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Data Files - Other Data - DNA Study (2005)

Genealogical and Biographical Record
VOL. 136 APRIL 2005 NUMBER 2



Page 97


(Reprinted with permission, see below)

by Wayne R. Decker, Ph.D.*

Jan Broersen, from Husum, was in Esopus (later named Kingston) in 1658, when his mark was among the nine signatures to the agreement to move into a stockade for protection.[1] Jan Gerritsen, of Heerden,
Gelderland, The Netherlands, was married in Kingston in 1664.[2] Both men adopted the surname Decker. Broersen’s first recorded use of the Decker surname was at the time of his second marriage in 1679.[3] Gerritsen is reported to have taken the Decker surname prior to 1685.[4] Were these two men closely related? Recent Y-chromosome-DNA studies show that Broersen and Gerritsen do not share a recent direct-line paternal ancestor.

The Y-chromosome study of the Jan Broersen Decker family was recently reported in THE RECORD.[5] We will review the results of that study later in this article.

Jan Gerritsen, the second immigrant, was born before 1640 and died in 1717 at Port Jervis in Orange County. He married 23 March 1664 Grietjen Hendricks Westercamp, who was born in New Amsterdam, New Netherland, and this union produced the following sons:[6]

Gerret Jansen, bap. 14 February 1665[7]
Hendrick Jansen, bap. 9 October 1667[8]
Jacob Jansen, b. 1671
Hermanus Jansen, b. 1673
Johannes Jansen, b. 1675

The oldest son of Jan Gerritsen, Gerret, married the oldest daughter of Jan Broersen, Margaret (Grietje), at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston in 1685.[9] Thus the two Decker families were linked by marriage.

Descendants of Jan Gerritsen’s first son, Gerret, and fourth son, Hermanus, were chosen for this study. Relative Genetics[10] analyzed buccal swabs from two 11th generation direct-line male descendants of these second generation ancestors (the two descendants are identified here only by ID numbers). The following charts show the first four generations in each participant’s paternal line, following (1.) Jan Gerritsen Decker. The first line is from his son Gerrit Jansen:[11]

2. Gerrit Jansen Decker (chr. 16 Aug. 1664)

    m. Margrietje Jans Decker (chr. 31 Aug. 1664, banns 20 Jan. 1685)

    3. Jan Gerritsen Decker (chr. 28 July 1688, d. 1747)

        m. Barbara DeWitt (chr. 17 Apr. 1692)

        4. Jan/John Decker (chr. 7 June 1719, d. 17 Sept. 1790)

            m. Blandina Kuykendall (b. 28 Jan. 1719, m. abt. 1739, d. abt. 1797)

            5. Moses Decker (b. abt. 1758, d. 30 July 1814)

                m. Christine

and the second line from his son Hermanus Jansen:[12]

2. Hermanus Jansen Decker (b. 1673, d. 1768)

    m. Rachel de la Montagne (chr. 21 July 1674, m. 2 Sept. 1695)

    3. Hendrick/Henry Decker (chr. 4 Nov. 1716, d. 11 June 1768)

       m. Anne Coleman (m. 1744, d. aft. 14 May 1782)

        4. William Decker (b. 1745, d. aft. 1830)

            m. Frances Bugg

            5. John Decker (b. 1785, d. 1857)

                m. Rachel Talley (b. 1788, m. 16 June 1806)

Relative Genetics examined 24 sites, which are sections of the very long strand of DNA that makes up the Y-chromosome. These sites are considered only to occupy space on the chromosome and do not play a part
in determining physical traits. At each identified site, called a locus, the number of Short Tandem Repeats (STRs), repeating units of DNA, are counted. The collection of loci and the associated number of STRs at each
locus defines the haplotype of the male (see tables). The only way for a son to have a different haplotype from his father is due to mutation. The rate of mutations is small and statistically predictable. Of course, adoption, illegitimacy, or infidelity of the mother would frustrate the line of paternity.

The results of this study are that both the descendant of Gerrit Jansen Decker and the descendant of Hermanus Jansen Decker have identical numbers of STRs at each of the 24 loci, indicating a common male
ancestor. This supports the genealogical data that Jan Gerritsen Decker is the father of Gerrit Jansen Decker and Hermanus Jansen Decker and in doing so it provides a haplotype for Jan Gerritsen Decker.[13]

The haplotype of Jan Gerritsen Decker deduced from the direct-line male descendants of two of his sons is:

Locus STRs Locus STRs Locus STRs
DYS19 14 DYS393 13 DYS460 11
DYS385 11,14 DYS426 12 DYS461 11
DYS388 12 DYS437 15 DYS462 11
DYS389I 13 DYS438 12 GGAAT1B07 10
DYS389II 29 DYS439 12 YCAII 19,23
DYS390 24 DYS447 24 Y-GATA-A10 11
DYS391 11 DYS454 11 Y-GATA-C4 24
DYS392 14 DYS455 11 Y-GATA-H4 12

Jan Gerritsen haplotype. The haplotype analysis provided by Relative Genetics consists of
24 loci on the Y-chromosome and the associated number of repeating units of DNA.

