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Sunday, 11.13.05:  World War I Draft Updates

I get a daily e-mail from, which tells me what databases they've updated. Friday it was World War I Draft Registrations.

Missouri has a great database of World War I Army Cards where I found my grandfather Walter Price and a couple of his brothers, so I never paid much attention to the Ancestry data. But Friday I went chasing.

There's always something thrilling about seeing the actual record, not just an extraction of data, so here are the six I dug up. Click on the thumbnail images below the main one to see each card in turn.

Moses Flanagan Thos Flanagan Harry Kralemann Walter Price Chas Keville Thos Barrett

Thomas Patrick Barrett (grandfather): tall and... stout?

Moses R Flanagan (great uncle): the bad boy -- registering from the City Work House

Thomas J Flanagan (great uncle): a machine hand, short and slim

Harry August Kralemann: (the guy we think was married to my aunt Nellie) Tried to get a deferment.

Walter Price (grandfather)

Charles Keville: (great grandmother's youngest brother, who lived with Aunt Delia in Chicago)

What I Didn't Know About WWI Registrations

There were only 3 registration days: Jun 5, 1917; Jun 5, 1918; and Sept 12, 1918. They turned into big patriotic holidays, when businesses and taverns closed. Parades were held and often loved ones accompanied their boys to the draft board. America had been at peace and the regular Army had shrunk to a small force, but our Allies were getting the stuffing kicked out of them over in Europe, so millions of men had to be mobilized.

Registration was only the first step. From there a lottery was held to determine who would be inducted.

Of the six cards I found, only Walter Price and Harry Kralemann wound up serving. My grandfather Tom Barrett was old enough to have registered in 1917 but, being married with a child and a business, he apparently had something else to do that day. He did come forward on the third go-around, but by that time, Armistice was only two months away.

Irony: The reluctant warrior Walter lived a long life. The ones who got to stay home weren't so lucky. Tom Barrett died from surgical infection in 1926; Charlie Keville died in 1930 at the age of 55 (cause unknown); Tom Flanagan died of delirium tremens in his 30s; and the year following his registration Moses was gunned down on the streets of Chicago.



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