SPRENKEL Family Origins

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Two SPRENKEL* immigrants, Michael and Wilhelm (William) arrived in Pennsylvania prior to 1723. There is good evidence that they were most likely brothers. Another group of SPRENKELs, brothers George, Michael, and Peter appears in North Carolina in the 1760's. These brothers are said to be sons of Peter, a third brother of Michael and Wilhelm. Unfortunately documentation on the link to the third brother Peter is lacking.  Still other SPRENKEL families immigrated later.  There are also some SPRENKEL families that have not been connected to an immigrant yet.  See known SPRENKEL LINEAGES.

[* The spelling used here is the early spelling used in York Co., PA.  Other spelling variants found among their known descendants (and the other immigrants) are SPRENKLE, SPRINKLE, SPRANKLE, SPRINKLES, SPRENCKEL, SPRANKEL, SPRANKELL, etc.]

In the last few years a new tool has been developed that can address genealogical issues such as this: DNA analysis. Specifically, by looking at genes on the Y-chromosome it is possible to compare the ancestry of males with the same surname to determine whether they have a common ancestor, and to some degree, how long ago their common ancestor may have lived.

Only males have a Y-chromosome. It comes only from their father, who got it from his father, etc. Since the Y-chromosome comes only from the father, it descends through the paternal line in the same way as the surname does. By comparison of the specific DNA sequences, it is possible to show that two individuals have a common ancestor. It is not, however, possible to determine exact relationships with this technique.

Therefore, DNA could be used to say that Peter was not a brother of Michael and Wilhelm if their Y-chromosome DNA does not match closely. If it does match, it will show that they have a common ancestor, but it can't prove that the common ancestor was their father. Unless we find church records in Europe that contain the baptisms of the immigrants, it is unlikely that we will ever be able to resolve the question of Michael, Wilhelm and Peter being brothers.

Y-chromosomal DNA may also be able to help solve another major question concerning our SPRENKEL immigrants - Where in Germany (or elsewhere in Europe) did they come from? As you can see in the MAPS, there are still many individuals in Germany that have the surname SPRENKEL or variations of the name. If DNA samples could be collected from some of the people in Germany (or from known descendants in the United States, we may be able to establish a link between our immigrant ancestors and the German SPRENKEL families. If a link is established to one of the European names, we can then work on tracing their ancestry in hopes of finding our immigrants in the process.


We need SPRENKEL (or variants) surnamed males to donate DNA samples (collected by swabbing a q-tip on the inside of your cheek, not from a blood sample) who have traced their lineage back to an immigrant or people that are still working on finding their link to their immigrant ancestor.

If you are not a SPRENKEL (or variants) surnamed male and would still like to help, there are two ways you can contribute to the project.  We need help in identifying and contacting potential SPRENKEL's to be tested,  and secondly, we can use cash donations to help pay for the analysis of DNA samples from those that don't want to pay for the analysis themselves.

Family Tree DNA has group rates that make the testing somewhat more affordable, but it is still rather expensive when you need to do a moderate number of tests.

If you would be interested in participating in this project, contact Ken McCrea, or see the Instructions for Study Participants.

We now have enough people interest in the project to get started with some preliminary testing. Let me know if you could donate a DNA sample (if you are a SPRENKEL male) or if you are willing to contribute to the cost of the project (also, please let me know about how much you would consider donating).

This site will be updated as the project continues and will include the test results as we get them.  Results will not identify individual participants, only the lines from which the descend.

The First Results are in!!  Details are here!!!

Genealogical Trivia - How good is the Social Security Death Index?

Maps showing where in Pennsylvania various
SPRENKLE name variants are found today.

Page last updated 17 February 2004.