Gilpin County, Colorado, WW I Draft Registration
FhGS member Jerry Sherard
On May 18, 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed authorizing the President of the United States to temporarily increase the military establishment of the United States. The Selective Service System, under the office of the Provost Marshal General, was responsible for the process of selecting men for induction into the military service, from the initial registration to the actual delivery of men to military training camps. At that time the population of the United States was about one hundred million. Very nearly 25% of that population is represented by this Draft Registration.
Selective Service System was made up of 52 states (or territories) and 4,648 local boards. District boards were established by the President (one or more for each Federal Judicial District). The average district board had jurisdiction over approximately 30 local boards. Local boards were established for each county or subdivision in each state with a population over 30,000 persons. The local boards were charged with the registration, determination of order and serial numbers, and classification of draftees.
During World War I there were three registrations:
The first, on June 5, 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31. These men were born between 1886–1896. They answered a form containing twelve questions including order and serial numbers (assigned by the Selective Service System), full name, date and place of birth, race, citizenship, occupation, personal description, and signature. (18–20 year olds were initially exempt).
The second, on June 5, 1918, registered those who attained age 21 after June 5, 1917. Those who were born in 1896-1897 This registration covered men who had become old enough during the previous year. This form had ten questions including name, date of birth, birthplace, citizenship and father’s birthplace. (A supplemental registration was held on August 24, 1918, for those becoming 21 years old after June 5, 1918. This was included in the second registration.)
The third registration was held on September 12, 1918, for men age 18 through 45. These men were born 1872-1886 and 1897–1900. This group included about fourteen million men. They answered a twenty question form which included name, age in years, date of birth – not birthplace, citizenship, and address of nearest kin.
These draft registration cards are arranged geographically - not by date of registration. It is important to note that not all of the men who registered for the draft actually served in the military and not all men who served in the military registered for the draft. Moreover these are not military service records. They end when an individual reports to the army training camp. They contain no information about an individual’s military service.
There are also 18 rolls of records on M1509 for the World War I Draft Registration Cards of Indians, prisoners, the insane, men in the hospital, and late registrants. The cards for all of Colorado are found at Denver Public Library, 10 W. 14th Parkway, Denver, CO 80204, 720-865-111. Microfilm #G973.91, W893co. Gilpin County, Colorado Draft Registration is in Vol. 19.