Dutch term – Signalement

Signalement is the physical description. You can often find signalementen in military records, prison records, or in police bulletins. It is rare to find a physical description for ancestors before say 1800. See a list of Dutch terms in physical descriptions for more information. … [Read more...]

Why are the Dutch so tall?

When I visited Salt Lake City earlier this year, I was once again reminded that the Dutch are the tallest people on earth. At 1.75m (5'9"), I'm a bit above average height for a woman in the Netherlands, but in the US I was taller than most men and women. Here in the Netherlands, almost all of my male friends and some of my female friends are over … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Find out what your ancestor looked like

In the marriage supplements, the documents that a bride and groom had to submit when they got married, you will usually encounter a certificate stating that the groom had fulfilled his military duties. About half the time, this form will include a physical description. See elsewhere on this site for a list of terms with their translations. The … [Read more...]

Physical descriptions in military records

As part of the appendices to a marriage record, the groom had to submit proof that he had fulfilled his military duties. This certificate of the National Militia often contains a physical description. In some cases, the physical description is left blank, for example if the man did not have to serve because he had brothers in the army already. This … [Read more...]