Showing posts from August, 2015

Not listed on a census

This post is a response to the 52 ancestor challenge I've joined at The nominated theme for the week got me thinking about a chance discovery that actually told me quite a lot about my ancestor.

Googling away on his name one night I found a record of his military conscription at We're going back now to 1879 when Jan Hendrik Peelen in the Netherlands appeared before a Military Tribunal at age 20. It is taken from a military register held at Noord Hollands Archief.

The register lists name, birthdate, birthplace, residence, parents, occupation, height and physical description and finally whether the person was accepted into service or exempted, with the reason. My great grandfather was exempted because he was the only son and heir in the family. He had two sisters but they died at an early age. This exemption was granted on 12 March 1879.

I knew that he was born in Cairo and this distinctive birthplace helped me to pick out his name…