Eckhardt DNA Project Website
This DNA study was initiated in 2003 by third cousins whose primary aim was to determine which of several immigrant ancestors was the forebear of their own "brick wall" ancestor, and to help others do the same. That objective having been satisfied almost immediately, the project has quickly advanced to its next phase. While our special focus now extends beyond the bounds of our home state of New York to include the German Palatinate (in particular), we'd like to emphasize that the parameters of the entire study have likewise expanded to include the whole of Europe (in general).
By testing males bearing any variation of this surname via one of the Y-DNA tests, we are able to build a database of many different lineages, and to group them by their DNA thumbprints or 'signatures'. The more DNA signature groups that are formed, the better the foundation of comparison for all subsequent participants. It also works by process of elimination, since each set of results will either match an existing signature group, or not (in which case it will be representative of a whole new family group).
No matter where on earth your ancestor might have hailed from or what the spelling variation, all are invited to participate. Whether you've exhausted traditional avenues of research and wish to break down that brick wall through scientific means, or already are part of a well-established ancestry and wish to help "lost" branches find their own place, your participation will be an invaluable contribution toward the larger goal of family reconstruction.
While we welcome the recent influx of mt-DNA and other family-finding test results to our project (details of which can be found on Family Tree DNA's website), our primary focus has always been (and continues to be) Y-DNA results as outlined above. Among our current goals, we hope to find participation from several branches who are still unrepresented, particularly the Westchester Co. NY Acker clan, as well as various Eckert families from Ulster Co. NY (including a couple of sizable branches clustered around the Shokan vicinity). We also still have a relative lack of Eacker/Eaker/Aker from Montgomery and Schoharie Co.'s NY.
Another area of concern is the tangle of descendants from some of the early Pennsylvania Eckert/Acker groups. Several regions were host to multiple settlers thought to be related, but who in some cases have proved otherwise, and we'd like to flesh these out a bit more and help allay some of the confusion.
See our ancestral profiles under "Results" tab for further details, and for other families not yet represented in this project.