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Making sense of old handwriting

Military Records

Dutch Military
American Soldiers Holding Hands with Children Dressed in Traditional Dutch Clothing 

From 1816 to the early twentieth century, a system of conscription was in place in the Netherlands. All young men had to have their details recorded in a register, and from there, those who were to serve would be randomly selected. Until 1898 the wealthy could pay for a replacement. The records typically contain:

  • Name of the young man 
  • His date and place of birth 
  • His residence and occupation 
  • His parents 
  • Some information about his physical appearance. At the bare minimum, his height was recorded. 

A good site to look for these records is Barbants Historisch Informatie Centrum or bhic. FamilySearch is also a great place to look for such records.

Types of Military Records

Military records begin about 1700 and give information about an ancestor’s military career, such as promotions, places served, pensions, and conduct. In addition, many of these records include information about his birth date and place, residence, occupation, physical description, and parents’ names.

The records you will find include:

  • Muster rolls, monsterrollen
  • Conduct lists [conduitelijsten]. 
  • Service records (personnel files), stamboeken
  • Conscription lists, conscriptielijsten
  • Militia records, militieregisters
  • Draft records, lotingsregisters
  • Lists of officers, officierslijsten

Records of military service in the Netherlands were kept by separate regiments of the army, navy, and militia and also by the municipal governments.

There are three main divisions of military records:

Army, Landmacht, Officers, Officieren, 1579–1795. Index to records mostly housed in the General State Archives at Onderzoek Informatie or on FHL film 937950.

Navy, Marine, Officers, Officieren. Indexes are at the Central Office for Genealogy. Service records are at the General State Archives. WWII Navy Veterans' death events can be found at the Veteranen Instituut website

Sailors, Schepelingen, 1814–1906. Indexes and service records for 1839 to 1880 on FHL films 487373 to 487399. Indexes and records for 1814 to 1829 and 1904 to 1906 are available at the General State Archives.

Marines, Mariniers, 1814–1888. Indexes and service records on FHL films 487372 and 487400 to 487407.

Military Service under Napoleon: During Napoleon's occupation, many men, young and old, were forced to fight in the army and navy. If you have knowledge of an ancestor serving at that time, you can see if the French historical military service will be able to help you. Their main website is: SHD. All information is currently available in French only. The FAQ gives an idea of what information you might be able to find. Their research guide gives advice on how to search their new archive.

Online access to records

GeneaKnowHow is always a good site for records, especially those from a specific place.

The National Archives in 's-Gravenhage (The Hague) has an online index for their pre-Napoleonic military records. The originals have to be viewed either in person or for a fee.

Netherlands Army Service Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

Soldaten-Genealogie contains useful information about pre-Napoleonic regiments and military organization, including the dates and places associated with each regiment. There is also an index of some soldiers.

The National Archives, WieWasWie, and OpenArch Records all have indexes and images for the records of the VOC.

The Wolters Collection of Military Marriages is available on the FamilySearch Catalog.

Information Extracted from the BYU Family History Library​​


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