Welcome to The Belgian American.
My name is Kristine Smets. I am a professional historian and genealogist. I grew up in Kalmthout, a town north of the city of Antwerp in Belgium, not far from the border with the Netherlands. In 1987 I moved to the United States, and for the last twenty-three years have been living in Baltimore, Maryland. I frequently travel to Belgium to conduct research.
I studied history at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), and obtained both a Master of Arts in History and a Master’s in Library Science degree from Kent State University in Ohio. At Kent State I studied with Dr. Robert Swierenga, one of the most prominent historians of the Dutch American experience. Under his tutelage I wrote a study of one of the Belgian ethnic newspapers, The Gazette van Moline. Upon graduation, I worked for more than twenty years in the library world, both in Chicago and Baltimore, specializing in rare books and special collections.
In 2012, I returned to my first love, history, and began honing my skills as a professional genealogist. I attended the National Institute on Genealogical Research in 2014, and earned a Certificate in Genealogy of Boston University in 2016. I have studied at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and am currently a participant in ProGen 36, an 18-month intensive study of the book Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
I am a member of several genealogical and historical societies, including the National Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, Familliekunde Vlaanderen [Family History Flanders], Géniwal [Genealogical Information Wallonia], the Nederlandse Genealogische Vereniging [Dutch Genealogical Society], LuxRoots [Genealogy Center of Luxembourg], the Genealogical Society of Flemish Americans, and The Belgian Researchers.
I am fluent in English, Dutch (native) and French. Other language skills include German, Spanish, Italian and Latin