Decker Surname Meaning and Family History

What Does the Last Name Decker Mean?

Three generations of roof thatchers pose on a ladder.
Getty / Hulton Archive

The Decker surname most commonly originated as an occupational surname for a roofer or thatcher, derived from the Old High German word decker, meaning one who covered roofs with tile, straw or slate. The meaning of the word expanded during the Middle Ages to encompass carpenters and other craftsman and was used to refer to one who built or laid the decks of vessels. The popular Dutch surname Dekker has the same meaning, derived from the Middle Dutch deck(e)re, from decken, meaning "to cover."

The Decker surname may also derive from the German decher, meaning the quantity of ten; this may also have been a name given to the tenth child.


Surname Origin: German, Dutch

Where in the World Is the "Decker" Surname Found?

According to World Names PublicProfiler, the Decker surname is the most commonly found, based on percentage of population, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It is also a very popular surname in the countries of Luxembourg and Germany. The Forbears surname distribution map for 2014 identifies the Decker surname as being very popular in Sierra Leone, based on frequency distribution.

Famous People With the "Decker" Surname

  • Jessie James Decker - American country pop singer-songwriter and reality T.V. personality
  • Eric Decker - American National League Football wide receiver
  • Desmond Dekker - Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician
  • Thomas Dekker - English dramatist and pamphlet writer

Genealogy Resources for the Surname DECKER

  • Decker Family Genealogy Forum — Search this popular genealogy forum for the Decker surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Decker surname query.
  • FamilySearch - DECKER Genealogy — Explore over 1.3 million results, including digitized records, database entries, and online family trees for the Decker surname and its variations on the FREE FamilySearch website, courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • GeneaNet - Decker Records — GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Decker surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries.
  • Decker Surname Explore over 2.4 million digitized records and database entries, including census records, passenger lists, military records, land deeds, probates, wills and other records for the Decker surname on the subscription-based website,

Resources and Further Reading

  • Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.
  • Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.
  • Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.
  • Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997. 
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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "Decker Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). Decker Surname Meaning and Family History. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "Decker Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 9, 2023).