Hendricks Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Hendricks Surname Meaning

The root of Hendrick is the German personal name Heim-ric meaning “home rule,” which later appeared as Henrich or Heinrich. An early example of it as a surname was Genetiy de Heinrich recorded in Fritzlar in northern Hesse in 1335. Hendriks and Hendrickson are Flemish variations of the surname; while the Hendrix variation has been found mainly in Belgium. 

Hendricks, Hendrick and Hendrix have been the most common spellings of the surname in America.

Hendricks Surname Resources on The Internet

Hendricks, Hendrick and Hendrix Surname Ancestry

  • from England (Staffordshire and Lancashire), Holland and Germany
  • to America, Canada and South Africa

The name Hendricks, or variations thereof, was mainly found in western Germany and in Holland and Flemish Belgium. The numbers there today are approximately:

  • Germany, around 3,000 (where the spelling is principally Hendricks)
  • Holland, around 20,000 (where the spelling is principally Hendriks)
  • and Belgium, around 2,000 (where the spelling is either Hendriks or Hendrix)

Hendriks comes from the northern Dutch regions, including Amsterdam. The Hendrix name is particularly strong in Antwerp.  

England.  The numbers in England have been smaller and the spelling has tended to be Hendrick. They were to be found in Staffordshire and Lancashire. The Henrix spelling also existed. Thomas Henrix was listed as a marine on board HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

America. Hendrick, perhaps reflecting English arrivals, was most numerous in Virginia, Hendricks in New York and Pennsylvania, and Hendrix in the South. Hendricks in America can be a contraction of the Swedish Hendriksson.

New York The Hendricks name was first brought to America by the Dutch and became a fairly common name in New York. An early arrival was Kniertje Hendricks who married Walraven Claerhout at the Dutch Reform Church in New York in 1668. There were two Mohawk chieftains who at a later date became Christians and adopted the Hendrick name.

Other Hendricks arrivals in New York were:

  • the Sephardic Jewish merchant Uriah Hendricks (originally Enriques) who came from Spain in 1755.  His descendants the Hendricks Brothers pioneered the use of copper in the US Navy.
  • and the Hendricks in Seneca, New York who migrated to Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. Eli Hendrick of this family tried his hand in many things before starting the Hendrick Manufacturing Company, a perforated metal manufacturer, in Carbondale, Pennsylvania in 1876.

Pennsylvania.  Hendricks in Pennsylvania may have had German origins. Hendricks from the Rhineland were among of the first settlers in Bucks county, having arrived in Pennsylvania on the Francis and Dorothy as early as 1685. Gerhard Hendricks signed the famous protest against human slavery that was presented to the Germantown Friends Meeting in 1688.

Tobias Hendricks, known as Squire Tobias, was an early settler in the 1720’s in Lancaster county when it was still frontier territory. His son Tobias ran Toby’s Place, an inn on the Cumberland Trail and a meeting place for Indian traders, travelers and the like.

Indiana.  A Hendricks family became one of the most prominent families of Indiana in the 19th century. DNA analysis has suggested that these Hendricks were related to Daniel Hendrick of Haverhill, Massachusetts, an early arrival in 1642 from England.  These Hendricks were pioneer settlers in the Ligonier valley in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania.

William Hendricks moved to what was then Indiana territory in 1813. He served as the third Governor of the state in 1822 and its Senator from 1825 to 1837. Both his sons were killed in the Civil War. But his nephew Thomas was also Governor of Indiana and briefly in 1885 US Vice President.

Ohio.  Hendricks of German stock were to be found in Champaign county, Ohio by the 1820’s. Ross Hendricks, born there in 1866, migrated to Chicago (where he changed his name to Hendrix) and worked in a traveling vaudeville troupe until it broke up on the West Coast in 1912. He and his wife Nora then settled in Vancouver. There is no absolute proof that they were the grandparents of the singer Jimi Hendrix, but it is thought likely.

South Carolina.  Various Hendricks were to be found in South Carolina by the early 1700’s. The best known of these Hendricks came to Pickens county from Virginia in 1784, after having fought in the Revolutionary War. Matthew Hendricks, born there in 1842, fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War and lived onto 1944 when he was considered one of the patriarchs of his community.

