Military: World War I, Lisbon and Sussex

      Comments Off on Military: World War I, Lisbon and Sussex


  World War I: The Volunteers and Draftees of Lisbon Township (incl. Lannon) 

Hugh Donald Campbell; WWI, American Expeditionary force in France, 1st Sgt. of Co. A, 343 infantry, 86th Division.

WWI Civilian Draft Registrations

Name Birth Date Ethnicity Birth Place City/CountyState

Arthur John Rosier 17 Jan 1873 W mom lives SussexWI Lincoln ID

Orlo James Billings 17 Jan 1895 W Lisbon WIPalm Beach FL

Otto Bernard Abramski 12 Dec 1896 W Lannon WIWaukesha WI

In 1917 and 1918, approximately 24 million men, (98 percentof men present in America), born between 1873 and 1900 completed draftregistration cards. During these two years, three registration days were held ineach district where the registrant completed the registration card. Informationfound on these cards generally included, among other information, birth date,birth location, father’s birthplace, and the address of next of kin. Thiscivilian registration is often confused with induction into the military;however, only a small percentage of these men were actually called up formilitary service.

Originally posted to Ancestry.comin January of 1998 and taken from the original draft cards, this databaseprovides information on some of the men registered. This update, part of anongoing project, adds over 300,000 names to the previously posted database andbrings the total number of names provided to 1.2 million. It adds information onregistrants from Florida, Mississippi, and South Dakota.

It should be noted that aliens wererequired to register but were not subject to induction into the Americanmilitary. Persons already in the military did not register. Recent Italianemigrants wrote their last names first, resulting in some cards being filedunder first names. Cards of Hispanics may be filed under their mother’s maidenname surname if the registrant gave both parents’ surnames. Also, men whoresided in British territories sometimes listed themselves simply as Britishcitizens without noting their origin in Canada, Australia, Ireland, Jamaica,etc. Illiterate men were unable to spell their names and birth location, soresearchers should be quite flexible in searching for the spelling of names ofilliterate men.


NOTE: Thisdatabase, although providing information on over 5% of all men registered,represents approximately 13% of all counties nationwide. Researchers will findcomplete coverage of Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, and Nevadaand a good representation from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii,Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska,New York City, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Vermont.

Extended Description:
In 1917 and 1918, approximately 24 million men born between1873 and 1900 completed draft registration cards. Those who are not familiarwith draft procedures often confuse this civilian registration with inductioninto the military. In reality, a minority of those civilian men who registeredwere ever called up for military service.

The draft was essential in raising thelarge numbers of men needed. Voluntary enlistment had not produced the needednumber. Establishment of a draft was controversial in both the U.S. and Britain.President Wilson proposed the American draft and characterized it as necessaryto make “shirkers” play their part in the war. This argument won overkey swing votes in Congress.

Aliens residing in the United States wererequired to register for the draft although they were not subject to inductioninto the American military. In some frontier locations, such as Alaska, aliensformed the majority of registrants.

Men already on active duty in the militarywere excluded from draft registration. Because some men who completed draftcards later voluntarily enlisted, it is difficult to determine exactly how manyactive duty military men never completed a draft card, but the number would bebetween 300,000 and 600,000. Registration of eligible men has been determined tobe close to 100%, which means that about 98% of adult men under age 46 living inthe U.S. in 1917-18 completed registration cards.

During this 1917-18 period, an especiallyvirulent influenza pandemic killed mostly young adults. As this influenzasituation affected draft registration, some men under age 21 were dead by thetime it came their turn to register in 1918.

In practice, only three draft lotterieswere held. Those registrants whose numbers were drawn were then subject toinduction unless they could show good cause why they should not be inducted. Thethree registration days for these lotteries were held:

a) June 5, 1917 for persons born 1886-1896. About 10 million men registered onthis date. Those who completed this registration card listed birth date, birthlocation and other information. Because of specific opposition from Congress,18-20 year olds were initially exempt.

b) June 5, 1918 for persons born 1896-97. This group of about one million menwho had recently become old enough to be drafted during the preceding yearregistered on this date. Those who completed this registration card listed birthdate, birth location and other information. They also listed their father’sbirth location. About half of these men had only vague information about theirfather’s birth location.

c) September 12, 1918 for persons born 1873-1886 and 1897-1900. Almost 14million men registered on this date. Those who completed this registration cardlisted birth date, but not birth location. A detailed listing of the address ofnext of kin on this card, however, can provide valuable information, especiallyin cases of recent immigrants.

