Draft registration cards

 
 
 
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newonash
newonash's picture
Draft registration cards

EE 9.6 indicates that when citing an online digital image, you cite the image as you would the original and then "append" the identification of the web publication.

The first reference note example given at EE 11.33 at first glance appears to me to not follow the above guideline:

"World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 February 2007), Christopher Ferraci, serial no. 1251, order no. 367, Draft Board 7, Rochester, Monroe County, New York; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, NARA microfilm publication M1509; no specific roll cited.

"World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917 - 1918" appears to me to be the name of the database at Ancestry.com.  If so, then the note seems to be citing that database rather than the image of the registration card.  Am I missing something?

Dennis

EE
EE's picture

Dennis, whether our citation "features" (i.e., leads with the identification of) a database or the original record set for which the database provides images will depend upon several factors, starting with

  • Whether we are actually "writing" something or whether we are entering bits of data into a storage database that restricts our options;
  • Whether the nature of our research makes it feasible that we feature one over the other;
  • Whether the provider of the images gives us adequate information about the source. At the 9.6 example to which you refer, the provider does give us adequate information to cite the original register in a way compatible with all our other citations from the county courthouse. In the 11.33 example, the provider does not give us all the information we need to adequately identify the original material that is housed at the National Archives.

 

The Editor

newonash
newonash's picture

Just so I'm clear, if the Ancestry database for draft registration cards had provided the roll number (and any other missing information necessary for identifying/locating the particular draft card), then the citation would most likely have been instead created with EE 9.6 in mind?

Dennis

Dennis

newonash
newonash's picture

Following up on your comment above about situations where there is a lack of information to "adequately identify the original material":

As a part of the collection, "Massachusetts Deaths, 1841 - 1915," found at FamilySearch, there is an image of  a register with the page heading of "DEATHS REGISTERED in the Town of Everett for the Year [1874]," listing deaths from September through December of 1874.

As far as I can tell, there is no scan of the volume cover or title page available at the website.

The website's description of the collection refers to records at the state level (rather than to local records such as in the possession of the municipality of Everett).

With EE 9.6 in mind, originally I had cited it as follows:

Everett. Massachusetts, "DEATHS REGISTERED in the Town of Everett," 1874, vol. 266, p. 95, Gideon Hickok, 28 December 1874, Everett; digital images, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915," FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 6 November 2012); FHL microfilm 960,205.

Given your comment above, now I'm thinking it should be something like this instead:

"Massachusetts Deaths, 1841 - 1915," digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 6 November 2012), Gideon Hickok, 28 December 1874, Everett; FHL microfilm 960,205.  Image is of a death register with page heading, "DEATHS REGISTERED in the Town of Everett, 1874, vol. 266, p. 95.

Do you agree?  If so, how would you modify the second citation, if at all?

Dennis

Dennis

EE
EE's picture

Dennis,

You are wise to be carefully analyzing each of the record types you are using. With regard to your last question, however, the answer has to be this: when EE users are puzzled over a situation, EE tries to help them understand the principles they need to consider. But then the user gets the fun of thinking through those issues and reaching his or her own conclusion. It would be foolhardy for EE to even attempt to issue an opinion on the rightness or wrongness of an author's citation without actually using the specific set of records and using them extensively enough to well know their quirks.

The Editor

chmcgee
chmcgee's picture

I came up with the following citation for the FamilySearch database "United States World War II Registration Card, 1942," even though EE 11.33 states "the source of these images is not cited." The database does cite NARA's publication name and number, just not the roll.

"United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [Fourth Draft; 'Old Man's Draft']," digital images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 24 February 2013), card for James Livingston Hunter, serial no. 577, Local Draft Board 2, Greenville, Mercer County, Pennsylvania; citing World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm publication M1951, no roll cited; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 2,240,486.

Is this too lengthy; i.e., do I cite both the NARA publication and the FHL film or just one or the other?

Chuck

Member: APG, CAFG, NGS, etc., etc.

EE
EE's picture

Chuck,

Your citation is good and it's thorough. You question whether it is too long and ask whether you need to cite both the NARA microfilm and the FHL film. 

