When Genealogy Severed My Great-Grandfather’s Pinky

Abe Yorker's WWII draft cardWhen I found my great-grandfather in the database of WW II Draft Registration Cards (the “old man’s draft” for civilian men between the ages of 45 and 64), the back of his card revealed shocking information:  he was short a pinky!

I immediately forwarded my surprising find to three of Abe’s grandchildren. They talked amongst themselves, conferred with Abe’s son-in-law, and agreed they had no recollection of his missing a pinky. But who could fake such an injury to the draft board?!

The answer is simple: he wasn’t missing his pinky, but the previous guy in the pile was! More than a day after starting the controversy, I happened upon this explanation:

Note regarding the images for the states of DE, MD, PA, and WV: These four states were microfilmed at the National Archives in such a way that the back of one person’s draft card appears in the same image as the front of the next individual’s card. Thus, when viewing the scanned image of each person’s original draft card you will see the correct front side of each person’s draft card, but the back side of the previous person’s card.

Five years later, Ancestry still has not fixed the images.  FamilySearch also has it wrong.  Only Fold3 has it right, and now I know:  The poor, pinky-less man is Wister Wellie Yorke, and Abe’s real defects are “moles on nose and left cheek.”

Caveat Investigator

Also in this series:
The Four Days Isaac Fine Went Insane from Syphilis

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