Welcome to The Belgian American.

Kristine Smets
Kristine Smets

The Belgian American, a virtual resource center for Belgian American immigrant history and genealogy, was born on 7 January 2019. Blog posts cover stories about Belgian immigration to North America, as well as research tips for Americans tracing their Belgian ancestors.

Kristine Smets is a professional historian and genealogist. She grew up in Kalmthout, a town north of the city of Antwerp in Belgium, not far from the border with the Netherlands. In 1987 she moved to the United States, and for the last twenty-five years she has been living in Baltimore, Maryland. She frequently travels to Belgium to conduct research.

Kristine 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 she studied with Dr. Robert Swierenga, one of the most prominent historians of the Dutch American experience. Under his tutelage she wrote a study of one of the Belgian ethnic newspapers, The Gazette van Moline. Upon graduation, she worked for more than twenty years in the library world, both in Chicago and Baltimore, specializing in rare books and special collections.

In 2012, she returned to her first love, history, and began honing her skills as a professional genealogist. She attended the National Institute on Genealogical Research in 2014, and earned a Certificate in Genealogy of Boston University in 2016. She has studied at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, the Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy, and has complete ProGen, an 18-month intensive study of the book Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Kristine is 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.