Yvette Hoitink became associate #1072 in May, 2016. She lives in Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands, about thirty minutes from Amsterdam. Her ancestors came from the provinces of Gelderland, Noord-Brabant, and Zeeland, located in the east and south of the country.
She started researching her own family at the age of fifteen and discovered immediately that a great-great-grandmother was born out of wedlock. It has been her goal since then to identify the father. Her genealogical education and experience have recently led Yvette to recognize an important clue in a document she found on her very first day of research, and she believes this clue will lead to the identity of her great-great-great-grandfather.
Yvette is interested in a wide range of subjects—languages, cartography, travel, history, geography, biology, photography, reading, and teaching—and she finds they all seem to play a part in thorough genealogical research. With an educational background in computer science and management studies, she spent a 20-year career in Information Technology, working as an IT consultant and project manager for different archives in the Netherlands. She found that in project management she learned two skills that are fundamental to evidence analysis—working to understand other people’s perspectives and how that may affect what they say and do, and verifying information. She started a genealogy research business four years ago (http://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/).
The fact that English is a second language for her was an additional challenge Yvette faced in pursuing certification. Members of the Association for Professional Genealogists will recognize her name and insights, and appreciate her seemingly flawless English skills, from the APG email list. However, Yvette says that compiling an entire portfolio in English was difficult at times. She considered transcribing one particular document but decided explaining the legal nuances in English would be a daunting task, so she passed over that one and selected another that was a bit more straightforward. Also, she says, “Some of the standards and practices that BCG expects were different from what we are used to in Europe—things like using married names instead of maiden names, numbering people in a genealogy, or citing sources. Having to make my own judgements on how to deal with those situations gave me a deeper understanding, but it took more time than I had anticipated.”
She goes on to say, “Learning about the genealogy standards as formulated by BCG was an eye opener for me. The standards overlapped with best practices that I had developed for myself, but using the whole set elevated the quality of my work. I had to relearn how I did research, especially regarding the way I document my findings.” Her five-year plan includes publishing books and articles about finding ancestors in the Netherlands and doing more New Netherland research, which she thinks has great potential for new discoveries.
Yvette considers Elizabeth Shown Mills to be her genealogy hero, “not just for her amazing powers of evidence analysis, but also because she is so generous with her teachings.” Yvette encourages others, especially in Europe, to work toward certification. She found that following leaders in the field gave her excellent exposure to best practices in genealogy: reading the NGSQ, following the Legal Genealogist blog, participating in the Evidence Explained forum. Here is her advice about certification:
- You won’t find the time, you have to make the time
- There is no one right way
- Education before certification
- Certification is not the end of your education
- Combine education with practice
- It does not have to be perfect
- Just turn the sucker in (hat tip: Judy Russell)
Good luck with your publishing plans, Yvette, and congratulations!
by Nora Galvin, CG
The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.