In addition, a tiny number of men whoturned 21 in August, 1918, registered in that month.

A small number of dates on the cards varyfrom these three registration dates. These probably represent errors orregistration filings by persons who were prevented from registering on thedesignated dates. A few men were allowed to register early due to hardshipsituations, including a situation where they were scheduled to be traveling orout-of-town on registration day. This was so interpreted in New York, forexample, to allow the wealthy business executive John D. Rockefeller Jr. toregister early because of a business trip.

On the designated registration days,businesses and schools closed down in most communities. Saloons closed in moststates. Registration started at 7 or 7:30 a.m. and lasted until late at night.In New York City, boat horns were blown to announce the start of registration,and in Provo, Utah whistles performed a similar function. In Vicksburg, MS,church bells and whistles were used. In Jackson, MS, cannons at the old statecapitol building were to have been fired at the start of registration, butorganizers had difficulty finding gunpowder. Similar noise-making eventsoccurred across the country.

Family members often came with theregistrant to the registration site.

Patriotic parades were held on the firstregistration day, as in Spanish Fork, UT, where registrants were included in theautomobile parade. In Memphis, TN 25,000 marched in a loyalty parade. GeneralWood addressed parade participants in Birmingham, AL. In Hinds Co., MS, aregimental band went from one registration place to another, playing patrioticmusic for the registrants.

On the first registration date, it wasintended that the tally of registrants was to be wired that night to Washington,but most boards were not able to meet this goal because they were overwhelmedwith the task of processing registrants. Some boards had to call for additionalvolunteer staff due to the large number of registrants. In Salt Lake City, adeputized registrar made a tour of the hospital on registration day registeringmen unable to leave the hospital. These hospitalized men could also haveappointed someone to obtain the registration card prior to registration day fromthe city or county clerk.

Volunteer interpreters were recruited andassisted with the registration of those who did not speak English. New York Cityreported a shortage of interpreters, especially of those who spoke uncommonlanguages.

In the vast majority of cases, volunteerstaff at the local office filled in the information on the card, and theregistrant then signed his name. Instructions for filling in each question onthe card were posted for all to read at each registration site, and the localnewspapers sometimes printed copies of sample cards in the days prior toregistration. One photo taken in New York City shows an all-female staff at along table interviewing seated registrants. Many of these women were teachersfrom the city schools, which had closed for the day.

A few of the microfilmed cards are actuallycopies of the signed originals, and the signatures on these copies thus exhibitthe same handwriting as the rest of the card. The microfilmed cards of the 35boards in Detroit, MI seem to all be copies which have been alphabetized into aunified set combining all the Detroit boards into one file.

If the draft registration district weredensely populated, as in New York City, then only one site was typicallyavailable for registration. More commonly, multiple sites were made available ineach county, often corresponding to voting sites.

Men who registered were given bluish greencertificates to prove they had registered. The certificate was embossed with aneagle at the top and merely stated who had registered where on what date. Thiscertificate was signed by a registrar. In Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune statedthat law officers could demand to see this registration certificate at any time,and a man without a card was then subject to investigation. Also, passports werenot issued to men in the affected age groups unless they could produce draftregistration certificates. The Vicksburg Evening Post warned its westernMississippi readers that the federal government could easily determine who hadnot registered through school, insurance and other records, and the impressionwas also left that registrants’ names would soon be printed in the newspaper sothe public could determine who had not registered. This paper also reported thatsuch sensational rumors had spread around on registration day that some blackregistrants rushed to their registration site in an out-of-breath state. Thereis no available evidence that extraordinary measures were taken to track downthose who failed to register.

Source Information: Banks, Ray, comp. World War I CivilianDraft Registrations. [database on-line] Provo, UT:, 2000.

Database comprises partial index ofmicrofilmed draft registration cards: United States. Selective Service System. DraftRegistration Cards, 1917-1918. National Archives Microfilm Publications:M1509, Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1987-88.

What Do I Do Now?
Researchers are encouraged to view the original registrationcard to which this index refers, as it has not been possible to include in theindex all the information on the cards, such as street address of next of kinand detailed information about locations.

These registration cards have beenmicrofilmed by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. A copy ofthis microfilm is available through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-daySaints and is housed at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT andavailable in branch family history centers throughout the world. The draft cardmicrofilm reels are listed in the church’s Family History Library Catalog underUNITED STATES — MILITARY RECORDS — WORLD WAR I.