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...]
Dutch term – Signalement
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 6' tall. At 6'5", my husband is considered to be tall, but not unusually so. This Youtube video explains that in the past 150 years, Dutch men have … [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 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...]
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 article will give an overview of the most frequent Dutch terms and their translations. … [Read more...]