Our Family Goes to War
The 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I was April 6, 2017. There are not very many left who can remember the impact of this momentous decision on our home lives. There are still lots of Bondurants (of all spellings) who “did their bit” in the next great conflict of World War II, or have heard many stories from those who did. So this issue is dedicated to documenting and remembering those who served the “Great War” as it was called.
Over 4.7 million men and women served in the regular U.S. forces, national guard units, and draft units. There were 53,402 killed in action, 63,114 deaths from disease and other causes, and about 205,000 wounded. New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio furnished the most soldiers. Newspapers of the era often dedicated whole pages to the casualty lists issued by the Adjutant General’s Office in the War Department for the whole nation. Unfortunately these lists do not include the names of men who were wounded and did not die of their wounds. Nor do they include those who served in the Navy or Marines.
This article is prepared in remembrance of the many hours of research on Bondurants in the military of all eras by our late cousin Clint Bondurant (1953-2014) of Senoia, Georgia. He frequently gave talks at BFA meetings about the information he had found, and always shared his knowledge with anyone who asked. Thanks, Clint!
Documenting Service in World War I
Research on those who saw active service in World War I is made more difficult by the fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO, in 1973, which destroyed approximately 80% of the records for U.S. Army personnel discharged Nov. 1, 1912 to Jan. 1, 1960.
The National Archives has a great website with articles by Constance Potter, a retired reference archivist, called “Documenting Doughboys” with numerous hints and resources for looking up your World War I service person (yes, women went over as nurses, ambulance drivers, shuttle pilots, support staff, and telephone operators).1
1 The Documenting Doughboys website link is located at http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/commemorate/family-ties/documenting-doughboys.html
Henry Benton Bondurant of Bazine, Kansas
Henry Benton Bondurant was born 23 Apr 1891 in Bazine, Ness County, Kansas, son of John Allen Bondurant (1863- 1952) and Rose Wybrandt Bondurant (1869-1928). He died 24 Sep 1977 in Garden City, Finney County, Kansas. He married Edna Catherine Antenen 31 Dec 1923. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1973.
His World War I draft registration card was filled out on 24 May 1917, and says that he was 26 years old, a student at Kansas State Agricultural College and single. He is of medium height, medium build, has brown hair and dark eyes. When asked if he had grounds to claim exemption from the draft, he said that he has stomach trouble and has a farm. He signed the form H B Bondurant. When he filled out the World War II draft registration card in 1942, he was the minister at the First Baptist Church of Fort Lupton, Weld County, Colorado. His height was 5’ 8 1⁄2”, brown eyes, grey hair, weight 160 lbs.
Many thanks to his granddaughter, Sharon Talley, for sharing his photo and dog tags with us.
Henry Benton Bondurant, in his WWI uniform, shared by granddaughter Sharon Talley on the BFA Facebook page (used with permission)
Henry Benton Bondurant's WWI draft registration card, from Ancestry
Henry Benton Bondurant's WWI doglegs, courtesy of his granddaughter, Sharon Talley
Henry Benton Bondurant's WWII registration card, from Ancestry
You can create a memorial of your own doughboy, with stories of service, photos, etc., at
You may also create a remembrance page on the National World War I Memorial’s Roll of Honor at
World War I Service of Bon Durant, Bondurant, Bundrant & Bundren Servicemen
Compiled by your editor from records found on Ancestry.com and Fold3.com July 2017
The World War I draft registration records contain thousands of men’s names, with birth dates, place of birth, height, weight, hair color, eye color, place of employment (1917-1918), and their nearest relative. But these records do not indicate actual service in the war. So we have used the US Army Transport Service passenger lists, US Marine Corps muster rolls, US Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS death files, Alabama military card files, and headstone applications for military veterans from 1917-1919 to compile the information below.
Do you have a World War I Bondurant (or other spellings) veteran in your family? We’d appreciate your sharing any information about him (or her) so that they can receive the recognition they deserve.
U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
In 1917 and 1918, approximately 24 million men living in the United States completed a World War I draft registration card. That accounts for approximately 98 percent of men in the U.S. born between 1872 and 1900. The total U.S. population in 1917-1918 was about 100 million individuals, so close to 25 percent of the total population is represented in these records.
The WWI draft registration cards database can be an extremely useful resource because it covers a significant portion of the U.S. male population in the early twentieth-century. If you had family in the United States during WWI, you are likely to find at least one relative’s information within this large collection. In addition, these cards contain more than just names and dates; they can contain significant genealogical information such as birthplace, citizenship status, and information on the individual’s nearest relative.
History of the Draft
On 6 April 1917, the United States declared war on Germany and officially entered World War I. Six weeks later, on 18 May 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed, which authorized the president to increase the military establishment of the United States. As a result, every male living within the United States between the ages of eighteen and forty-five was required to register for the draft.
The period of 1880-1920 was a high immigration period to the United States. Young men were required to register for the draft regardless of their U.S. citizenship status. Of course, not all the men who registered actually served in the armed forces, and there were some who enlisted and served in the war but did not register for the draft.
The World War I draft consisted of three separate registrations:
First Registration. The registration on 5 June 1917, was for men aged twenty-one to thirty-one – men born between 6 June 1886 and 5 June 1896.
Second Registration. The registration on 5 June 1918, was for men who had turned twenty-one years of age since the previous registration—men born between 6 June 1896 and 5 June 1897. Men who had not previously registered and were not already in the military also registered. In addition, a supplemental registration on 24 August 1918, was for men who turned twenty-one years of age since 5 June 1918.
Third Registration. The registration on 12 Sept 1918, was for men aged eighteen to twenty-one and thirty-one to forty-five—men born between 11 Sept 1872 and 12 Sept 1900.
Draft Registration Cards
Each of the three separate registrations used a slightly different version of the draft registration card. Because different cards were used for the three registration periods, the information included in each varies. In general, the registration cards included the following information:
• Full name
• Home address • Date and place of birth • Age, race, and country of citizenship • Occupation and employer • Physical description (hair and eye color, height, disabilities) • Additional information such as address of nearest relative, dependent relatives, marital status, father’s birthplace, or previous exemption from service
The date and place of registration and the name of person taking the registration can give clues as to place of residence at that time.
The card used for the first registration (sometimes called the Twelve-Question card because of twelve questions on the front) includes this information: name, age, address, date and place of birth, citizenship status, employer’s name and address, dependent information, marital status, race, military service, and physical appearance. (see examples above and below)
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.
Bondurants on the World War I Draft Registration List
Your editor has abstracted from the World War I Draft Registration database on Ancestry.com any entries with any variation of the Bondurant name, including Bon Durant, Bonnerant, Bundran, Bundrant, Bundren, and Bundrum. This table is 26 pages long, legal size, 10 point font, so it is obviously too large to include in this issue of the newsletter. So we have posted it here.
WWI Draft Registration List
If you would like to share photos of your own World War I veteran Bondurant ancestor, either in the newsletter or on the webpage (or both), please send the digital files and details to your editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include a phrase that gives us permission to use your materials. Thanks!