Middle names, signatures, draft registration information and work history are all significant historical and genealogical facts available on the the United States draft registration cards for World War I and World War II.There are instances where the draft registration card was the only source of a middle name.
Exact Birth Dates
A complate and exact birthdate is also available to compare with the month and year available on the 1900 census and the social security death index. I don’t have as much luck with this piece of data. The birth years on about a third of the forms seem to be off by a year, one way or the other, but the day and month are correct. Some young men may have lied to try to get into the service and some to try to stay out of the service. Perhaps the men really didn’t care and just answered too quickly without thinking much about the questions or the answers.
Frank Felix Spierling
When census, obituaries, social security death index, tombstones, funeral records, even baptismal records might only have an initial, World War I Draft Registration Cards can be a reliable source for complete names and signatures.
Frank Felix Spierling used his complete name for both the World War I and World War II cards. In addition by comparing both registration cards from 1917 and 1942, it appears that Frank Spierling was a company man, one who worked for Gilbert and Bennett Manufacturing for 25 years.
The birth dates listed vary by one year, 28 Nov. 1887 and 28 Nov. 1888. My feeling is the World War I cards have a very high incidence of the wrong birth year, but further research into the 1900 census, the social security death index, his tombstone would all serve to solidify that birth year.
The last, but not the least important piece of data is a specific address for 1917, 1918 or 1942. A specific street address for the WWII draft registration card may translate into an address for the 1940 census. With an address, an enumeration district can be determined, so when the 1940 census is posted online in April 2012, you will have a foot up the ladder to finding someone before the indexes are completed.