I’m searching for a serviceman during the time of the French Empire 1795-1813
The Nationaal Archief holds the military service books, lists of names, conduct records and pension records of servicemen during the time of the French Empire. This only concerns servicemen who served in the Dutch forces. This collection is incomplete, so it is entirely possible that you won’t find the person you are looking for in the lists of names, even if you know from another source that he served in these forces.
How do I proceed?
Start by searching in the digital index Army: service books 1795-1813 on this website. Enter the name of the person you are looking for and press Search. The results will appear underneath the search field. When you click on a result, you will see the inventory number and the page number on which the service book of the person you are looking for can be found. You can request this inventory number and view it in the reading room. All these service books are located in the archive of service books, lists of names, conduct records and pension records of army officers, non-commissioned officers and other personnel between 1795-1813 (2.01.15).
You can also search in the paper indexes of names in the reading room. You will find these in the following archive inventories:
- 2.01.16 A-G
- 2.01.17 H-O
- 2.01.18 P-Z
- 2.01.34 A-E
- 2.01.35 F-K
- 2.01.36 L-Q
- 2.01.37 R-Z
- 2.01.38 Additions and corrections
You search the various indexes by the first letter of the surname. This means that you will consult two indexes of names, as well as 2.01.38 containing additions and corrections. Once you have found the name, you will see two numbers next to the name. The first one refers to an inventory number in the archive inventory you are searching in, and the second one refers to the page number on which the person you are looking for appears in that inventory number. On the computer you only enter the catalogue reference and the inventory number.
In the service book you will not only find the service record but also the height, age, place of birth, occupation, description, religion and marital status of the person you are looking for.
Sometimes you will see more than one number after the name in the index. This means that this serviceman appears in more than one service book, or that there was more than one person with the same name. To get as complete a picture as possible, we recommend asking for all these numbers. It is not necessarily the case that the highest number will provide the most information.
In addition to the service books, lists of names, conduct records and pension records, you can also consult the pension registers. These contain the person’s rank, the amount of pension they received and sometimes their date of death. You will find the index to this register under catalogue reference 2.01.20 in the reading room. If the serviceman you are looking for is listed in the index, you can request the relevant register on the computer. The inventory number is the number in front of the dash.
You are looking for Hendrik Sijmons. You consult indexes 2.01.18, 2.01.37 and 2.01.38 for the letter S. In index 2.01.18 you find the following:
Sijmons Hendrik 10-91
On the computer, request:
catalogue reference 2.01.18
inventory number 10
When you are given the service book, look at page 91.
The above example refers to a service book, but it is also entirely possible for an index (in particular catalogue references 2.01.34 to 2.01.38) to refer to a name, conduct record or pension record. These lists provide less information than service books. A list of names sometimes only mentions the person’s rank and age.
Are you looking for a serviceman who served under French command?
At the Nationaal Archief you will only find the death certificates of Dutch soldiers who served in the French army, and then only servicemen – almost exclusively below the rank of officer – who died in a hospital or other public institution. When consulting the index of names, note that the spellings of the names are ‘Frenchified’. For example, De Jong becomes Deyongue.
If you are looking for a serviceman who went to Russia with Napoleon, you can obtain information from:
Service Historique de la Défense (SHD)
Boite Postale 166
00468 Armées Cedex, France
You will need to specify which regiment the serviceman concerned served in.