Quick tip – Did he serve after all?

Sometimes, the marriage supplements will include a National Militia certificate that says the groom fulfilled his military service because he did not have to serve. It could be that his lot number was too high, or that he was exempted because a brother had served, for example. It is always a good idea to check the local enlistment records anyway, because sometimes they did not have to serve, but did so anyway.

I recently had a case like this for a client. I saw the ancestor did not have to serve, but looked up the enlistment register anyway since it often has the physical description. In this case, it said he did not have to serve as a conscript because he was already serving as a volunteer in the royal navy. That led me to find his navy muster roll, which showed an impressive career spanning fifteen years on three continents, involving battles in the East Indies, and a medal, and then joined the Royal Dutch East Indies Army for another ten years of service. A fascinating part of the ancestor’s life that the client had no idea about, all unlocked because of one simple lookup.

Battle of Simoseki, 1864. Credits: Maritime museum Rotterdam (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.


  1. Hi Yvette,

    I’ve often wondered about this. My grandfather didn’t have to serve because his brother did – I found this in his military intake in 1914 (it clearly states he didn’t join up at that time), not in his huwelijksbijlagen. But the family lore has him serving as a motorcycle courier in WWI – we have photos, and he met my grandmother while based near her home, so it seems unlikely to be fiction. I can’t find him at all in militieregisters.nl. Any thoughts how I could follow up further? I’d love to find out more!


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