The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 11,813 black Americans with Ballard as their last name. That represented 19% of the total of 61,625 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Ballard.
We end with a review of early records of black military service in the United States.
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.
1,755 people named Ballard were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 200 as mixed.
There was a total of 10,924 people with the name.
Ballard 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 3,311 people with the last name Ballard as black within a total of 19,057 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 4,780 people named Ballard as black within a total of 32,719.
Historic Black Figures With The Ballard Surname
Here is a notable African American in history with Ballard as their last name.
- Born: About 1830
- From: Kentucky
- Died: 1905
John Ballard was born enslaved in Kentucky and secured his freedom in 1859. He moved to Los Angeles and started a delivery service. Alongside his business success, Ballard became a community leader and founded the first AME Church in the city.
In the 1880s, Ballard moved his family to California’s Santa Monica range where he purchased land and raised livestock. He was the first African American landowner on these hills. Some white settlers tried to run him out and steal his claim, but Ballard held out and lived a long life.
The peak on which he resided became known eventually as Negrohead Mountain (and before that, a version with a slur). After a modern campaign, the peak was renamed as Ballard Mountain in 2010.
Ballard In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Ballard surname from different military services:
- Buffalo soldiers
- Black civil war sailors
- Tuskegee airmen
Five regiments for black soldiers were formed during the Civil War. They were known as the Buffalo Soldiers.
Their records are part of the national archive of military monthly returns. The information includes the year and place of birth, where they enlisted, their occupation, and their height.
One of the earliest military entries for Ballard was in October 1872. Robert Ballard was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in October 1872 at Fort Sill, Indian Territory.
Another entry was in March 1914. Howard Ballard was a Private in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry.
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.
One of the earliest entries for Ballard was for Samuel Ballard from Corsville, Virginia. He enlisted in July 1862 at Norfolk when he was aged 24.
The record shows that Samuel was assigned on April 1863 to the ship State of Georgia.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Farmer. His naval rank was 1st Class Boy.
“1st Class Boy” was the rank given to young men who enlisted when they were under eighteen.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Monroe, Louisiana in April 1864. Daniel was aged 19 and was from Monroe, Louisiana.
He was assigned to the ship Ouachita on April 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Fieldhand. His naval rank was Landsman.
“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.
The Tuskegee Airmen were military personnel who served at the Tuskegee Army Airfield or related programs.
Nearly one thousand black pilots graduated from the Tuskegee Institute. They flew single-engine fighter planes or twin-engine bombers. 352 fought in combat.
Alton Ballard graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in August 1943. He qualified as a fighter pilot. Alton was from Pasadena, California.