The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 11,097 black Americans with Blue as their last name. That represented 46% of the total of 24,341 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Blue.
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.
1,171 people named Blue were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 150 as mixed.
There was a total of 3,811 people with the name.
Blue 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 2,446 people with the last name Blue as black within a total of 7,019 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 4,255 people named Blue as black within a total of 11,814.
Historic Black Figures With The Blue Surname
Here is a notable African American in history with Blue as their last name.
- Born: 1990
- From: Glendale, Arizona
I don’t usually include people so young as Chris Blue in this section of the website, but I couldn’t find someone with the surname further back in history!
Chris Blue’s family moved to from Arizona to Knoxville, Tennessee when he was a child. He was singing in church from the age of three and was ordained as a preacher when he was fifteen.
He had won several singing competitions by the time he entered The Voice in 2017. He was the last selection to join the competition and became the outright winner of season twelve.
Blue In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Blue 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 Blue was in June 1876. Joseph Blue was a Corporal in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. He was stationed in June 1876 at Fort Union.
Another entry was in June 1914. Daniel Blue was a Private in the U.S. Tenth 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 Blue was for Charles Blue from Washington D.C.. He enlisted in April 1865 at New York when he was aged 42.
The record shows that Charles was assigned on August 1865 to the ship Fort Morgan.
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.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Fernandina in March 1864. Mento was aged 25 and was from Nassau County, Florida.
He was assigned to the ship Para on March 1865.
His naval rank was 1st Class Boy.
“1st Class Boy” was a rank generally given to seamen in training, who performed various manual tasks and duties aboard a ship under supervision. This could prepare them for promotion to the rank of ordinary seaman.
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.
Elliot Blue graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in January 1944. He qualified as a bomber pilot. Elliot was from Hampton, Virginia.