Dean As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 19,179 black Americans with Dean as their last name. That represented 17% of the total of 114,030 entries.

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

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.

2,463 people named Dean were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 371 as mixed.

There was a total of 23,493 people with the name.

Dean 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 5,097 people with the last name Dean as black within a total of 38,390 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 7,683 people named Dean as black within a total of 61,146.

Historic Black Figures With The Dean Surname

Here is a notable African American in history with Dean as their last name.

Nathaniel Dean

  • Born: 1956
  • Died: 2021

Nathaniel Dean graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1978 from Mississippi State University. After obtaining a PhD from Vanderbilt in 1987, Dean worked for Bell Labs in their software research department.

He joined the faculty of Rice Unversity and then moved to Texas Southern University where he was a professor and chair of mathematics. His research interests included graph theory and parallel computing.

Dean worked tirelessly to encourage minorities to enter the world of mathematics and computational science. He served as president of the National Association of Mathematicians for ten years.

Other Pioneering Black Mathematicans

Here are just a few of many:

Dean In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Dean surname from different military services:

  • Buffalo soldiers
  • Black civil war sailors
  • Tuskegee airmen

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 Dean was in July 1877. Amos Dean was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in July 1877 at Fort Clark, Texas.

Another entry was in February 1916. Warren Dean was a Captain in the U.S. Ninth 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.

Joseph Dean

One of the earliest entries for Dean was for Joseph Dean from Richmond, Virginia. He enlisted in August 1864 at Yorktown when he was aged 22.

The record shows that Joseph was assigned on July 1865 to the ship Macedonian.

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

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

Alexander Dean

One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at St. Catherines, Georgia in June 1863. Alexander was aged 35 and was from Liberty, Georgia.

He was assigned to the ship Madgie on July 1863.

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.

Tuskegee Airmen

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.

Vincent Dean graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in March 1944. He qualified as a fighter pilot. Vincent was from Corona, New York.