Gary As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 10,331 black Americans with Gary as their last name. That represented 46% of the total of 22,310 entries.

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

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.

883 people named Gary were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 87 as mixed.

There was a total of 3,306 people with the name.

Gary 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 2,420 people with the last name Gary as black within a total of 6,476 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 4,198 people named Gary as black within a total of 10,753.

Historic Black Figures With The Gary Surname

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

William Gary

  • Born: 1947
  • From: Eastman, Georgia

William (Willie) Gary was raised by a farming family. He won an athletic scholarship to Shaw University in North Carolina and captained the football team.

He earned a law degree in 1974 and established the first black practice in Stuart, Florida. He grew the firm to one of the largest in the state, taking on high profile cases against powerful corporate interests.

Gary In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Some of the earliest for African Americans date back to the Civil War.

President Lincoln authorized the use of “colored troops” in combat in the Union Army in 1863, although some black units had fought before then.

The records show that Matt Gary was a Sergeant in Company H Company in the 86th US Colored Infantry. He was aged 18 in a military record of 1863.

Gary In The Freedmen’s Bureau Records

The Freedmen’s Bureau was established after the Civil War to help newly freed African Americans. You can read more in our article on researching the Freedmen archives.

There are over 236 records for Gary in the archives. Here are some of the first names:

  • Amos
  • George C.
  • Rosetta
  • Susan