Was Eleanor of Aquitaine my Ancestor? Generation 1: Yvette Hoitink

This is the second post in a series about my possible line of descent from Eleanor of Aquitaine. In the first post, I explained how I discovered the possible line, and how I am going to verify it one generation at a time.

Yvette Hoitink, daughter of Els Marijnissen

The first step is to prove that I’m the daughter of my mother, Els Marijnissen. This is the easiest link of all to prove: I grew up with my mom and lived with her until I was 23. There’s never been any doubt that she’s my mother. People tell us all the time how much we look alike, as you can see in this photo.

Three generations, early 1990s: Yvette, mother Els, grandmother Toos, plus Gioia the cat (no relation).


Overlapping DNA segments between Yvette and Els Marijnissen (FamilyTreeDNA)

To protect our privacy, I am not going to show or fully cite the documents, but here’s an overview of the evidence that shows I am indeed my mother’s daughter:

  • The certified copy of my civil registration birth record that I obtained from the municipality where I was born lists me as the daughter of the parents I know.
  • The birth announcement card sent by my parents lists me as their daughter.
  • Hospital discharge papers and photos taken at the hospital shortly after birth confirm I was born to my mother.
  • My parents’ marriage booklet lists me as their daughter.
  • DNA tests at Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA, and 23andMe showed my mother and I share the correct amount of DNA for being mother and daughter.

None of these are public records, since these are too recent. Most of these are family records, such as the marriage booklet, hospital discharge papers, and family photos. My birth record is not public since I was born less than 100 years ago, but because it is my own record I could get a copy. The DNA evidence was only available because my mother was willing to take the tests.

These records demonstrate that researching living people relies on their cooperation and family documents. You can’t just go to the archives to get the records you need unless they are your own records.


The personal memories of my mother and myself, the official records, the family records, and the DNA evidence are all in agreement that I’m indeed my mother’s daughter. That’s one generation down, 27 more to go!

Next up: Generation 2 – Els Marijnissen.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. HI Yvette, I love it. You do, indeed, look like your mom. If you have 27 generations to go, this mystery won’t be solved for a while!

    • Eleanor is generation 29 for me, so 28 parent-child links. I’m writing one blog post per month, so it should take over two years. Which is good, since a lot of the early lines will require more research than this first one 🙂

  2. Time for mtDNA

    • I’ve done mtDNA but Eleanor is not on my strict maternal line. The line continues with my mother’s father.

    • Linda Freedman says

      I saw Eleanor of Aquitaine on a list for J2a1a1a1. As she was the mother of Richard the Lionheart and as I am English and J2a1a1…I am rather pleased.

      • My line to Eleanor is through many men, so I don’t have her mitochondrial DNA. Only women pass on mtDNA.

      • Jari Karppanen says

        Linda or Yvette, please tell me on what list did you saw Eleanor of Aquitaine for J2a1a1a1? I think my cousin is J2a1a1a1.

        • I have not found any sources for her haplogroup.

        • Linda Freedman says

          Hi Jari, I don’t know if you will be able to access it because it was on Family Tree DNA’s page. Plus people can put in their ancestor themselves so I have no idea what proof they have. It would be great if it were true but I think unless there is more proof out there we can’t really take that to be a certain fact. It looks like Yvette has had a search and not found a credible source. Wishful thinking, now that’s another thing!!

  3. I’m so looking forward to reading about your quest! This was the easy step, I’m sure.

  4. Doris Waggoner says


    I was, I confess, a little surprised that you only had to prove the link between you and your mother. It makes sense, and it’s only half the work. But without giving it much thought, I was expecting you’d have to include both parents. Silly me! It’s still going to be a lot of work.

    Eleanor of Aquitaine has been one of my heros for many years, too. I’ve read a lot of books about her. I have many Dutch ancestors, though none of mine, so far, go back beyond the 16th c, and I only have minimal evidence before the early 19th. I’ve got two original family Bibles with lists of children’s names and dates and places of births, one Bible for the father and one for the mother, and they match. That’s the best I have. I will wait with great interest to see what you find out!


  5. Jacqueline Walter says

    Eleanor of Aquitaine is a ancestor of mine also.

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