Why would a shorter citation be better for a researcher than a longer one?  Yes, publishers like to strip citations down to their underwear, to save printing costs. Some publishers would even strip away the underwear and outerwear both and hand us Speedos to wear to the party! But we're researchers. We need information. We need not just the information a document asserts, but also information about that document. In every aspect of research, we're usually better off with more information than not enough. If we record more than we eventually need, we can always shuck a layer. If we show up at the party wearing just Speedos and we get a rip, we might wish we had worn a bit more clothing to start with.

Yes, we want to cite full details about the document. We want to cite the online provider. But we have a few other considerations as well, starting with these:

  • We all know that the online world is often a world of here-today-and-gone-tomorrow—even at FS. (The subject of today's Ancestry Insider blog is exactly that: the seeming "disappearance" of data from FS.)  If an online resource becomes unavailable at that online site, it's definitely good to know about another way to find it.
  • If an online provider reproduces material from another source, we want to know what it used. That way, if there's a problem with one screen shot, or a missing record from a set, we can consult the source of our source. Also, knowing that our online provider used Thus-and-Such can save us from needlessly and expensively seeking out Thus-and-Such and ending up with a duplicated effort.
  • It can also be useful to know, quality wise, that our online source made its image from Microfilm Source C, which was itself a replication of Microfilm Source B, which was made from Original Source A.

EE's bottom line, if you feel your citation is buried in too many layers and you want to shuck one layer, EE's recommendation would be to shuck the FHL film number. It's useful, yes. EE would want to keep it. But the NARA part of your citation is the one that educates you about what it is you're actually using.

As for 11.33: You are right. FamilySearch is now providing much more details about this database. (As you'll notice from 11.33, at the time the example was created, FS's URL was still http://pilot.familysearch.org ... .)  FS has been making a commendable effort in this regard—and 11.33 is one of the sections scheduled for updating in the next edition.

The Editor

chmcgee
chmcgee's picture

Excellent commentary--and hilarious to boot! And a new edition of EE forthcoming? I can't wait!

Member: APG, CAFG, NGS, etc., etc.

EE
EE's picture

Just don't hold your breath while you're waiting, Chuck. :)  EE toils in a lot of fields!

 

The Editor

pdryburn
pdryburn's picture

Enjoyed reading yesterday's Ancestry Insider blog post.  Gordon's comment hits the nail on the head, though the lack of attention to detail when merging index databases is troubling.

chmcgee
chmcgee's picture

I thought I might add to this subject with another question. This time about WWI draft cards.

The person's card I am referring to is for Winfield Jerry, which I located at FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K8W9-N17). I'm confused about the numbers at the top of the card. Next to "Form 1" is the number 2674, above "Registration Card" is 599A, and the "No." field (upper right of card) is blank. Which of these numbers should I use in my citation (or neither)? What do they represent?

I looked up Clovis Julian's WWI draft card used as an example in EE's QuickSheet, Citing Ancestry.com Databases & Images, but his card is easy to cite since written in the No. field is "120." Furthermore, on the reverse of Clovis' card is stamped the New Orleans local board number, but on Winfield's the only information given is the precinct—City of Cumberland, Barron County, Wisconsin. There is also the archaic number set "48-5-3 A" stamped at the top of the back of Winfield's card. I assume it somehow relates to the local draft board, but it doesn't appear to be something I should add in my citation.

I'm inclined to either use one of the numbers on the face of the card, or leave the number out and somehow explain that in the citation; and, just cite the precinct since the local board information is absent.

Thanks in advance,

Chuck

Member: APG, CAFG, NGS, etc., etc.

Wibbus
Wibbus's picture

Did you ever find out what "48-5-3-A" referred to?

I have a Texas draft registration card with "42-2-7-C."

I have tried, and failed, to find out what those numbers mean.

EE
EE's picture

Wibbus, I posted a query on EE's Facebook page, linking to this. We'll see if your question can be crowdsourced.

