Was Eleanor of Aquitaine my Ancestor? Generation 2: Els Marijnissen

This is the third 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. In the last post, I proved that I am indeed the daughter of my mother, Els Marijnissen.

Els Marijnissen, daughter of Johannes Marijnissen

My grandfather Johannes Marijnissen, called Jan, is the earliest generation I knew personally. My grandparents lived just a few blocks from our house, and we visited regularly. I have fond memories of “helping” my grandfather do some carpentry in his shed in the back of their garden. We also walked around the neighborhood, where he could smoke the cigars that he wasn’t allowed to smoke in the house. He passed away in 1990.

Jan and Els on a bike

Jan and Els on a bike (orphaned work)


Fond memories alone do not meet the Genealogical Proof Standard, so I need some more evidence to prove that my mother is indeed his daughter. To protect the privacy of living people, I am not going to show or fully cite the records, but here is an overview of the documents I have that show my grandfather was indeed my mother’s father:

  • A certified copy of my mother’s birth certificate lists Johannes Marijnissen and Catharina Flooren as her parents.
  • A copy of the baptismal register shows my mother as a daughter of Johannes Marijnissen and Catharina Flooren.
  • The marriage booklet of Johannes Marijnissen and Catharina Flooren lists my mother as their daughter. It shows he was born in Breda on 11 November 1918.
  • My mother’s personal record card lists her parents as Johannes Marijnissen born in Breda, 11 November 1918, and Catharina Flooren, born in Breda on 15 October 1917.
  • My grandfather’s personal record card shows he was born in Breda on 11 November 1918. It lists my mother as his daughter, and my father as her husband.

This all matches our personal knowledge. The age of Johannes Marijnissen on my mother’s birth certificate matches the 11 November 1918 date. All the evidence is in agreement.

Marriage booklet of Johannes Marijnissen and Catharina Flooren (outside)

First page of the marriage booklet

First page of the marriage booklet

DNA evidence

My mother has a few DNA matches that share documented ancestors with Johannes Marijnissen. Unfortunately, none of these are close matches, and there are no two matches who share the same segment and both descend from the same ancestor (no triangulated matches). Without these, none of the matches can be considered confirmed, since there might be mistakes in one of the trees.

Having no confirmed matches is quite common in the Netherlands, where DNA testing is not popular. Privacy laws restrict the options to trace living descendants and I have not been able to find anyone on my grandfather’s side of the family willing to test. The matches that my mom has are all people who tested without being asked to by me, in the 4th cousin range or further away. So the lack of confirmed matches does not mean that my grandfather was not my mother’s father. The multiple DNA matches who share different ancestors with him is consistent with him being my grandfather.


My mother and I knew that Johannes Marijnissen was her father, which is backed up by the original records. The DNA evidence is not strong by itself to prove that Johannes Marijnissen was her father, but the few matches on his side of the tree do support the relationship. The combination of personal knowledge, original records, and DNA evidence proves that my mother was indeed the daughter of Johannes Marijnissen, who was born in Breda on 11 November 1918.

That’s two generations down, 26 to go!

Next up: Generation 3 – Johannes 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. My grandfather was born on exactly the same day! His middle name was Peace, since he was born on Armistice Day.

  2. I’m convinced! 🙂

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