In the last part of the 12th century, in 1177 to be exact, the first documents that relate something about the history of the inhabitants in and around the area where later on the settlement of Arnhem was to be founded, become available. There are some ten families mentioned. The recording of family connections can begin, and from there should lead to a genealogy, although far from being complete. This it cannot be, as much of the information necessary to create a picture of that time, and to know the composition of these families, is not handed down to us.
The clan leader in those days was without a shadow of a doubt the Van Arnhem family, name-giver of the present-day municipality of Arnhem, and in addition in alphabetical order, the families of Bierwisch, Caesarii, Cloeck, Gruter, Van der Hellen, Mauritii, De Monetarii, Ploech, and Van der Werve. It is noteworthy that not all the Romans had yet left our country.

The origin of these families, though, is probably to be found round about the Frankish times, circa 700 A.D., and after. Christianization began in the Royal domains, that is to say in a post-Roman time. The Count was still a functionary of the Roman King, and not yet a potentate with a state of his own, and chivalry arose only many centuries later. Already a form of royal freemen existed, probably members of ancient noble families (whatever that is). Under the influence of the German monastic orders, and with the help of the Irish and Anglo-Saxon missionaries living at the royal demesnes, it was necessary to continue the then new Christian culture. New administrative forms of organization were set up, perhaps under the influence of the Anglo-Saxon culture. Buurten (neighbourhoods), Marken (common lands), and Dingen (things, the judicial system), but there are other descriptions of almost identical forms of organization, because the Anglo-Saxons were not a uniform and unique people, but rather a political alliance of many tribes and nations. Perhaps the Frisians were also a part of this alliance of tribes, and perhaps even the biggest tribe, in any case the most dominant one, as can be recognized in the resemblance of the English and the Frisian languages; such a thing is never a coincidence. Probably also under the influence of the missionaries the nobility came into being.

In 1052 the Cloecks (Clovks) are in Maastricht. They had migrated from Valenciennes in the French kingdom, and via Namur and Liège by way of the river Meuse, arrived at Maastricht. The party consisted of three men, five women, and four children. They are recorded in at least five documents, that tell about lodging and transport to Nijmegen (Noviomagum). In 1052 the Low Countries were part of the German empire, so you cannot say that they were already in the Netherlands, but you can rightly say that they are probably the oldest family in the Netherlands.

The first data about the Cloeck family did not become available until the beginning of the 14th century, when Riquinus Cloeck married a daughter of Riquinus Ploech and Yzenbela Palude. In the north of France (in an area north-east of Lille) documents from 900 A.D. were found, in which the names Cloeck and Van Arnhem occur, so that both families had their origin there, and went north from there. The area where they settled lay north-east of Arnhem. At that time the course of the river Rhine flowed more to the south, and got its present route in a later period, so that Arnhem now lies on the Rhine.

Two generations of Cloeck remained in Arnhem, then the Cloecks left the town. The first known marriage, apart from the first marriage of Riquinus, connecting the Cloeck and Ploech families, was the marriage of Godert Cloeck and Aleid Spaen. The Spaen family came from the neighbourhood of Osnabrück, and established themselves on the river IJssel north of Doesburg in the "Spaensweert". After that there were alliances with the Van Roderlo family, a family to which the present-day village of Ruurlo owes its name and coat of arms, and the Van Meekeren, Myrenbergh en Van Barferden families.

By the end of the 14th century the Cloecks moved into the manor the “Beerenklau”, and there formed the foundation of the chivalrous family, that left its mark upon the “Liemers”. They established themselves all over the Liemers, and outside the Spaensweert, and the Beerenklau in Doesburg, Zevenaar, Emmerich and Westervoort, at the Ploen, at the Emmerik, at the Swaenenpol, at the Lensenburg, and in the Betuwe.

The first Cloeck who established himself a little further away was Johan Cloeck, who left for Kampen in about 1420, where he laid the foundation for the Kloeks of Kampen, the regent family of Alkmaar, and the Kloeks of the provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland.
However, the most important emigrant from the Liemers is Hendrick Cloeck, who was in Amsterdam by the end of the 14th century, and was to be the founder of the Cloecks, who caused such a furore in the Golden Age, co-founders of the VOC (United East India Company), and holding many leading positions in the city. The Cloeck branch of Hoorn originates from the Cloecks of Amsterdam.

It will take years of research before all the Cloecks from the early period will have been traced, and incorporated into this genealogical document. But with the result so far as an encouragement, it is bound to succeed, though not all will be found.

translation Leo Wensveen