Every genealogist has at least one encounter with an ubiquitous myth in their family tree. When fiction takes over hard fact, it can be surprising how readily the fabled details populate scores of pedigrees.
One such example of this involves Hendrick Enloes, an early (17th-century) settler of Baltimore County, Maryland.
Hendrick is believed to have initially immigrated to Nieuw-Amstel (now New Castle, Delaware) from Amsterdam together with his brother, Pieter Enloes in 1657. These two brothers are the progenitors of the Enloes/Enloe families of colonial Delaware and Maryland.
A long-standing belief held by numerous researchers and proliferated all over the internet is that the parents of Hendrick Enloes were Joris Kindlosson and Fijtgen Hendrix.
However, there has yet to be any evidence to support this claim.
I have no idea where the myth of Joris Kindlosson/Fijtgen Hendrix parentage originated. When I began researching this branch of my ancestry, I found the couple populated every Enloes family tree and/or history I came across. Some even included a marriage date in Amsterdam (and had the sons’ birth places as being also in A’dam), yet not one cited a source for this information.
Reportedly, there is a marriage notation for the couple in the book, De huwelijksintekeningen van Schotse militairen in Nederland, 1574-1665. While possibly serving as proof the couple existed and married, it still offers no connection between the two and Hendrick Enloes or his siblings.
Complicating the matter is that the Enloes surname has several variations (Enloe, Inloes, Enlow in America – Enloos, Eenloos, Inlos, Einloos, etc. in the Netherlands), making Kindlosson as the original surname seem not too far a stretch.
Demonstrate or debunk?
Just over a decade ago, I grew determined to locate a source that proved the parents of the presumed Enloes brothers who came to New Netherlands whom I had often seen listed as Hendrick, Peter, Jan and, occasionally, Anthony.
I was living in the Amsterdam back then and as luck would have it, my apartment in De Pijp happened to be a few blocks away from the Stadsarchief Amsterdam (Amsterdam City Archives). So one day, I walked over there and managed to locate a marriage record for Jan Inlos. The record stated that Jan was from Duisburg and listed his brother, Pieter Inlos as a witness.
With some limited help from an archivist there, I searched under numerous spelling variations, but could not find any marriage record for Joris Kindlosson or Fijtgen Hendrix. And no records of a baptism for Hendrick Enloes.
Already the myth of the couple having been wed in Amsterdam was laid to rest. So, too, any notion of Hendrick or his brothers being born in Amsterdam.
But a proven familial relationship was finally established between the immigrant Peter Enloes and Jan Enloos. And a connection to Amsterdam was also confirmed, however now it appeared that the family may have originated in Duisburg.
But which Duisburg? The most obvious choice seemed Duisburg, Germany which back in the Enloos’ day was part of the Duchy of Cleves that was considered part of the United Provinces (Netherlands). But there is a small village in Noord Brabant (now Belgium) also named Duisburg. And there is a Dutch town named Doesberg (in Gelderland) which was sometimes written as Dusburg.
Unfortunately, my research got sidelined for some years because of several life altering circumstances happening all in a row.
In that time, the Amsterdam City Archives had digitized many of their vast collections.
About two years ago, I picked up my research again and was thrilled to find even more records concerning Jan Enloos, Pieter Enloos, plus two other siblings, Willem and Geertruijd.
But the biggest, most exciting discovery was proof-positive identification of their parents.
Using the archives’ search engine, I was easily able to find every possible variation of the Enloos surname which led to a key piece of evidence.
As mentioned above, before he left Amsterdam Pieter Enloos, a silversmith, was a witness to his brother, Jan Enloos’ marriage. Jan was an apprentice silversmith whose place of origin was listed as Duisburg and Pieter Enloos was clearly named as his brother in the 1656 record.
In 1663, this very same Jan Enloos was baptized as a 32-year old adult in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Amsterdam. His parents’ names were given as Antonij Enloos and Gritie Livens.
To validate this information, I next turned to the Latter Day Saints (LDS) FamilySearch website where, recently, a ton of Dutch records have been digitalized and can be searched for free.
Turns out, Antonij Enloos was also named as Pieter Enloos’ father in his own civil marriage record and named as the father of Willem Enloos in the civil record of Willem’s first marriage. Both Pieter and Willem’s place of origin was given as Duisburg, further substantiating the relationship between them.
So, though definitive proof that Hendrick Enloes was indeed Peter Enloes’ brother is still lacking, it is certain that the Pieter Enloos who came to Nieuw-Amstel in 1657 is Jan Enloos’ brother and the son of Antonij Enloos.
- (NOTE: Proof of a blood relationship between Hendrick and Pieter is evident in land records pertaining to a tract of 100 acres of land on Back River in Baltimore County, acquired via the headright system by Pieter’s son, Abraham, that were later transferred to Hendrick. This same parcel, later named “Inloes Loyce” was sold by Hendrick Enloes to John Boaring in 1679.)
It’s time to put to rest the myth of Joris Kindlossen and Fijtgen Hendrix, for once and for all.
Perhaps they once really walked the earth, but they are definitely not the parents of Pieter Enloos.
If you’re a fellow Enloes descendent, please consider updating your family tree with the information I’ve presented here (properly cited, please).
Of course, with this revelation comes a new investigation… just who were Antonij Enloos and Gritie Livens and from where did the Enloos family come.
1.”Banns Registers 1565-1811“, jpeg image, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (Online: Stadsarchief Amsterdam, 2008-2016)
2.”Doopregisters voor 1811“, jpeg image, Stadsarchief Amsterdam (Online: Stadsarchief Amsterdam, 2008-2016)
3.”Netherlands, Noord-Holland, Church Records, 1523-1948, Alle Gezindten, Amsterdam, Huwelijksaangiften 1642-1650“, jpeg image, FamilySearch (Online: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 2010)