The eight short tandem repeat (STR) polymorphic systems mapping on the male-specific region of the human Y chromosome, DYS19, DYS385, DYS389I, DYS389II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392 and DYS393, were typed in populations from Libya, Egypt and Yemen. Locus and haplotype informativeness were measured by means of the haplotype diversity and was compared with other data from the Y haplotype reference database (YHRD). One method to trace recent population movements is the analysis of surnames which, at least in Central Europe can be thought of as traits "linked" to the Y chromosome. In order to assess the actual extend of correlation between surnames and Y-chromosomal haplotypes, eight Ychromosomal short tandem repeat markers (DYS19, DYS385, DYS389I, DYS389II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392 and DYS393) were typed in 400 males from Halle. These individuals were subdivided into groups according to the origin of their respective surname, namely German and Slavic. The data were compared with other population data from the Y haplotype reference database (YHRD). The results as well as the forensic and population genetic relevance of these two main topics were discussed.