A One Name Study

WW1 Draft Card Registrations

1917 - 1918

Updated: 27 Oct 2011

WW1 Draft Registration Cards are a very valuable resource when researching your ancestors. They not only provide the name of the person registering, but depending when they were required to register, it would include a birth date, and quite possibly the town in which the person was born. Many Italian men wrote their last names first, and many did not know how to write so try different options when looking for your ancestors.

Name Changes and Ellis Island

The problem I found with many of the records I have looked through is the spelling of both the first names and the surnames which is clearly obvious from the links at the right. Some were just transcription errors. Other mistakes occurred simply because of the language barrier. Many Italians couldn't speak English nor could they write at all. Some records are signed with the mark of an "X" for this very reason and the clerks who filled out the cards spelled the names as they heard them or thought how they should be spelled. Teachers also changed childrens names when they couldn't pronounce them.

Very rarely, if ever were names changed at Ellis Island as people often believe. Paperwork for immigrants traveling were done in the immigrants home country and proper documentation was required or the person was not allowed to sail. Even if people changed their names in the US they used their real names when sailing or on any legal document.

Some excellent articles on this subject can be found on EOGN: Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter or on RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees..

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