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 DNA Project
Any individual with the Decker surname or a variant from anywhere in the world is encouraged to participate in this DNA study, incorporating Y-DNA testing with traditional genealogy research to sort out Decker ancestral lines.

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.

Rootsweb - DECKER Genealogy Mailing List
Join this free genealogy mailing list for discussion and sharing of information regarding the Decker surname, or search/browse the mailing list archives.

The Decker Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Decker surname from the website of Genealogy Today.

DECKER Surname Mailing List
Free mailing list for researchers of the Decker surname and its variations includes subscription details and a searchable archives of past messages.

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,


References: Surname Meanings & Origins

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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