Tubman As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 281 black Americans with Tubman as their last name. That represented 36% of the total of 782 entries.

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

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.

93 people named Tubman were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 8 as mixed.

There was a total of 210 people with the name.

Tubman 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 87 people with the last name Tubman as black within a total of 291 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 67 people named Tubman as black within a total of 413.

Historic Black Figures With The Tubman Surname

Here is a notable African Americans in history with Tubman as their last name.

Harriet Tubman

  • Born: About 1820
  • From: Dorchester County, Maryland
  • Died: 1913

The Underground Railroad was a network of safe houses and travel routes organized by many church and community leaders, civil rights activists, and abolitionists. Thousands of enslaved people were helped to escape from the South.

Araminta “Harriet” Ross is better known now as the legendary Harriet Tubman. She was one of nine children of Benjamin Ross and Harriet Green. The 12-year-old Harriet Ross tried to stop a fellow slave from being beaten and was injured severely herself.

She married John Tubman in 1844 despite marriage being illegal for slaves. She fled slavery with two brothers with the help of the Underground Railroad. Harriet then became a major conductor on the Railroad, returning South many times to lead slaves to freedom.

Tubman’s frequent travels made her an invaluable spy for the Union Army during the Civil War. She married Nelson Davis, a Union soldier, and worked tirelessly after the War to raise funds for freedmen and campaign for women’s suffrage.

Tubman In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Tubman surname from military service.

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 Tubman was in July 1881. Joseph W Tubman was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in July 1881 at Fort Sill, Indian Territory.

One of the later entries was in November 1899. J.G. Tubman was a Sergeant in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry.

If you are researching military ancestors, there is a free index of these records on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org.

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 few entries for Tubman was for Thomas Tubman from Baltimore, Maryland. He enlisted in April 21 1864 at Baltimore when he was aged 22.

The record shows that Thomas was assigned on January 1865 to the ship Flag. His naval rank was Landsman.

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

Tubman 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 20 records for Tubman in the archives. Here are some of the first names:

  • Benjamin
  • Lloyd
  • Mary S.
  • Samuel