We enable people without access to traditional banks (including many women) to expand their businesses, educate their children, save for the future and raise themselves out of poverty. Through Kiva, a non-profit organisation working with microfinance institutions, you choose a borrower to support with a loan of just $25. Similar loans by other lenders are combined until the required total is reached. As your money is repaid you can withdraw it or lend it to someone else. Money that is loaned over and over again does more good than a one-time donation. Join 'Genealogists for Families' - together we are making a difference!

26 April 2012

Meet the Team: Yvette Hoitink

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Yvette Hoitink from the Netherlands.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I work as a consultant digital innovation at the Nationaal Archief, the National Archives of the Netherlands, where I'm involved in projects that create online access to historical information. Genealogy has been my greatest hobby for over 20 years (yes, I started when I was very young!) As a spin-off, I've also become interested in local history, cartography and photography.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I saw the 'teams' feature on Kiva and just for fun I decided to type in 'genealogy' to see what would come up.

What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?

I've seen what the impact of a small event can be in the course of history. Ancestors who were the only ones to survive out of 10 siblings. Ancestors who were brave enough to move to start a better life and wouldn't have met their spouses otherwise. Without these events, I wouldn't be here today. I'd like to think that just maybe, my donation will make a difference in somebody's life today and in the lives of their descendants for generations to come. Sometimes all you need is a chance.

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

So far, I've given out 3 loans. These are all to women who are trying to improve their lives by starting a business. I used to own my own computer company so I guess I can relate to them.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

My first loan was to a woman from Kenya who had had a Kiva loan before. The first loan was to buy chickens for her poultry business and now she needed money for cement to renovate rental homes. I think that shows a great entrepreneurial spirit that deserves to be supported.

Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?

I've published my genealogy database online, which includes information on over 6,000 Dutch emigrants to the USA and their ancestors. I provide this information for free, but there is a Donate button on my website if people want to contribute. Several grateful American descendants have used the button. I've already received enough donations this year to cover the hosting costs, so any other donations I receive will be turned into Kiva loans.

Your Web site?

Yvette's Dutch Genealogy Homepage (www.dutchgenealogy.nl).

Your main family history interests?

I'm not only researching my own ancestors but also working on a reconstruction of the population of the villages of Aalten and Winterswijk in the Netherlands between 1500 and 1900. This includes trying to find out what happened to the people that emigrated from the area in the 19th century.

Postscript, Sep 2012: Yvette says, "I've recently started working as a professional genealogist, helping people from around the world to trace their ancestors from the Netherlands. I'll make a Kiva loan for each new client."
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!


  1. Yvette, thanks for being part of the team (and for meeting Rosemary when she was in the Netherlands). It's great that Kiva benefits from donations to your Web site, which has already helped one of our team with her family history research.

  2. tip o' the hat to you, Yvette.

  3. Hi Yvette, I love the sound of your job and that you used to own your own computer company!! I'm just curious does the Netherlands Government support the use of open formats in the National Archives? I'm involved in a couple of groups supporting women in IT here in Australia. It's great to hear about your research and your interest in Kiva too. Thanks for sharing!
    Kylie :-)

  4. I'm a huge fan of your site, Yvette. Lovely to read your profile and get to know you a little better.

  5. @Judy You're welcome! I thought it was great fun to meet Rosemary and her husband and give them a tour of our archives. Who knows, we might organize a Dutch meet-up some day!

    @GaryB Thanks :-)

    Yes, open formats are a key element of our digital preservation & continuous access policy. It is one element of ensuring that documents created today can still be read 10, 50 or even 100 years from now. We're also involved in creating international open standards, for example for describing archival records in XML-format.

    Open standards is also a personal interest of mine. I used to be a member of the W3C (international web standards organization) working group that created version 2 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Following these guidelines makes websites more accessible for people with disabilities. This includes better access for people who are blind, deaf or have learning disabilities. These international guidelines are being implemented in the Netherlands as well. I was involved in making sure the websites of the National Archives comply. We were just tested and the websites achieved the highest level quality mark, of which we are all very proud!

    @Fi That's so great to hear! I've just uploaded slides from a Dutch Genealogy workshop I taught a couple of weeks ago that you may be interested in. See http://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=159&Itemid=1

  6. Hi Yvette
    That's wonderful I wish Australia was as forward thinking although things are improving. Having a hearing loss myself I'm all for accessibility too. Keep up the great work!!

  7. News from Yvette, Sept 2012: I've recently started working as a professional genealogist, helping people from around the world to trace their ancestors from the Netherlands. I'll make a Kiva loan for each new client.

  8. Thanks Judy, for adding that information!


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