World War I Draft Registrations for Northern Virginia

As U.S. military involvement in World War I, 1914-1918, edged towards reality, the Selective Service System was established to register men for a military draft. Between June 1917 and September 1918, 24 million men aged 18 to 45 registered on one of a series of three dates.   Thus, we have a near universal record of men born between 1872 and 1900 and alive on their registration date. This index includes registrants for the City of Alexandria, Alexandria (now Arlington) County, and Fairfax County. Our source is microfilm from the National Archives and Records Administration RG163 M1509, roll numbers: VA3; VA4; and VA20.


The staff of the Alexandria Library, Special Collections is indebted to the staff of the Virginia Room, Fairfax County Public Library System for their gracious support for this project. Both our libraries own the microfilm indexed here and both libraries can provide prints of the registration cards to researchers.


The information collected about each registrant varied with the type of card used. We identified four different card types, or forms. The information collected that is common to all four card types is: name, age, address, date of birth, natural born, place of birth, occupation, employer, dependents, marital status, race, prior military, and exemption claim. Several of the card types also include: father's place of birth, nearest relations, and basic physical description.


It would seem that men were required to register in the jurisdiction they happened to be in on a registration date. For example, a railroad worker whose residence was in South Dakota was registered in Alexandria, and a shipbuilder whose home was in Norfolk, Virginia also registered in Alexandria. Likewise, a student at Cornell University in New York state registered at that location, but his card was sent to his home Selective Service Board in Alexandria.


A note to researchers who will use this index to obtain prints from the microfilm. Online, the names are sorted into alphabetical order. On the microfilm, the names are in rough alphabetical order (be flexible!) within each county and upon occasion, we found names completely out of order. To indicate the location on the film for these most wayward of cards, we identified the card immediately preceding, for example, a name might appear as "Doe (after Smith, H), John."


Prints of the registration cards are available.

There are 11,075 names included.   These are very large files and will take a few moments to load.

Begin by searching for a surname starting with:

A - C D - G H - J K - M N - R S - Z