Austin As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 31135 black Americans with Austin as their last name. That represented 26% of the total of 119,706 entries.

This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Austin.

We end with a review of early records of black military service in the United States.

After The Civil War

The 1870 census was the first survey after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1850 and 1860, only free African Americans were recorded in the census. The many enslaved were omitted.

From 1870 onward, all black Americans were included.

3,085 people named Austin were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 410 as mixed.

There was a total of 23,069 people with the name.

Austin In The 1900 And 1940 Census

The mixed category was dropped from the census in 1900, so we just need to look at the black numbers this time.

The 1900 census recorded 7,768 people with the last name Austin as black within a total of 39,408 that year.

By the way, the mixed category returned in the 1910 and 1920 censuses. It was dropped again in 1930, but replaced with extra categories for colored and non-white in a way that seems confusing now.

This changed again in 1940 and we can simply focus on one black category.

The 1940 census recorded 13,405 people named Austin as black within a total of 63,749.

Historic Black Figures With The Austin Surname

Here are some notable African Americans in history with Austin as their last name.

Wanda Austin

  • Born: 1954
  • From: New York City

Wanda Austin grew up in the Bronx and went to Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania to study mathematics. She was hired by the Aerospace Corporation in 1979 and worked there while pursuing a Ph.D. which she obtained in 1988.

An outstanding administrator, Austin rose through the management ranks to become Senior Vice President in 2004. She became CEO in 2008 and held the role until she retired in 2016.

Austin was appointed to the NASA Advisory Council in 2014. The following year, she served on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. She is a member of many other scientific and aeronautic organizations.

Austin In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Some of the earliest for African Americans date back to the Civil War.

President Lincoln authorized the use of “colored troops” in combat in the Union Army in 1863, although some black units had fought before then.

The records show that Richard Austin was a First Sergeant in E Company in the 58th U.S. Colored Infantry. He was aged 24 in a military record of 1863.

During the Civil War, five regiments for black soldiers were formed. They became known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

James Austin was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in October 1872 at Fort Sill, Indian Territory.

Seabron J. Austin was a Private in the same regiment in January 1910.

If you are researching military ancestors, there is a free index of these records on and You have to create an account on either website, but you do not need to pay for the Buffalo Soldiers archive.

Black Civil War Sailors

The National Parks Service has a free archive of African American sailors during the Civil War.

The information includes their age, height, rank, occupation, and where and when they enlisted. It also includes every ship that they served on.

You can search the database on the National Parks website.

John Austin

One of the earliest entries for Austin was for John Austin from New York, New York. He enlisted in January 18 1865 at New York when he was aged 23.

The record shows that John was assigned on September 30 1865 to the ship St. Louis.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Cook. His naval rank was Landsman.

“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.