gahetNA in the National Archives

I’m searching for non-commissioned officers and soldiers in the army in the Dutch West Indies 1815-1950

The Nationaal Archief holds the service book records of regular service personnel in the Dutch West Indies. These contain information on the service personnel who were stationed in the Dutch West Indies, i.e. in Suriname (Dutch Guiana), the Netherlands Antilles or along the coast of Dutch Guinea in Africa. There are various series of service books, each with a different name. For example, there are the Supplementary Folios (suppletiefolio’s), the Dutch West Indies book (West-Indisch boek), the General Service Book (Algemeen Stamboek), the Full Service Book (Volledig Stamboek) and so on. You will find all these books in catalogue reference 2.10.50: Service books and pension records of the Ministry of Colonies concerning service personnel in the Dutch East and West Indies.

How do I proceed?                                                                            

Your research begins with the question of whether the serviceman you are looking for enlisted in the Netherlands or in the Dutch West Indies. A separate series of service books was kept for each category.

 

Service bookWhere enlistedYear of departure/enlistment
Supplementary folio

Enlisted in the Netherlands
In Harderwijk up to 1909, then in Nijmegen

1815-1949
Dutch West Indies BookEnlisted in the Dutch West Indies1935- ca. 1948

If you do not know where the serviceman enlisted, you can try to trace them through their pension records.

If you do know where the serviceman enlisted, you can follow one of the two sets of instructions below:

For more information on the service book entries and for more help with your research, click on the links below:

Other sources

  • Beelen, Liesbeth and Geert de Kinkelder, Soldaten Overzee, aanwijzingen voor het doen van onderzoek naar officieren en personeel van het Koninklijk Indisch Leger en het leger in West-Indië 1915-1949 (The Hague, 2004). This research guide (in Dutch) is available in the reading room at the Nationaal Archief.
  • Kompagnie, Jan ed., Personen op Papier, overzicht van archief- en bibliotheekbestanden met gegevens over persoons- en beroepsgroepen in het Nationaal Archief. This research guide (in Dutch) is available in the reading room at the Nationaal Archief. If you look under the terms ‘Civil Servants’ (ambtenaren) and ‘Servicemen’ (militairen) and then under the subterms ‘Africa’ (Afrika), ‘Colonies’ (kolonieën) or ‘Dutch West Indies’ (West-Indië), it will point you to records that may help you with your research.

Tracing servicemen through pension records

To trace a serviceman through the pension records, first look in inventory numbers 760 and 761 in catalogue reference 2.10.50. These inventory numbers contain indexes of names which are searchable.
Catalogue reference 2.10.31 contains alphabetically arranged pension payrolls from the Ministry of Colonies covering the period 1868-1925. You can find these payrolls in inventory numbers 1-232. Inventory number 233 relates specifically to Suriname and Curaçao.
You will find the pension records for the Dutch West Indies, including the coast of Dutch Guinea, in inventory numbers 140 and 141 in the archive of the Netherlands Court of Audit (Algemene Rekenkamer), Office of Fixed Payments (Bureau Vaste Posten), catalogue reference 2.02.09.04.
When you have found the serviceman you are looking for in these files, you will find their service book number there which you can use to find the service book record.

Enlisted in the Netherlands

Did the serviceman you are looking for enlist in the Netherlands? If so, you can start by searching the indexes of names on microfilm. Start by searching in the year in which you know, or think, the serviceman enlisted. Servicemen had to be at least 16 years old. When you are searching these indexes of names, pay attention to how the names are alphabetised. Many of the names are simply grouped according to the first letter of the surname. But sometimes you will see a combination of two letters: the first letter of the surname, followed by the first vowel.

  1. Collect films 16 and 17 from stack D18, drawer 2.
  2. Search for the right person in the index of names and make a note of the registration number. From 1835, this is the number in the second column after the name.
  3. In catalogue reference 2.10.50, look at inventory numbers 578-606, the series of supplementary folios, and make a note of the inventory number in which the registration number you found appears.
  4. Request this inventory number on the computer in the reading room and look for the registration number in this inventory number. You will find the service book entry for the servicemen you are looking for there.

Enlisted in the Dutch West Indies

Did the serviceman you are looking for enlist in the Dutch West Indies? If so, you can start by searching the indexes of names on microfilm. Start by searching in the year in which you know, or think, the serviceman enlisted. Servicemen had to be at least 16 years old. When you are searching these indexes of names, pay attention to how the names are alphabetised. Many of the names are only listed by the first letter of the surname. But sometimes you will see a combination of two letters: the first letter of the surname, followed by the first vowel.

  1. Collect film 17 from stack D18, drawer 2.
  2. Search for the right person in the index of names and make a note of the registration number. NB: This is the number in the first column after the name.
  3. In catalogue reference 2.10.50, look at inventory numbers 609-612, the Dutch West Indies Book (West-Indisch Boek) series, and make a note of the inventory number in which the registration number you found appears.
  4. Request this inventory number on the computer in the reading room and look for the registration number in this inventory number. You will find the service book entry for the servicemen you are looking for there.

Abbreviations and references in the service books

A service book record may also contain references to other service book records for the same serviceman:

  • S or Sf with a registration number. This refers to earlier or later military service in the Supplementary Folios series.
  • WIB with a registration number. This refers to earlier or later military service in the Dutch West Indies Book series.
  • V.S. or Voll.Stamb. or Extr.St. with a serial number. This refers to the Full Service Book (Volledig Stamboek), which can be found in 2.10.50.02, in inventory numbers 300-630.
  • K.R. or Kol.Res. refers to the Colonial Reserve service books, catalogue reference 2.10.50, inventory numbers 496-509 and 513-532. You will find the indexes of names for these service books on films 14 and 15 in stack D18, drawer 2.
  • R.v.Afm. refers to the Discharge Registers (Registers van Afmonstering). You will find these under inventory number 165-167 in 2.10.50.01.
  • Gagt.fo. refers to the Payment Folio (Gagementsfolio), a page in the pension register. You will find this under inventory numbers 760 and 761 in 2.10.50.
  • A.S. or Alg.Stb. or Presentnr. with a registration number. This refers to service book records in Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. These records are not kept at the Nationaal Archief.

Additional help with your research

  1. Service books and pension registers sometimes refer to decrees and other documents in the chronological archives of the Ministry of Colonies and to governors’ decrees. You will find these documents in catalogue references 2.10.01 (up to 1850), 2.10.02 (1850-1900) and 2.10.36.24 (1901 onwards).
  2. A person’s military career could sometimes be interrupted or followed by a civil service position in the Dutch West Indies. You will find the service books of these civil servants under inventory numbers 891-899 in catalogue reference 2.10.36.22. The index of names is in catalogue reference 2.10.23. These service books mainly relate to officers of theMarechaussee(military police).
  3. The archive of the Netherlands Forces in Suriname (Troepenmacht Suriname) 1900-1975, 2.13.63, also contains personnel records, but no service books. For service book records after 1950, you can contact Bureau RIOP, Postbus 7000, 6460 NO Kerkrade, The Netherlands.
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