In 2011 we won an award for Best New Community Project. 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 $5 via Kiva Zip or $25 via Kiva. Similar loans by other lenders are combined until the required total is reached. As your money is repaid (often in monthly instalments), 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!

19 April 2012

Meet the Team: Fiona Basile

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Fiona Basile from Queensland, Australia.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Currently I'm a full time parent to 3 teenage boys. I live on the Gold Coast in Queensland. My hobbies, apart from annoying our ancestors, include craft activities and catching up with friends.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I was researching family history on the Internet, landed on Judy Webster's site, and the rest is history!

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

I've always liked the idea of giving those in need a hand up, rather than a hand out. I love watching the progress as the borrowers benefit from their loans.

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

I don't have a particular method of selecting borrowers. Often it will be something in their profile that strikes a chord. For example, I grew up on a dairy farm and one of my loans is to a farmer. Another loan is to a mother, trying to educate her children. That's something of a priority in my life too.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

They all inspire me!

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

I decided I would make four loans initially, then would finance more as these were repaid. Well, the first payments came in, amounting to $15, and I couldn't wait! My saving strategy is to go without something, say a café coffee, and watch the savings build.

Your Web site or blog?

Dance Skeletons (http://danceskeletons.blogspot.com/).

Your main family history interests?

My main interests at the moment are Tasmanian Convicts and Quakers. Surnames include Hortin, Pearson and Taylor.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

12 April 2012

Meet the Team: CeCe Moore

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member CeCe Moore from California, USA.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a Southern California native and live by the beach with my fiance and my seven year old son. I am a former professional singer/actress, but am now behind the camera working with my partner producing commercials for our company StudioINTV. My genealogy activities include serving as the Southern California Regional Coordinator for the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG), the co-moderator of the ISOGG DNA Newbie mailing list, as a genealogy advisor for DNA testing company 23andMe and writing the blog 'Your Genetic Genealogist'.

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

It is a forum where I can contribute in a small way and see exactly where that contribution is going and what it is accomplishing. Many charities seem to be too weighed down by bureaucracy and it is difficult to know how the money is really being spent. Although I cannot do a lot, I like the idea of many people working together to help a specific individual or family to better their lives.

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

Not so far, but I do tend to focus in on women who have small children. In the future, I would like to loan to individuals in the United States whenever that is possible because I believe we have many who need help right here at home. I plan to get my son involved in choosing the borrower to teach him about actively helping others.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

The wonderful and inspirational Joan Miller invited me to participate.

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

I have taken the advice of Judy and enrolled in the survey sites. It is slow going, but I have finally earned enough to make a new loan.

Your Web site or blog?

Genetic Genealogy blog (www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com/), and my personal genealogy blog (http://mytangledvine.blogspot.com/), and the business Web site (www.studiointv.com).

Your main family history interests?

I am an active genetic genealogist who strives to help others understand and utilize the fascinating application of DNA testing to family history research. I am the volunteer administrator for the Proctor DNA Project, the Travis DNA Project and the Hemings/Jefferson autosomal DNA Project.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

05 April 2012

Meet the Team: Kerry Farmer

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Kerry Farmer from New South Wales, Australia.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live and work in Sydney, although I did live for a few years in London and also in Tokyo, in the years when I was a computer programmer and systems analyst. I started teaching 'Family history, using the Internet' in 1997 and later joined the GenClass group of instructors teaching online courses. Since 2010 I have been the Director of Australian Studies with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, responsible for developing the Australian Records certificate, and writing many of the courses. 

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

My parents have always been heavily involved in community projects and fund raising for charity. Through Rotary International and Indigenous Community Volunteers, my Dad has organised or been involved in major international and Australian community projects, using his skills to help people help themselves. For me, getting involved with Kiva seems a great extension of that.

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

As a mother myself, I tend to be drawn to women borrowers who are trying to help their families. Sometimes a particular occupation or location or even a name attracted me to want to help a particular person.

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

When repayments from previous loans start getting close to another $25 I top it up to make another. So far one of my loans has been funded by surveys I've completed. Another couple came about when I was paid a small amount for giving a genealogy talk to a community group. They apologised for the small payment and I told them that I would use the money to make a Kiva loan. When I described what Kiva was about, in both cases people in the audience donated for their own Kiva loans.

Your Web site or blog?

http://familyhistoryresearch.com.au is my main website; http://famresearch.wordpress.com is my blog.

Your main family history research interests?

ETHERINGTON in Australia and southern England. Others include BENNETT, BOND, CARTER, KELLETT, LYONS, MILLS, MOORE, SCRIVEN, SHUTER in England and Australia, McKENZIE and McNEILL in Ayrshire (Scotland), EVERETT in Ireland, SHUTER in Poland and KELLETT in South Africa  plus a line in Asker, Norway with patronymic surnames that change every generation.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!