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 example below is the certificate for Arend Kastein, showing that he was 1.74 m (5'9") tall, an oval face, ordinary stern, blue eyes, an ordinary nose and … [Read more...]

Dutch term: nummerwisselaar

A nummerwisselaar or number changer was a person that was hired as a replacement for military service. Often, this was somebody who signed up in the same year, but whose number did not come up. They literally "exchanged numbers" so one man served instead of the other. In most cases, a contract between the (father of the) draftee and his substitute was drawn up before a public notary. It stipulated the terms, often involving a sum of money to be paid immediately and another sum after the … [Read more...]