The National Archives scanned War Department microfilmed punch cards on enlistments to support the reconstruction of the military personnel records at its National Personnel Records Center. Because of the age of the microfilm, approximately 1.5 million records could not be scanned. Scanning problems also created some errors in the digital records that present unique searching challenges. To help minimize these problems, NARA staff developed a set of Frequently Asked Questions especially for the Army Serial Number File. Despite these challenges, information about a majority of sixteen million World War II servicemen and women is available via the web site. Each record may have the enlistee's serial number and name, state and county of residence, place of enlistment, date of enlistment, grade, branch, term of enlistment, place of birth, year of birth, race, education, civilian occupation, marital status, and component. Because the records are for Army enlistments during World War II, the file does not include records for Army officers, members of other services or enlistments for other time periods. However, it does contain information on more than 130,000 women who enlisted in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.
This is the latest of the "born digital" data records related to World War II that the National Archives preserves in a contemporary digital format and makes available through its Access to Archival Databases online resource. The Japanese-American Internee File, 1942 – 1946, has records with personal descriptive data about nearly 110,000 Japanese-Americans whom the War Relocation Authority placed in relocation centers. Another file is the World War II Prisoners of War File, ca. 1942 - ca. 1947, that identifies 143,000 U.S. military officers and soldiers and American and Allied civilians who were prisoners of war and internees. Finally, the Records of Duty Locations for Naval Intelligence Personnel, 1942 – 1945, contain limited data about the military intelligence personnel attached to Naval Group China during World War II.