Georgia.  Gustavus Hendrick who came to Georgia from Virginia as an infant in 1795 was one of the state’s most successful early politicians. He was married for 71 years and lived to be 90. His son John was a prominent member of the white slave-owning elite of Covington in the decade prior to the Civil War. He like some others of his class had both white and black descendants.

The spelling in Georgia tended more to be more Hendrix than Hendrick or Hendricks. Absalom Hendrix came to Cherokee county, Georgia from Pickens county, South Carolina in the late 1830’s. The Hendrix plantation owners in Bulloch county, Georgia were from North Carolina and were probably descended from the Haverhill Hendrick line.

Canada.  James Hendrick, Scots Irish, had come to New Jersey in the 1770’s, but after the Revolutionary War decamped to Canada in 1785.  He and his family settled in the Bay of Quinte in Ontario.  Later Hendricks were farmers and lumbermen.  Arthur Hendrick was a surgeon in Toronto.

South Africa.  Hendrikse or like names were to be found in the early settlement of the Dutch Cape colony – Jacob Hendriksz born in the 1680’s; Diederik Hendrikse born in  1716; and Jonas Hendrikse born around 1720.

One Hendricks family line in Cape Town were skilled tailors.  Their forebear was Sarmadien Hendricks.  His son Abdol lived from 1800 to 1904, a span of 103 years.  Hendricks in South Africa can be a Muslim name.

Hendricks Surname Miscellany

Hendrick, Hendricks and Hendrix in the 1840 US Census

Numbers Hendrick Hendricks Hendrix
New York    38    71     3
Pennsylvania    18    69    16
Ohio    18    48    10
Indiana     5    53    25
Virginia    42    13     3
Kentucky    23    41    31
Tennessee     4    30    41
Georgia    24    19    26
Elsewhere   133   154   109
Total   305   498   264

Hendrick, perhaps reflecting English arrivals, was most numerous in Virginia, Hendricks (as well as Hendrickson) in New York and Pennsylvania, and Hendrix in the South. The Hendrick spelling is not that common in America today. Hendricks number some 14,000, Hendrix around 11,000.

Two Mohawk Hendrick Chieftains.  In September 1755 the most famous Indian in the world was killed in the Bloody Morning Scout that launched the Battle of Lake George. His name was Henderick Peters Theyanooguin in English, but he was widely known as King Hendrick.

In an unfortunate twist of linguistic and historical fate, he shared the same first name as another famous Native American, Hendrick Tejonihokarawa, who although about 30 years his senior, was also famous in his own right. He was one of the “Four Indian Kings” who became a sensation in London in 1710, met Queen Anne, and was wined and dined as an international celebrity.

Both Hendricks were Mohawk warriors who had been baptized into the Christian name in the Dutch Reform Church (hence the name Hendrick). Both aided Britain against France in their struggles for empire and both helped to negotiate the relationship between their fellow Mohawks and the Europeans who would recognize that the Iroquois Confederacy was critical to the balance of power in early 18th century America. Unfortunately, these Hendricks were later confused by historians into one man.

The Hendricks Brothers of New York.  The Hendricks family, originally Enriques, had come from Spain.  They were Sephardic Jews who had fled the country and settled in Flanders where they prospered as merchants and traders.

Uriah Hendricks of this family was born in Amsterdam and emigrated to New York City in 1755.  There he started a dry goods store and later a metal importing business which was carried on by his son Harmon.  It was he who began copper fabrication at a mill in Belleville, New Jersey.  The Hendricks copper clad the ships that helped the United States fight the British to a standstill in the War of 1812.  The business was carried on by his descendants under the name of Hendricks Brothers.

The last member of the family to operate the business was Harmon Washington Hendricks, who died in 1928.  Hendricks Brothers closed its last copper mill in 1938.

Hendricks of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.  It is estimated that probably three generations separated Daniel Hendrick of Haverhill, Massachusetts (1617-1700), an immigrant from England, with Daniel Hendricks of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania (1726-1796).  The missing generations linking these two Daniels haven’t been identified, but a possible connection is the first Daniel’s son Jabez.

Jabez Hendrick married Hannah Moore and they lived in the Elizabethtown and Piscataway area in New Jersey.  It is known that many Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania settlers came from New Jersey.

