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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Draft Cards


Dear Friend L,

So I just finished indexing my last batches of the "1942 Louisiana WWII Draft Registration Cards".  I love indexing.  You totally have me hooked.  Thanks for teaching me how to do it.  My husband started in 2007, but I wasn't interested then so I just let it go until a few weeks ago when you taught me.

This project was for men born on or after April 28, 1877 and on or before February 16, 1897.  As I entered the information for hundreds of men, I thought about them.  These men were all age 45 to 65.  That means that some of them served in the first world war.  What were they thinking?

Were these men excited and hopeful to fight again?  Were they tired and weary of world conflict?  One man was 77 (which was out of the age group).  Was he confused and filled out the wrong card?  Or did want to feel patriotic and so he filled one out anyways though it wasn't required at his age?  I don't know the answers to these questions.

One man I noticed was a reverend.  His birthday was also on Christmas.  I wondered if there was a correlation.  Maybe he grew up with an affinity for Jesus Christ, because they shared a birthday and it drew him to become a reverend, or maybe not, but I wonder about these men and their lives.

I felt sad for one man.  For his address he wrote "in a shack between the railroad and the airport".  For the name of someone who would always know him he wrote "no other living relatives".  He was 65 and I wondered if he was lonely.

On the back of the draft cards the men had to put descriptions of themselves.  Height, weight, distinguishing marks and more.  Many had nothing irregular about themselves, but some had scars, eye glasses, moles, and the occasional tattoo.  Many had parts of fingers missing.  Probably from farming or machinery accidents.  I tried to put together a mental picture of some of these men and what they must have been like in 1942.

I am sad the project is over.  I took a lot of ownership and pride in it.  Names are indexed in alphabetical order and I had names from C to Z because I started a little late.  I always checked as often as I could for more batches to appear, because I wanted to do as many as possible.

I am excited to start a new project.  I am excited to learn more about family history.

Gratefully,
Lindsay

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