The Editor

Wibbus
Wibbus's picture

Thank you.

chmcgee
chmcgee's picture

Wibbus, nope, I haven't found out what the numbers/letter refer to yet. Hopefully EE's Facebook crowdsourcing works, but now it's more of a curiosity to me than anything else.

Member: APG, CAFG, NGS, etc., etc.

Wibbus
Wibbus's picture

A curiosity for me too.  But I would like to know what those numbers mean.  

I think you're right that they are some sort of filing system for the local draft board.  I'm guessing the first numbers, e.g., 48 and 42, refer to the state, but Wisconsin wasn't the 48th state alphabetically because last was Wyoming.  However, maybe D.C. was in the list making Wisconsin 48 and Wyoming 49.  I will look for a draft card for Wyoming.

I was hopeful that I could find a local-draft-board-filing-system document, but no luck.

Brian G
Brian G's picture

Those cryptic numbers are detailed here:

 Report of the Provost Marshal General to the Secretary of War on the First Draft under the Selective Service Act, 1917(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1918), 92-158; image copy, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/reportofprovost00unit, accessed 6 April 2017)

The first number is the State, the second is the District Board and the third is the Local Board (for that particular State and District).  The appended A, B or C must be the draft (I haven't found anything exactly confirming that).

Have fun!

Brian

Brian G
Brian G's picture

Sorry, typo on the page numbers

Report of the Provost Marshal General to the Secretary of War on the First Draft under the Selective Service Act, 1917 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1918), 93-158; image copy, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/reportofprovost00unit, accessed 6 April 2017)

Brian

Wibbus
Wibbus's picture

I'm delighted to learn this.  Thank you very much.

 

Wibbus
Wibbus's picture

I looked at half-a-dozen Wyoming draft cards and they all had 49-1-1 Albany-A (I'm attaching one), so I think the first two digits are for the state.  I'll look for Alabama and see if they start with 1.

The one for my ancestor ended in "C" and his permanent address is listed as Plano, Collin, Texas, so I think the letter is for the county.  Need to test that - I'm sure many states have multiple counties starting with the same letter.

Maybe the second and third digits are related to the date the man registered.  Will look at that too.

 

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Wibbus
Wibbus's picture

The Alabama ones start with the number 1, but the letters at the end don't correspond to the county, so that theory didn't prove right.

Wibbus
Wibbus's picture

Okay - I give up for now - the North Dakota one I looked at is A-33-1-22.

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EE
EE's picture

Chuck,

You've flagged a significant point. Many records we would expect to be standard nationwide, or even on a state or county basis, will vary from one bureaucratic district to another. In these cases, it usually serves us well to raise the question in a research forum specializing in that specific area. 

I'll also post a comment about your query on EE's FB page. Perhaps someone there who is experienced with that set of Wisconsin draft registrations will see the query and offer help.

The Editor

chmcgee
chmcgee's picture

I appreciate the help!

I'm embarrased to ask, but what is the FB page?

Member: APG, CAFG, NGS, etc., etc.

EE
EE's picture

Chuck, it's https://www.facebook.com/evidenceexplained. There, we have daily tips on records, evidence analysis, and citation.  Come join us!

 

The Editor

Brian G
Brian G's picture

I thought I'd comment on this citation.  I hope my comments are helpful.

On this card from the first draft:

1251 is the serial number

1882 is actually the order number

367 is a sequential number for the card from the location where the registration actually occurred (Rochester, Ward 18)

31-7-13A identifies the actual local board (Rochester no. 7 in this case).

All registrations occurred at multiple locations (the polling places) within the area of a local board.  The first registration is the only one where that actual location was recorded.  (The local board should be really thought of as an umbrella administrative entity rather than a particular place where draftees registered.)

The location of the serial number and sequential number were defined in instructions for the draft.  I haven't found any instructions for where (or if) the order number was to be written on the card.  (I figured out the order number location after a bit of work.)

Sorry, for going a bit off topic here.  I'm happy to discuss this off list.

Brian

Wibbus
Wibbus's picture

Thank you, Brian.  I entered that number as t"actual source text" on my Legacy software Source Detail page.  One never knows when having that kind of information will come in handy.