration, Southeast Region



When You Hit That Wall

When You Hit That Wall
Prepared by Electra Kimble Price, AAGSNC, September 19, 1998
1. Do a census history on all heads of the household.
2. Track down all of the wives/mates and the children by each.
3. Check the Mortality Schedules from 1850 through 1880.
4. Check all the variations on the spelling.
5. Review the data taken from the census schedules and see if it is consistent. Weigh the evidence.
6. Try to get counties with all of your events. Once you have them, check to see what boundary/border changes have come about. Maybe the data that you are seeking is not in the county that you have listed for the individual.
  • (A good source for this is: Map Guide To The U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920. William Thorndale and William Dollarhide. This gives you the maps so that you can see what towns were included in the counties, and just how and when they changed.
7. Compile information about each ancestor by time period and place. Figure out what records would be available to document and verify what you have.
  • Federal: U.S. Census Records
  • State: Census data generated at the state level, also death records.
  • County: Marriages, land and probate records
  • City/Towns: Directories and Histories
  • Repositories: Church records stored in repositories.
8. Funeral Homes and Church Cemeteries
9. African-American Universities, Colleges, Institutes, etc.
10. Military Records
11. Social Security Death Index
12. College and University Libraries
13. Give each person a birth, marriage, and death date even if you have to do an estimate.
14. Find a "Genealogy Buddy" and go over your information and have them play the "devil’s advocate".


Researching Your Roots at the Family History Center

Researching Your Roots at the Family History Center
Second article in a series by Electra Kimble Price
Who? What? Where?

In preparation for research into your family history you should be able to have the answers to the following questions.  If you do not have exact answers try to have approximate dates and places:

1.  What side of the family are you going to research first?

2.  Who are the five oldest relatives alive?  About how old are they and where do they live?

3.  Where were they born?

4.  Be prepared to name (on both sides of the family) your father or guardian, grandparents and great grand parents.

5.  Figure out what relatives were alive in 1920 and in what states they were residing.  Make a list.  The latest Federal Population Census Schedule that you will be able to search is 1920.  The Privacy Act requires that a little over 70 years must pass before it [the census data] is available for public use.  It is important to do a census history on your family by starting with 1920 and working backward to the 1790 [census].  The first enumeration began on the first Monday in August in 1790 and every 10 years after that.

6.  Are there death certificates put away from which you can extract information?  Take time to examine the information given.   Determine if the name, marital status, and race of the deceased and the county of death fits with the information that you knew or though you knew.  The place of death, the place of usual residence and sometimes a street address.  With this information you can check a city directory.  Begin with the year of death, and go back year by year until you no longer find them listed.  Check all the people with the same surname and other connected surnames.

City Directories

City directories usually have a separate listing for each person of working age, even when they live at the same address.  The city directory should give a place of employment for each person who is employed.  The death certificate also gives the occupation and sometimes the place of employment.  You could look that up in the directory and find out more about the employment.

Church Records

If you know the religion you can check the city directory or the telephone book for the church.  This may lead to church records.  The death certificate will also tell you the name of the institution where the person died, another possible source of information.  The cause of illness could reveal some hereditary factors of prime importance.  Accidents, suicides or homicides may result in a newspaper article.  The attending physician may give you information.

The certificate usually has the location of the cemetery and the funeral home.  Another source of information.  The Social Security numbers have been included in the past 3 decades.  Using the SS# you can get a copy of the deceased's application form.  It gives full name, date and place of birth, as well as parents' full names including the mother's maiden name.


Always analyze the relationship of the informant to the deceased.  If you don't know the relationship, find out.  It will probably lead you to a genealogical connection.  If you find a birth date and place on the certificate then you have a lead to an official birth certificate.  Each bit of data that you find gives you clues and leads to other sources that will help you add to your family history.

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Walker County, Texas Cemetery Records

The Huntsville Item, Saturday, May 8, 1999

Woman to Index Black Cemeteries

By Michelle C. Lyons
The Huntsville Item

Most local genealogy enthusiasts know the pains of trying to trace the Walker County roots of early Black families - although the predominately white cemeteries are indexed, the traditionally Black cemeteries are not.

That's why one California woman has made it her mission to catalog not only the names and locations of all of Walker County's Black cemeteries but also everyone buried inside.

Ruth Stubblefield first realized Walker County's need for a Black cemetery index when she tried to track down information about her great-grandparents, who lived in Walker County for many years.

Stubblefield contacted the Huntsville Public Library, where she was told that, although burial, records were on file for the primarily white cemeteries, there were no such records for the principally Black cemeteries.

"There was a need for (such an index) here," she said. "Other people like myself come looking for information about their folks, and they either won't find it or will get discouraged."

Stubblefield decided to pack up her recreational vehicle and make the journey to Huntsville to make an index of her own. She anticipates that the project will take

about six months to complete.

So far, Stubblefield has been able to locate more than 20 predominantly Black Walker County cemeteries. Many she has been made aware of simply by word of mouth.

"I talk to a lot or older folks who know where these places are," she said. "There are a lot of smaller cemeteries and lots of big ones."

Once she locates the cemeteries, Stubblefield's plan is simply to walk through each one looking at each headstone and making a record or each person's name as well as their date of birth and date of death. The information then will be compiled into an index to be kept at the Huntsville Public Library for public use.

Stubblefield added that there are more people buried in the cemeteries than she actually will be able to find, simply because some people were buried with no headstone or markers.

Stubblefield said she feels the project is a worthwhile one, especially if she is able to help just one family trace it's roots.

Should anyone have information about the whereabouts of predominately Black Walker County cemeteries, they are welcome to contact Stubblefield through the Huntsville Public Library at
(409) 291-5472, or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Researching the Period of Enslavement

Researching the Period of Enslavement
By Valencia King Nelson.  May 6, 1994

One of the most effective approaches to identify enslaved ancestors is to identify the plantation at which the ancestor worked and the holder of the enslaved family.  Research then focuses upon the slaveholder’s family and the records it produced as slaveholders, as well as on the enslaved family itself.


1.  Look at the records of your family in the Federal 1870 (your State) Census or any special census conducted by the State.

2.  Pay attention to the county, township, post office, and surrounding families. The composition of African American households in 1870 has closely reflected the composition of African American families prior to 1865.

3.  Check the 1850 or 1860 Slave Census for the slaveholder’s name. Sometime the surnames of ex-slaves recorded in the censuses are the surnames of former slaveholders. You may have to check the Agriculture census to determine land ownership of the slaveholder.

4.  Compare the 1850 or 1860 population census with your findings in the slave census.

5.  Once you have established the owner(s) of an enslaved ancestor, begin to research the owning family in the public and historical records. Some of the records by which slaveholders kept an accounting of their property identified slaves. Estate records are among the most valuable of such accounts. Wills, inventories, appraisements, and annual returns named slaves, gave their ages and sex, sometimes described physical characteristics, and may have indicated occupations, and blood and marriage ties.

6.  If the slaveholder died before 1865, look at the clusters of first names found in the owners/holders estate records. First names can often be linked together from the population censuses.

7.  If the slave holder is still living after the Civil war (1865), begin to look at the owner’s annual returns, account books, business receipts, medical notes, birth registers, diaries, letters, and bills of sale. Many ex-enslaved became tenant farmers or sharecroppers after the War.

NOTE: If the family owned land, deed records are helpful in tracing the original owner. Any legal transactions concerning the land would be recorded.


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