Lake County Ohio GenWeb

World War I Draft Registration

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WWI Draft Project

There were three registrations for the draft in World War I, each with its own lottery:

          The first, on June 5, 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31, with this lottery held July 20-21, 1917.

          The second, on June 5, 1918, registered those who attained age 21 after June 5, 1917.(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.) This second lottery was held June 27, 1918.

          The third registration was held on September 12, 1918, for men age 18 through 45. The third lottery was held September 30-October 1, 1918.

When the first draft lottery for WWI was held on Friday, July 20, 1917, The Telegraph listed the names of men from the first registration in Lake County called to serve. These names appeared in a series of lists from Saturday, July 21 through Monday, July 30. Then on Thursday, August 2 the complete list was published.

LCGS has digitized this list so it can be searched both alphabetically and in call-up order. Members who helped with this project are: Nancy Frederick, Les Snyder, Sally Malone, Cynthia Turk, Herb Turk, and Marianne Wiley.

WW I Draft—Background Information

Monday, July 16Quota To Be Raised by the Selective Draft Quotas for the draft on Friday will be 8143 for Cleveland and 40 for Lake County. Full credit will be given for enlistments in the army, National Guard, and marines.

Tuesday, July 17 Draft Lottery is Set to Take Place Saturday; Provided All States are Ready “With the great draft lottery set for Saturday, special agents were today ordered to New York City and several of the middlewestern states to speed up those districts. There are ten states still incomplete… In case a few districts cause further postponement, the war department will rush federal officers to those districts.”

“The census estimate tangle in congress will not alter or delay the draft according to General Crowther.”

Thursday, July 19Big Draft Drawing For Service Men; Drawing Friday A.M. Determines Order for Call “At 9:30 tomorrow morning in room 226 of the senate building America’s greatest lottery, to determine the order in which her men are to respond to the call for democracy will be held.”

“The war department today announced the system of lottery that will fix the order in which America’s millions must step forward to serve. The entire registered rolls of more than 9,(65)0,000 men will be drawn and the order of their examination determined at this drawing. The lottery will consume but one hour.” [This is followed by a complex description of the lottery which is detailed below. Note that this procedure was not used; it was replaced by the drawing of 10,500 numbers, as stated in the following paragraph.]

Friday, July 20Selective Draft Delayed by Change—Proceeds at 9:30; Numbers from 1 to 10,500 to Be Picked and Each Applies to Corresponding Numbers in Each District Some delay in starting the drawing today was inevitable because of the shift in plans late yesterday. The 10,500 capsules containing the numbers were finished early this morning and some of the officials were late in arriving. Secretary Baker arrived in the Senate office building at 9:20. A great crowd had already jammed the corridors. When 9:30 rolled around, several details were still incomplete.

[Later on Friday] Announcers at Washington Are Pretty Near “Alll In.” Of the first 2000 numbers drawn none are low enough for Lake County. “A bulletin from Washington informs us that on the basis of the drawing of the 2,000th number at one o’clock this afternoon, the lottery will last until 3 a.m. Saturday. The announcers are slowing down and are getting hoarse, and are changing shifts frequently.”

Monday, July 23 Your Serial Numbers to See if You are Drafted: Every Man Who Registered Was Drawn and the Telegraph Will Publish Names and Numbers as They Were Drawn It is entirely unnecessary for those registered to spend any time finding out their serial numbers. It is unfortunate that some of Cleveland newspapers advised all registered to go to the draft boards and get their serial numbers. Many young men have taken time from their work, and even lost a half day’s wages in order to go to the county seat and get their serial number. It may satisfy their curiosity to get the serial number, but aside from this, it is not at all necessary for them to go to the trouble or spend the time required to go to the county seat and get the numbers from the draft board.

In the draft at Washington on Friday every number of every registration district in the U.S. was drawn, and the drawing only determined the order in which the various serial numbers will be called when the call to the colors is made.

When the official call is made the serial numbers for Lake county that are called to the colors will be given out by the selective draft board; will be published in The Telegraph and those called will then probably be notified by mail or otherwise personally, and notified when to appear before the board for physical examination.

Reported for several days following July 21First Four Thousand of Numbers Drawn at Capitol Takes 806 from Lake Co. The Lake County Draft Board has issued the following statistics in regard to the selective draft, which shows the exact number of Lake county men drawn in the first four thousand numbers drawn Washington.

The first 500 drawn called 113 from Lake county.

The second 500 drawn called 88 from Lake county.

The third 500 drawn called 109 from Lake county.

The fourth 500 hundred drawn called 103 from Lake county.

The fifth 500 drawn called 112 from Lake county.

The sixth 500 drawn called 97 from Lake county.

The seventh 500 drawn called 94 from Lake county.

The eighth 500 drawn called 90 from Lake county.

