Ask Yvette – Military passports in the 1800s

Reader Freddy Walhof asked me about the practice of military passports in the 1800s. In the military service record of an enlisted man, the column for end of service said “gepasporteerd” which means “passported.” Freddy wondered if an actual passport was issued or if this was an administrative term only.

At the end of service, enlisted men were issued a military passport. This contained an extract of their service record, including that they had fulfilled their military duties. Since these passports were handed to the soldiers, they are not kept in archives. The few that survive are often in private collections.

Example: Jacobus Johannes Wettig

The Museum Kennemerland has a military passport in their collection. It was issued in Amsterdam in 1844 to Jacobus Johannes Wettig. The passport contains all the information you would find in his service record: his name, parents, place and date of birth, physical description, the type of service he provided, the regiment he served in, and a list of campaigns and other special activities he was involved in during his service. It also mentioned how his service ended, in this case because he completed the full term he was required to serve.

Military passport. Collection Museum Kennemerland (public domain)


About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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