War Department, Office of the Provost Marshal General, Selective Service System, 1917– 07/15/1919. Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Board for Military Service, 1917–1918. NAI: 578684.Textual records. Records of the Selective Service System (World War I), Record Group 163. National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland. U.S.A.
War Department, Office of the Provost Marshal General, Selective Service System, 1917– 07/15/1919. Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Board for Military Duty in the District of Columbia, 1917–1918. NAI: 1159403.Textual records. Records of the Selective Service System (World War I), Record Group 163. National Archives at Atlanta. Atlanta, Georgia. U.S.A
The records are searchable and browsable by state and box. Within the boxes the records are arranged by local board and then chronologically by the date the draftees were ordered to report.
What You Can Find in the Records
Two forms—164-A and 1029 PMGO—can be found in this collection. They include the draftee's name, “red ink no.” (or serial number—see Historical Background below), order number, date ordered to report, draft board, and the name of the mobilization camp. Form 1029 also includes the draftee’s occupation. Form 164-A lists the date and time he reported, date of entrainment (when he left for mobilization camp), date he arrived at the mobilization camp, and date of acceptance or rejection at the camp. Both forms noted those who failed to report.
At each of the more than 4,000 local draft boards in the U.S., each potential draftee was assigned a “red ink,” or serial, number. The draft was a lottery in which numbers written on pieces of paper (in red ink) were pulled from a bowl by the U.S. Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker. Every number represented one registrant from each local board who would be called in for examination and if accepted, would be inducted into service.