I had found out on-line a while back that there might be some information about my great-grandfather Salomon Mulder at the National Institute for Military History, of course concentrating on his career as a Marine. Considering that he was a professional all of his life and he was a POW in WWII, I had hoped there might be some information there. There were, however, two problems. The first was that although I was sure there was information there, it was in the form of a personal record, which could contain anything from a small piece of paper with just his name and rank, or his entire service record. I was of course hoping for the last to be the case, but there was no way to tell until I actually saw the record.
And that was where the second problem came in. This archive is a military archive, housed on a military base. Because of this, it has very limited opening hours, no weekend days where you can go there, and if I understood correctly from their site, you even had to make an appointment before you came. This all combined with the fact that I have normal working hours made it so that it would be August before I could get there in person and look at the record. And I, being the impatient being that I am, didn’t want to wait that long!
So, I send them an e-mail, detailing where the record was and if it was possible to get a copy of whatever was in it. I honestly didn’t expect much, most archives have too much work to bother with such a request. However, to my great surprise, not even a week later I got a thick, fat envelop from the NIMH. And look, there it was, copies of everything in the file, no costs attached!
And what was in the file? Two loose cards of service from Salomon and his entire (yes, ENTIRE!) service book, detailing everything from postings, to ranks, to diploma’s, to his pension, and even his two marriages, including his children and stepchildren, and sometimes even addresses. I am so happy with this. It will take careful study, as the handwriting is tiny, sometimes untidy and hard to read. But oh, will it be worth it! It’s a virtual treasure trove of information, and one I never expected. I’m really, really happy with this, as it is the very first record I have found for my great-grandfather.