Netherlands Military Records
Military records identify individuals who served in the military or who were eligible to serve. Young men after 1811 were required to serve in or register for military service in the Netherlands. Evidence that an ancestor actually served may be found in family records, biographies, photographs, censuses, population registers, civil registrations, and church 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:
Officers [Officieren], 1579–1795. Index to records mostly housed in the General State Archives at http://www.onderzoekinformatie.nl/en/oi/nod/organisatie/ORG1236292/ or on FHL film 937950.
Military personnel [Manschappen], 1700–1795. Service records, conduct rolls, rank and recruiting lists. On 32 FHL films.
Officers, noncommissioned officers, and other personnel [Officieren, onderofficieren en minderen], 1795–1813. Index to service records on FHL films 486959 to 486961. Original records are at the General State Archives.
French military service [Franse krijgsdienst], 1795–1815. Conscription lists and service records for areas annexed by France. Records of those who died in French military service. Contain name, birth date and place, parents’ names, and marital status. On 6 FHL films.
Officers [Officieren],1813–1924. Service records on 89 FHL films. The records are indexed in:
Hendrikx, C. H. M. Klapper op de Stamboeken van Officieren van de Landmacht, 1813–1924 (Index to the Army Service Records of Officers, 1813–1924). 2 vol. ’s-Gravenhage: Algemeen Rijksarchief, 1967. (FHL book 949.2 M22h; fiche 6001522.)
Noncommissioned officers and other personnel [Onderofficieren en minderen], 1813–1924. Service records on 1,502 FHL films. To use this group of records, you will have to determine the specific regiment or division your ancestor served in. You can locate this in:
- The certificate from the National Militia included with the marriage supplements until 1912 (see the "Civil Registration" section).
- The militia registers or draft registers of the town where your ancestor was living (see the "National Militia" section below).
- The following book, which lists the places where regiments and divisions were stationed:
Ringoir, H. Vredesgarnizoenen van 1715 tot 1795 en 1815 tot 1940 (Peacetime Garrisons, 1715–1795 and 1815–1940). ’s-Gravenhage: [Koninklijke Landmacht. Sectie Militaire Geschiedenis], 1980. (FHL book 949.2 M25r no. 8.)
For records after 1924, contact the Ministry of Defense at the following address:
Ministerie van Defensie
Bureau Registratie en Informatie Ontslagen Personeel
6460 NC Kerkrade
Officers [Officieren]. Indexes are at the Central Office for Genealogy. Service records are at the General State Archives.
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.
National Militia [Nationale Militie]
The national militia was organized in 1816, generating militia registers and conscription lists. Young men were registered during their 18th year of age in the municipality they lived in. They began serving in their 20th year, either by volunteering or by being drafted. Some were exempt from serving, including those with bodily impairments and those who had a brother already serving. Until 1898, drafted men were allowed to find a replacement to serve for them.
Militia records give a person’s name, birth date and place, parents’ names, and marital status. They can be arranged by municipality or by district [canton or arrondissement]. Not all of the records still exist. Where preserved, they are usually kept in the municipal archives or by the municipal secretary; some are at the state archives. Records from the provinces of Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, and Limburg have been filmed by the Family History Library.
H. J. Wolters extracted marriages of soldiers from church and civil records for 1648 to 1811. His compilations cover the provinces of Drenthe, Friesland, Groningen, Overijssel, Zeeland, and Zuid–Holland and many large towns. Each compilation is indexed by name of bridegroom, bride, former spouse (if applicable), and the commanding officer of the regiment that the groom belonged to. The records are available at the Central Office for Genealogy and have been filmed by the Family History Library.
During the war against the Spanish, many British troops were stationed in the Netherlands. The majority of these came from Scotland. The following book lists the marriages of Scottish (and Irish and English) soldiers:
MacLean, J. De Huwelijksintekeningen van Schotse Militairen in Nederland, 1574–1665 (Marriages of Scottish Military Personnel in the Netherlands, 1574–1665). Zutphen: De Walburg Pers, 1976. (FHL book 949.2 M2m; film 1604579 item 34.)
Dutch East India Company
Many soldiers were employed by the Dutch East India Company [Oost–Indische Compagnie]. Useful records are available at the General State Archives. These include:
Muster rolls [Monsterrollen], 1691–1791. The muster rolls contain names of all persons hired by the company on a year-by-year basis. The records also contain soldiers’ names, stations assigned, ranks or occupations, monthly wages, birthplaces, years of arrival, and ships. There are records for Amsterdam and Zeeland Chambers.
Ship’s logs or ship’s payment logs [Scheepsboeken of scheepssoldijboeken], 1700–1795. Records exist for Amsterdam, Zeeland, Delft, Rotterdam, Hoorn, and Enkhuizen Chambers. Yearly indexes are included. The indexes will help you learn which year your ancestor was a solider, thus enabling you to use the muster rolls described above.
Records at the Family History Library
The Family History Library has copies of many military records, primarily for 1795 to 1924. See the Place search of the catalog under:
NETHERLANDS – MILITARY RECORDS
NETHERLANDS, [PROVINCE] – MILITARY RECORDS
NETHERLANDS, [PROVINCE], [TOWN] – MILITARY RECORDS