Saturday, August 4, p. 2—More than 75% called for Army examinations claim exemptions. Disqualification for physical conditions ran much higher in big cities than in towns free from congestions.

Description of the WWI draft that appeared in The Telegraph

[Ed. Note: This procedure was not used. It was replaced by a drawing of 10,500 numbers (enough for the largest draft board). This description is included here to illustrate the complexity of governmental programs even in that era]

Thursday, July 19, 1917 pages 1 &2—Big Draft Drawing The entire registered rolls of more than 9,650,00 men will be drawn and the order of their examination determined at this drawing. The lottery will consume but one hour.

Only 1,000 numbers are drawn and eleven others fix the order of the thousands.

The one thousand numbers are printed on small squares of paper, black on one side. These slips are rolled up and inserted in gelatine capsules with the black side out. To insure absolute accuracy the capsules repose in ten glass globes—100 in each—sealed and locked in the war department vaults.

At the hour of the lottery the one thousand capsules will be poured into one large glass globe and stirred by a blindfolded man.

The eleven capsules numbering from nought to ten will be placed in another globe. Another blindfolded man will draw out the capsules one by one, break them, and hand them to an announcer. During the drawing the capsules will be stirred constantly.

This drawing will merely determine the order that men must appear for examination in their district. As there are more than 10,000 registered men in the largest district in the national and 120 in others the national drawing must determine the order of service in the smallest district as well as in the largest.

First the numbers from nought to ten inclusive will be drawn to determine the order of the “Thousand groups” on the master-lists. Next are drawn the numbers from 1 to 1000 to determine the order inside the “thousand groups.”

For instance, if the drawing of the “thousand groups” result this way: 8, 5, nought, 2, 4, 3, etc., that will determine the order of the groups by thousands.

Then if the drawing from 1 to 1,000 globe starts this way, 876, 44, 500, 1, 43, etc., the first number on the muster list would 8000 plus 876 or 8,876; the second number would be 8,0[3]4; the third 8,500; the fourth 8001 and so on.

After the “8000” has been added to the 1 to 1000 list in order, then the number 5-in the “thousand group” is picked up and applied in the same way. Although only 1011 numbers are drawn, it makes a list of 11,000 numbers when all the “thousand group” numbers are applied.

This is the muster list. It can be used in any district in this way. Starting at the top, the list numbers that do not apply to a district are ignored and the boards pass down the list until any number on any registration card in their district is found. The man holding the number is first to report in the district. The second number following on the list denotes the second man, and so on down.

The war department instructed registrants to [t]ry to imagine the numbers in one long single column list of 10,000 numbers. Then look down the list ignoring all numbers except those in their districts. For a registered man to find his comparative position in his district he must necessarily know the number of registered men in that district.

About the transcription

These tables are copied from The Telegraph, August 2, 1917. The first column lists the Draft Number (the order in which the Registration Number [second column] was drawn in the lottery). The third and fourth columns are the Surname and Given Name(s) of the person to whom the registration number was assigned. The table was then duplicated, with one copy sorted by Draft Number and the other sorted alphabetically by name. Both sorts are available at Morley Library, but only the alphabetical sort is provided on this website.

While microfilming was probably state of the art at the time this paper was archived, a number of problems kept cropping up regarding readability during the transcription. Most derived from the relatively small print of the original, as well as the age of the document at the time of archiving. These issues included:

          Distinguishing between 6, 8, 9, and 0.

          Distinguishing between 1 and 4 (and sometimes 7).

          Distinguishing between 3 and 8.

          Distinguishing between 5 and 6.

          Distinguishing between 2 and 3.

          Distinguishing m from nn, and M from N.

          Distinguishing i from l (lower case ‘L’).

It also appears that some errors were made by the newspaper at the time of publication.

          A person may appear to have more than one registration number.

                      In a few cases, this is because there is more than one person with the same name.

                      A more common cause appears to be misreading of the registration number, leading to one person having two listings in the paper, while another, unknown, person is not listed at all.

          There appear to be errors due to the newspaper personnel misreading the written names on the registration cards, such as ‘Incvig’ instead of ‘Ludwig’ and ‘Ueubeller’ instead of ‘Neubeller’.

          There may have been simple typing errors as well.

In most cases, we have left the newspaper’s entries and added our own. These entries can be distinguished by treatment of the questionable data; in our transcription, the Telegraph’s version of the suspect data are bolded, while our suggested changes are in bold italic. The changes resulted when an editor felt the name was not a usual name for Lake County, or the letter arrangement did not make sense. Those were verified with the draft registration cards on It is the researcher’s task to determine which is correct. This procedure was only done to assist the researcher in locating a draftee, and was not an attempt to make the list entirely correct.

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Last updated 21 May 2009

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