He was born as Henri Blok. His stepmother was Maatje van der Linde. Hendrik was a shoemaker, but also worked as a hodman, plasterer, mason and cement worker.
Hendrik Blok was born on 26 July 1813 in Zierikzee, Zeeland. He was named Henri on his birth certificate as Zeeland was still highly influenced by the French, not forming into the province it is today until 1815. His parents were Gillis Blok, a house painter and Antonia Mandel, a homemaker. They had married on 4 April 1813, almost four months before Hendrik was born. Gillis was later described as a schilderbaas - a painter boss.
Hendrik was named after his paternal grandfather, Hendrik Blok, who died in Zierikzee in 1801. His other grandfather, Adriaan Mandel, was a marine captain who died in Lille, France. His maternal grandmother was Sara Bergwerf. Sara lived in in Zierikzee with her second husband, shoemaker Cornelis Melhart. She died there, aged 64, on 6 February 1820, and Cornelis shortly thereafter.
Hendrik had the following siblings:
- Sara Blok (1815-), born on 8 December 1815 in Zierikzee, no further information known.
- Martina Blok (1818-1841), worked as a maid in Zierikze and died unmarried aged 22.
- Adriaan Blok (1821-1821), born and died on 4 July 1821.
- Anthonia Adriana Blok (1822-1824), born on 12 September 1822 and died on 18 March 1824.
Antonia Mandel died on 6 October 1822 aged 36. It was less than a year later when Gillis remarried to Maatje van der Linde (c1794-1841) on 3 September 1823. Maatje and Gillis had one child, Johannes Blok, who was born and died on 4 July 1824. That was the third anniversary of Adriaan's birth and death.
Gillis Blok also died young, on 2 November 1826 aged 39. It was probably at this point that Hendrik moved in with his paternal grandmother, Martina Verseput (c1762-1837). She was listed as his legal guardian on his marriage certificate. Martina would have played an important role in Hendrik's life, probably influencing his career decisions as he was that age when she became his guardian.
Maatje van der Linde later remarried, to sailor Leendert Jelier, in 1837 in Terneuzen. After Maatje died on 12 October 1841, Leendert remarried the following year to Krijntje Schophuizen, who would be Hendrik's step-step-step-mother. However, it is unlikely they had much of a role in Hendrik's life.
Hendrik married in Zierikzee on 7 May 1834. His bride was Johanna Pieterse, a local woman. Johanna's father Elias had died in 1827, and her mother Johanna Mens took over his inn. Johanna Mens later moved to Amsterdam, but died before Hendrik and his wife moved there. Both were able to sign their marriage certificate. As witnesses they chose:
- Jan Blok, 44, touwslager - uncle of Hendrik.
- Philip Eijding, 32, buiten beroep - friend of Hendrik.
- Christiaan Haringx, 62, timmerman - uncle of Johanna.
- Hendrikus Tuijte, 45, schilder - uncle of Johanna.
Over their twenty-three year marriage, Hendrik and Johanna had seven children:
- Elias Blok (1835-1876), cementworker, plasterer, rafter, chimney sweep and labourer; married Johanna Francisca van Tinteren (1838-1926) and had nine children.
- Antonia Blok (1837-1848), died aged ten in Zierikzee.
- Gilles Blok (1840-1921), ornament maker and sculptor; first married Maria Holt and then married Maria Bakker (1855-1938).
- Johanna Blok (1842-1877), married carpenter Johannes Jacobus Ekeler; died in the Grimburgswal Gasthuis.
- Catharina Blok (1846-?), married Johannes Jacobus Ekeler after her sister died.
- Antonia Blok (1850-1861), died at age ten, as had her older sister also named Antonia.
- Maria Cornelia Blok (1853-1873), died unmarried aged twenty in Amsterdam.
The family moved to Amsterdam in about 1855. Johanna already had a sister, Maria Pieterse, who lived in Amsterdam and had established a family there. Sadly Johanna's time there was short, as she died on 22 July 1857 aged 44.
Hendrik remarried in Amsterdam on 1 December 1858. His second wife was Amsterdam local Cornelia van Gulik. Cornelia was a widow who was working in a coffee house. Her first husband was Tiemen Hunia, who died in 1854. Hendrik and Cornelia both signed their marriage certificate. The witnesses were:
- Aart de Vlugt, 46, smid.
- Balthazar Lobe, 59, scheepstimmerman.
- Gijsbert Joannes Christiaan Eenbeek, 39, scheepstimmerman.
- Martinus Collin, 38, schoenmaker.
From this marriage, Hendrik gained four known stepchildren (the age gaps suggest more). They were Pietronella, Rijndert Wijbrant, Wiebren Tiemen and Tiemen Hunia.
This marriage was unfortunately short lived. Cornelia died on 14 April 1859, aged 42, less than six months into the marriage.
Hendrik married his third wife in Amsterdam on 2 October 1861. She was Anna Christina Louise Gronemeijer, an older German maid. Anna was a fifty-four year old spinster. She was born on 30 August 1807 in Lemgo, Lippe, the daughter of a weaver. Only Hendrik signed this marriage certificate, as well as the following witnesses:
- Feredeik Mesterman, 61, schoenmaker.
- Dirk van Wijk, 36, broodbakker.
- Johan Hendrik Hammen, 46, schoenmaker.
- Andreas Eisfelden, 56, schoenmaker.
Anna soon became accepted into the family. Hendrik's granddaughter born in 1862 was named after her - Anna Christina Louisa Blok.
Hendrik and Anna lived for their final years in Begijnsteeg 10, Amsterdam. Anna died at their home on 19 February 1879, aged 71. Shortly after this, Hendrik must have become ill. He died on 5 May 1880 aged 66, at the Buitengasthuis in Overtoomseweg 144. The Buitengasthuis had a terrible reputation for untrained staff and rat-infested grounds. Fortunately in 1879, around the time Hendrik was admitted, the untrained staff began to be replaced by trained nurses. The hospital specialised in terminal or infectious diseases.
- 1834: Hendrik Blok, 20, schoenmaker, living in Zierikzee
- 1842: Hendrik Blok, 29, schoenmaker
- 1858: Hendrik Blok, 45, schoenmaker, living in Amsterdam
- 1861: Hendrik Blok, 48, schoenmaker
- 1862: Hendrik Blok, schoenmaker
- 1864: Hendrik Blok, metselaar
- 1872: Hendrik Blok, stukadoor
- 1877: Hendrik Blok, cementwerker