The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 19,411 black Americans with Floyd as their last name. That represented 29% of the total of 66,454 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Floyd.
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.
2,376 people named Floyd were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 327 as mixed.
There was a total of 9,543 people with the name.
Floyd 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 5,033 people with the last name Floyd as black within a total of 17,747 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 7,911 people named Floyd as black within a total of 33,831.
Historic Black Figures With The Floyd Surname
Here is a notable African American in history with Floyd as their last name.
- From: South Carolina
Marquette Floyd served in the Air Force and fought in the Korean War before studying law at NYU and Brooklyn Law School. He practiced in Amityville for many years before establishing his own law firm in 1962.
In 1969, he was the first African American to be elected as a judge in Suffolk County Court. He was later elevated to the District Court and then to the State Supreme Court. Each time, he broke the color barrier.
IN 2021, the Suffolk County Supreme Court building was renamed after the distinguished jurist.
Floyd In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Floyd 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 Floyd was in December 1873. Daniel H. Floyd was a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. He was stationed in December 1873 at San Antonio, Texas.
Another entry was in June 1916. Ira L. Floyd 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 Floyd was for Brutus Floyd from Camden County, Georgia. He enlisted in September 1862 at St John’s, Florida when he was aged 45.
The record shows that Brutus was assigned on September 1863 to the ship Potomska.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Carpenter. His naval rank was 3rd Class Boy.
“3rd 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 2nd class boy and then to 1st.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at New York in January 1865. John was aged 21 and was from Smithtown, New York.
He was assigned to the ship Spirea on August 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Cook/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.