Modern Software Experience


Amsterdam Archive Sites

  1. Many Hands


Today the Gemeente Archief Amsterdam (Municipal Archive Amsterdam) officially introduces two websites. One is, the other is Home Page site

The looks nice, but if you browse safely (JavaScript turned off - I use Firefox with NoScript), the site's main menu does not even work. The site appears to be dead. It is as lively as a parrot pining for the fjords.
The site is not very accessible either; images lack the mandatory alt attribute. When you do allow JavaScript, and get ready to type a name, the box with search fields jumps away! The screenshot above shows the box with search fields below the box with the main menu. As soon as you try to type anything into any of the search fields, the two boxes switch places. That is not remote user-friendly, but seriously annoying instead.

Oh well, the site is not entirely finished yet. The handleiding is supposed to provide a manual, but actually provides an English lorem ipsum, that starts with Ouch unblushingly yikes hamster more over unwound behind rewrote wholesomely oh exotically much jadedly starkly greyhound or forthrightly overran incorrectly some ancient one inside ahead more since aurally artificial dense.. The gebruikersvoorwaarden (terms of service) and tarieven (rates) page contain comparable nonsense. I expect this to be replaced by more informative content soon. Home Page

militia registers

The site offers scans of Dutch militia registers. The militia registers started during the French occupation. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, King of Holland, introduced the conscription in 1811.

The militia registers were maintained locally, and rest with regional archives. Until today, research into these registers had to be done in these regional archives. Today, the national website offers access to militia registers from 16 participating archives. The intention is to grow that number, and eventually offer all Dutch militia registers.

what's in there now

The site is in Dutch. There is no English user interface. However, the site is not hard to use. A few peeks through Google Translate and a little bit of trial and error is all you should need to start searching for Dutch ancestors.

It is important to keep in mind that does not offer access to all Dutch militia registers. Most, but not all, militia registers survived. Not all regional archives are participating in the project yet. The deelnemede archiven (participating archives) link leads to a page that lists the participating regional archives, and for each of these archives the municipal militia registers they offer on the site; the place names and year ranges. You will only find records from the conscription registers information for those places and years.

Moreover, is a project in progress. Thousands of pages have been scanned and indexed, but many more still need to be done. Home Page


By the way, if you do read Dutch, you'll find the background information provided on the site itself somewhat helpful in understanding the Dutch militia registers, but you'll really like the link they placed to De Militieregisters 1815-1922 by B. Koerhuis & W. van Mulken. This is a broncommentaar (source commentary) published by the Stichting Archief Publications (Foundation for Archive Publications). First printed in 1986 (ISBN 90 7125 1055), this 74-page book is now available as a free PDF. The literatuur (literature) page links to brief introductory pamplets published by several regional archives, but this book provides the most detailed description.

well-known Dutchmen

The site has a Bekende Nederlanders (well-known Dutchmen) page. Most are not very famous. I am sure most older people will remember former minister-president Willem Drees, but I doubt that an average Dutch schoolkid would recognise even one name on that page. The internationally recognised name Van Gogh is on that page, but it isn't the famous painter himself, it is merely an official nephew.
The page is not only about well-known Dutchmen, but about a few funny cases as well. The page lists the remarkable name Jonas Walvis (Jonas Whale), and a rejection for a rather odd reason; Hendrik Terbrugge was rejected because he had, incorrectly, been entered into the militia registers as being a female. browsing


The site isn't a mere index, like Genlias is. The site offers scans of the original militia registers themselves. Searching through the index is free, but downloading the scans is not.
You need to pay for scans, so the site requires a login. You can register on the site itself, but also login using FaceBook, Google or Windows Live. I registered with the site, and was surprised to find that I had been granted a credit of 500 units, and even more surprised to log in after the official presentation and notice that my credit had increased to 600 units. I attended all the presentations, and no one had told me that would happen. I did register and log in during the last day of the beta period, and do not expect militieregisters to continu to give away free credits.

When you search for a name, you are shown a list with results. When you browse through that list, a small window to the right of the lists shows a thumbnail of the scan. When you click that image, the site displays the scan, with zoom and scans options. browsing

Scans cost one credit each, and I've been told that will amount to 50 cents each. There is no ability to buy credits yet, and you don't need to buy credits yet either. The text below the thumbnail says Deze afbeelding is gratis tot 10 november.; this image is free until 10 November.

You can earn credits by indexing scans on the new VeleHanden (Many Hands) site.



The Dutch Militia Registers project was the first VeleHanden project to start, and became the first to be completed.