To estimate Y-chromosomal short tandem repeat (Y-STR) mutation rates, 15 loci (i.e., DYS19, DYS389 I/II, DYS390, and DYS393; DYS437, DYS438, DYS439, and DYS385; DYS391, DYS392, YCA II, and DXYS156) were analyzed in a sample of 1,029 father/son pairs from Westphalia, northwestern Germany. Among 15,435 meiotic allele transfers, 32 mutations were observed; thus, the mutation rate across all 15 Y-STR loci was 2.1 x 10(-3) per locus (95% C.I.: 1.5-3.0 x 10(-3)). With the exception of a three-repeat mutation at DYS385, all remaining mutations were single repeat mutations. Repeat losses were more frequent than gains (20:12), and the mutation rate appeared to increase with age. The Y haplogroups that were detected in the individuals showing a mutation reflect the haplogroup distribution in the Westphalian population. Additionally, the correlation of surnames and haplotypes was tested: Only 49 surnames occurred more than once, and only two men with the same rare surname shared the same haplotype. All other men with identical surnames carried different haplotypes.