The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 12,324 black Americans with Carson as their last name. That represented 22% of the total of 56,872 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Carson.
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.
1,658 people named Carson were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 297 as mixed.
There was a total of 13,313 people with the name.
Carson 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 3,303 people with the last name Carson as black within a total of 22,883 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 5,029 people named Carson as black within a total of 34,983.
Historic Black Figures With The Carson Surname
Here is a notable African American in history with Carson as their last name.
Julia May Carson
- Born: 1938
- From: Louisville, Kentucky
- Died: 2007
Julia May Porter grew up in Indianapolis where she worked part-time while attending high school. After she graduated from Indiana University, she married a Mr. Carson, although the marriage did not last long. She worked for several years in the office of a U.S. congressman.
Julia Carson was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1972 and to the Indiana Senate in 1976. That year, she and Katie Hall were the first black women senators in Indiana.
Carson served in the senate for fourteen years. She was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1996.
During her long tenure (she never lost an election), Carson increased federal funding for highways and public transport. She also focused on working class issues and child safety. She was primary influence in Congress awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Rosa Parks in 1999.
Carson In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Carson surname from military service.
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 Carson was in March 1867. Hiram Carson was a Recruit in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in March 1867 at Fort Leavenworth, Somerville, and Kentucky.
Another entry was in March 1914. Dothro Carson 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 Carson was for George Carson from Burke County, North Carolina. He enlisted in February 1864 at Frenc Bend MS when he was aged 43.
The record shows that George was assigned on March 1864 to the ship Prairie Bird.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Farmer. 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.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Fortress Monroe in November 1863. William was aged 22 and was from Norfolk, Virginia.
He was assigned to the ship Emma on June 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Cook. His naval rank was Contraband.
Contraband was a term for black sailors who fled from slavery under the Confederacy.