gahetNA in the National Archives

I’m looking for a serviceman who served before 1795

The army of the Republic of the United Netherlands (1588-1795) is known as the States Army. If you are looking for somebody who served in this army, you can search the archive of the Council of State. As the operational organ of the States General, this council was responsible for the army.

But it must be stressed that the archives of the Council of State are far from complete. Only about 20 service books from the period up to 1795 have survived. These all date from the 18th century. Wherever possible, conduct, rank and recruitment lists have been added to these service books. In general it can be said that the chance of success for the period before 1773 is virtually zero. More records survive for the period after 1773.

How do I proceed?

In the Council of State archives, catalogue reference 1.01.19, a database has been created containing the names of servicemen who appear in the service books, conduct records and recruitment lists. This database can only be viewed at the information desk in the reading room.

If you find the name you are looking for in the database, you will find the serviceman’s regiment along with the inventory and folio number of the record. You can request the item using catalogue reference 1.01.19 and the inventory number you found. The folio number takes you straight to the appropriate page.

If you know from another source who the person you are looking for served under, you can also search in the Council of State archive inventory. You will find this in the archive inventories stack under catalogue reference 1.01.19. An index of names, including names of regiments, starts on page 89. Below you will see an example of this kind of search.


At the time of his marriage in 1777, Jan Willem Bloemers was a soldier in the Second Battalion of Lieutenant-General Onderwater.

‘Onderwater’ is listed in the index, under inventory number 1938.

You will find inventory number 1938 on page 50 of catalogue reference 1.01.19. After this number you will see that the conduct lists etc. for the Onderwater regiment for the period 1773-1790 have survived.

On the computer, request:
catalogue reference 1.01.19
inventory number 1938

When you have the item in front of you, look through all the items in the folder marked ‘Onderwater’.

If the serviceman you are looking for was an officer, you can also consult the commission books of the Council of State. For more information on this, please see the research guide ‘I’m looking for an officer of the Generality Lands before 1795’.


gahetNA is a website of the Society for the Nationaal Archief in cooperation with the Nationaal Archief and Spaarnestad Photo.
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