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Ens, Netherlands - Origin of the Ensign Family?

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

De Zuyder Zee in detail of "Belgii foederati Nova descriptio Amstelodami apud Joh: Janssonium". Map of The Netherlands 1658

Prior to their arrival in Chilham, England, the Ensign family is believed to have lived on the isle of Schokland in the village of Ens. Today it is located in the Dutch province of Flevoland, Netherlands. It was a peninsula that had become an island by the 15th century, but had to be evacuated in 1859.

"The Ensign Family is probably of Frisian or Danish origin, its eponymous ancestor in England being, we may assume, one of the early invaders of the British isles who in the period of the Teutonic migrations settled in Kent. It is likely that he was called Ens, from the name of his former home, a small fishing community on the isle of Schokland in the Zuyder Zee (Zuiderzee), included in the region then known as Frisia and now a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands." [*F] Read more:

The landscape of Ens has changed significantly. Ens shared the island of Schokland with Emmeloord in the past. The island is shown in yellow in the map below. A land restoration project has since added 580 square miles of land around Ens, connecting it to the mainland and forming the province of Flevoland.

A documentary about the project is posted on YouTube, shown here:

Another excellent video gives a history of Schokland:

Zoom in to look around or go to street level to view the village.

Remains of The Church of Ens can still be seen. Schokland and it's surrounds are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

My family's Ensign ancestor, James Ensign, is reported to have been the first Ensign to come to America. He settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sometime before 1634, when he removed to Hartford, Connecticut, with Rev. Thomas Hooker's party. He was one of the organizers of the Second Church there.​ James Ensign died in November of 1670 and his wife, Sarah, died in May of 1676. ​Their descendants in America are numerous.


  • Record of the descendants of James Ensign and his wife Sarah Elson, 1634-1939, by Nelson, Martha Eunice Ensign, 1888- (Read)

  • Genealogiae; or, Data concerning the families of Morse, Chipman, Phinney, Ensign and Whiting, by William I. Morse (Read)


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