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2,389 study surnames with us
and a further 6,077 variant names.

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About the study

This project is intended to provide DNA research on the Deputy clan that purportedly arrived in the American colonies in the late 1600s / early 1700s; and to use that research to identify the lands of origin of the clan.
The most predominant (but to-date wholly unsubstantiated) legend is that the Deputy clan in the Americas was established by a Silvester Deputy, a Huguenot that had fled France (perhaps from the Poitou region and the town of Poitiers) for Wales in the 1600s; and then he or his descendants relocated to the American colonies by the end of that century. Other legends identify Deputy as a line of English paupers who were relocated to the American colonies. We aim to use DNA research to find the truth to these claims.

Name origin

This Deputy Surname project was launched to attempt to bring together the researchers for the Deputy line that appeared to arrive in the Americas in the 17th century and to apply the forensic tools of DNA genealogy to push back in time our knowledge of the originations of this family line. The hope is that other researchers like you will join our study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying lines that cross or intersect. Please contact the project leader, add categories to your profiles, add your questions to the bulletin board, add details of your name research, etc.

We are expecting Y-DNA testing to be the best tool for accomplishing our goals; however, anyone with any Deputy connection in their family tree who would like to know more about that line is welcome to join this project.

The best-known / best-published Deputy originations legend appears to have been compiled and published by a Belvah Deputy Perkins of Jennings County, Indiana in the 1970s:

The DEPUTY's [sic] were French Huguenots who emigrated to Wales because of religious persecution. While in Wales they changed the name to Depaty. When they emigrated to American they changed the name to DEPUTY.

At the world's Fair in Chicago in 1893, in the Delaware State building was an old Hominy Mortar, with an inscription stating it had been in the possession of the family of the present owner 200 years. Made of an oak tree that grew in Wales, and brought to this country by a family named DEPUTY about 1658.

Belvah also provided a profile of a Sylvester Deputy who was apparently born in 1637 (unknown location). This Sylvester Deputy, who apparently migrated to Delaware about 1658, apparently sired another Sylvester Deputy who was allegedly born in 1675 and who became the patriarch of all of the Delaware Deputys that followed.

The above story was, and remains, unsourced.

The earliest documented evidence of DEPUTYs in the Americas as identified by Belvah comes from a Delaware will, dated Jan 1 1728, from a William TOWNSEND of Sussex County, Delaware. In the will, William lists his heirs as sons Stephen TOWNSEND, Costin TOWNSEND, Solomon TOWNSEND, Charles TOWNSEND, and daughters Abigail TOWNSEND and Elizabeth DEPUTY, and son-in-law Sylvester DEPUTY. (This will was probated 1-17-1736 - See Delaware Archives vol. A 102, page 83.) Actual quotes from the will regarding Sylvester and Elizabeth DEPUTY:

Item: I give unto my son-in-law Sylvester DEPUTY a plantation whereon he now dwells with all the appurtenances situated on Gum Branch the same to be held and enjoyed by him his heirs and assigns forever…

Item: I give unto my daughter Elizabeth DEPUTY twenty shillings…

Gum Branch is the northeasternmost branch of the Nanticoke River at its headwaters. The Nanticoke drains into the Cheasapeake Bay (as opposed to the Delaware Bay); from this topographical fact, the Calverts of Maryland considered this area to fall under their domain up until the 1753 resolution of the Maryland/Delaware boundary dispute when the Mason-Dixon line fixed the area as part of Sussex County, Delaware.

Historical occurrences of the name

The Deputy surname (Robert Deputy) appeared briefly in colonial 17th century Virginia, in Essex County. In the 18th century, all of the known Deputies in the American continent were living in the area known today in Sussex County, Delaware. In the reconstructed Delaware State Census of 1782, a total of 8 Deputy families were counted in Sussex County. The 1785 Tax Assessments showed 10 Deputy families living in the area. This total also matched the 1st US Federal Census in 1790.  The number of Deputy families had increased only to 12 by the 1800 Federal Census, or a total of 54 family members;  by 1810, a total of 15 Deputy families were counted, and 3 of them had migrated out of Delaware: 2 had moved to Wood County, Virginia, in apparent anticipation of relocating to Indiana Territory; and the 3rd had moved to Wilkes County, North Carolina.  Although it cannot be proven, it is likely that all of these later 19th-century families were offspring of the earlier Delaware families, no additional Deputy immigrants arrived in the Americas after 1800.  By 1820, the bulk of Deputys were split between Sussex County, Delaware and southern Indiana; this has remained the status quo to this day.


To-date, two male Deputy descendants have submitted to Y-DNA testing (one for 67 STR markers, the other for 111 STR markers, both at FTDNA).  Both of these descendants matched each other at 67 markers with a Genetic Distance of 1 (GD=1).  Both of them also submitted to an SNP Pack test and were determined to be in Haplogroup R-Z9 (ISOGG nomenclature: R1b1a2a1a1a4) (R1b (M343)>L278>L754>L388>P297>M269>L23>L51>L151/P311>S21/U106>Z381>Z301>L48>S268/Z9).