Berry As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 30692 black Americans with Berry as their last name. That represented 23% of the total of 132,812 entries.

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

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.

4,409 people named Berry were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 745 as mixed.

There was a total of 30,192 people with the name.

Berry 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 9,944 people with the last name Berry as black within a total of 51,282 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 13,818 people named Berry as black within a total of 76,316.

Historic Black Figures With The Berry Surname

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

Leonidas Berry

  • Born: 1902
  • From: Person County, North Carolina
  • Died: 1995

Leonidas Berry received his medical degree from Rush Medical College at the University of Chicago in 1929. After interning at Freedmen’s Hospital in D.C., he got a Master’s in pathology from the University of Illinois. Berry then spent three years specializing in gastroenterology at Provident Hospital.

In 1936, Berry became the first black staff physician at Cook County Hospital in fifty years. He was a pioneer in gastroscopic instruments, inventing a scope to assist in removing stomach tissue.

After he became president of the Cook County Hospital’s Physician Association, he devised the “Berry Plan”. The program provided medical counseling to young narcotics users.

Berry actively worked against segregation in the medical profession. He refused to a medical conference in New Orleans in 1958. In the 1960s, he worked at desegregating medical associations.

In 1970, he joined with other black health workers to form the Flying Black Medics. During a race riot in Cairo, Illinois, the group flew in to provide medical services to the poorest residents.

Other Early Doctors

Here are some other notable black doctors in the 19th and early 20th century:

Berry In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Berry surname from military service.

Buffalo Soldiers

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 Berry was in August 1867. George Berry was a Recruit in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in August 1867 at Fort Riley, Kansas; New York.

One of the later entries was in January 1915. Charles Berry was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry.

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.

Robert Berry

One of the earliest entries for Berry was for Robert Berry from Prince Georges County, Maryland. He enlisted in September 15 1858 at Washington when he was aged 20.

The record shows that Robert was assigned on March 31 1864 to the ship .

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

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

James Berry

One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Boston in October 30 1862. James was aged 25 and was from Aiken, South Carolina.

He was assigned to the ship Ossipee on March 31 1864.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Painter. His rank was also a Landsman.