Four descendants of Danel Hendricks of Westmoreland submitted to 37-marker Y-DNA tests.  The subjects included three descendants of Daniel’s son Absalom and one descendent of Daniel’s son Abraham.  The descendants of Absalom and Abraham were a match with each other and there is a distance of 2 between them and descendants of Daniel Hendrick of Haverhill, Massachusetts when their 37 markers were compared. 

Matthew Hendricks of Pickens County.  Matthew Hendricks, affectionately known as Mr. Matt, was the fourth generation of Hendricks in Pickens county, South Carolina.

He was by all accounts a sturdy, handsome, and generous man, who achieved much over his lifespan of 102 years between 1842 and 1944.  His fighting on the Confederate side in the Civil War won him recognition throughout the South.  Later he created and built buildings for the community and also built many of the first roads and covered bridges.

He began the construction of his own home in 1870.  It was named Wisteria after the giant wisteria vine that once grew there.  In its building, the finest of trees – long-leaf yellow pines – were cut and hauled to the mill by oxcart. The lumber then had to be kiln dried and hand planed, a long and tedious job undertaken by Mr. Matt and his young sons.  The wrought-iron crane in the kitchen fireplace was made by Mr. Matt in his shop. He also designed and made the porch posts, mantles, and some doors.

Matthew Hendricks died in 1944, but the house was kept on by his daughter until it was sold in 1970.  Many handmade items crafted by Mr. Matt have remained in family hands, for example a walnut bedframe and dresser which he engraved and an accompanying walnut side table which he made.

Ross Hendricks and Jimi Hendrix.  Fanny Hendricks nee Whitfield was a poor light-skinned black woman in Urbana, Ohio who had recently ended her marriage to Jefferson Hendricks and was a single parent seeking work. Bertran Philander Ross, white, was a prominent grain dealer in the town and one of its wealthiest landowners.

Their union, whether it be through seduction or rape, apparently produced a child.  Fanny gave the newborn the first name of his father, possibly to ensure that the community would know its lineage.  Thus in 1866 Bertran Philander Ross Hendricks was born.

We assume that Bertran Philander Ross was the father.  Neither Ross nor Fanny’s former husband Jefferson Hendricks were listed in the 1870 Ohio Champaign county census with Fanny and Ross.  But Jefferson did appear with them in the 1880 census.

Those of mixed race or African American heritage faced obstacles in Urbana in the years after the Civil War.  For this reason Ross Hendricks left town and migrated to Chicago in 1896, hoping for new opportunities there.  He worked for a time in the police force and changed his name to Hendrix.  Later he joined a Dixieland vaudeville troupe, travelling all around the country until the troupe broke up in Seattle in 1912. There he married Nora Moore, another member of the troupe, and the two decided to settle down on the West Coast. Their son Al was born in 1919.

In 1941 Al met Lucille Jeter at a dance in Seattle and they married a year later. Drafted by the United States Army, Al went to war three days after their wedding.

The first of Lucille’s five children, James Marshall Hendrix (Jimi), was born later that year in 1942.  Stationed in Alabama at the time of Hendrix’s birth, Al was denied the standard military furlough afforded servicemen for childbirth.  His commanding officer placed him in the stockade to prevent his going AWOL to see his infant son in Seattle.  He spent two months locked up without trial and while in the stockade received a telegram announcing his son’s birth.

Jimi grew up in Seattle and formed his first band there.

Hendricks, Hendrick and Hendrix Names

  • Uriah Hendricks was the Jewish merchant who started the family’s copper business in New York in 1764
  • William Hendricks was the founder of the Hendricks political dynasty in Indiana in the early 19th century. 
  • Allan Hendrickse helped found the Labour party in South Africa in 1969 and led them into the ANC in 1994.
  • Jimi Hendrix was an American musician, singer and songwriter, widely considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music.

Hendricks, Hendrick and Hendrix Numbers Today

  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 29,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 6,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

Hendricks and Like Surnames

These are Dutch-originated names, Dutch surnames that found their way in the 17th century to New York and to South Africa.  Here are some of the Dutch surnames that you can check out.

BeekmanHendricksKnickerbockerVan Buren


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Written by Colin Shelley

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