The previously reported haplotype of Jan Broersen Decker[14] has been changed to show the data from the previous study in the current format and to reflect two changes brought about by re-calibration of equipment:[15]

Locus STRs Locus STRs Locus STRs
DYS19 14 DYS393 13 DYS460 11
DYS385 11,14 DYS426 12 DYS461 11
DYS388 12 DYS437 15 DYS462 11
DYS389I 14 DYS438 12 GGAAT1B07 10
DYS389II 30 DYS439 12 YCAII 19,22
DYS390 24 DYS447 25 Y-GATA-A10 14
DYS391 10 DYS454 11 Y-GATA-C4 23
DYS392 13 DYS455 11 Y-GATA-H4 12

Jan Broersen haplotype. The haplotype analysis results provided by Relative Genetics.

One notes differences in the two haplotypes at eight loci (shaded STRs): DYS389I, DYS389II, DYS391, DYS392, DYS447, YCAII, Y-GATA-A10, and Y-GATA-C4. Relative Genetics states that if there are more than two different loci at which the number of STRs differ in a haplotype, further analysis is not useful “since the relationships, if any, are too distant. Therefore, it is not likely that Jan Gerretsen Decker and Jan Broersen
Decker share common paternal ancestry.”[16] When the quoted evaluation was made, there was Y-chromosome data on only one Jan Gerritsen Decker eleventh generation descendant, and one could argue that the STR differences could be due to an anomalous event somewhere in those eleven generations. Now, Jan Gerritsen Decker’s haplotype has been confirmed with the testing of another eleventh generation participant whose genealogy goes through a different son. This confirmation is significant because there
are no intervening generations between Jan Gerritsen and his sons to cloud the results.

The previous article about Jan Broersen Decker made a point that there were no other close male relatives in the area who could have been the ancestor of his two sons who were without birth documentation.[17] Historical evidence and the Y-chromosome-test differences between Jan Gerritsen and Jan Broersen remove from consideration the only contemporary person with the Decker surname in Kingston who might be thought to be a close relative of Jan Broersen Decker.

In conclusion, differences in the haplotypes of Jan Broersen Decker and Jan Gerritsen Decker provided here show that these two 17th Century Deckers of Kingston, New York, were not related.


* 2394 E. 6150 S., Ogden, Utah 84403, wdecker@inovion.com.
1 Mrs. G. B. Munger, “Lineage of the Decker Family,” Olde Ulster, 2 (1902):244.
2 Roswell Randall Hoes, Baptismal and Marriage Registers of the Old Dutch Church of Kingston, Ulster
County, New York, 1660-1809 (New York, 1891), p. 501, marriage 13.
3 Ibid., 505, marriage 45.
4 The name Gerritsen is sometimes spelled Gerretsen as in the following source: Benton Weaver
Decker, The Decker Genealogy, Some Early Descendents of the Dutch Immigrants, Johannes Gerretsen (Decker) and
Jan Broersen (Decker) (Budget Book Manufacturing Company, 1980), p. 1. Both participants in the DNA
study spell the name Gerritsen and I use their spelling.
5 Wayne R. Decker, “Using DNA to Establish the Paternity of Two Undocumented Sons of Jan
Broersen Decker of Kingston, New York,” RECORD 135 (2004):3-8.
6 Note 2, above, and Decker, The Decker Genealogy, 1.
7 Hoes, Baptismal and Marriage Registers, 4, baptism 51.
8 Ibid., 6, baptism 88.
9 Ibid., 508, marriage 75.
10 Relative Genetics, 2495 South West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84115, Telephone 801-461-9760,
Fax 801-461-9761, www.relativegenetics.com.

11 Family records of participant identified as ID 19743.
12 Family records of participant identified as ID 3225.
13 Decker Family Study (Revised), Relative Genetics, 25 Nov. 2002, p. 4. DNA Typing report,
Relative Genetics, 21 June 2004.

14 Decker, RECORD 135(2004):3-8.
15 There are some changes in reporting since the report Decker Family Study (Revised), Relative
Genetics, 25 Nov. 2002, p. 4. The changes include: DYS385a and DYS385b are now listed as one locus
with a comma separating the two STR measurements in the table. YCAIIa and YCAIIb are similarly
listed as one locus with a comma separating the two STR measurements in the table. Hence, there are 24
rather than 26 loci with two double measurements. The DYS394 locus is now denoted DYS19. A recalibration of the equipment has increased the number of STRs at DYS454 and DYS455 from 10 to 11.
These changes are included in the above reproduction of the Jan Broersen haplotype.
16 Decker Family Study (Revised), Relative Genetics, 25 Nov. 2002, p. 2.
17 Decker, RECORD 135(2004):3-8.


Reprinted with permission of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society from Wayne R. Decker, PhD, "Using DNA to Distinguish Between Two 17th Century Decker Familes of Kingston, New York,"
The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 136 (2005): 97-100.

The article, "Using DNA to Distinguish Between Two 17th Century Decker Families of Kingston, New York," by Wayne R. Decker, was originally published in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, volume 136, number 2 (April 2005), pages 97-100.


May 6, 2020