Weaver As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 14,369 black Americans with Weaver as their last name. That represented 10% of the total of 143,837 entries.

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

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.

1,969 people named Weaver were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 499 as mixed.

There was a total of 30,932 people with the name.

Weaver 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 4,772 people with the last name Weaver as black within a total of 49,255 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 6,539 people named Weaver as black within a total of 78,187.

Historic Black Figures With The Weaver Surname

Here are some notable African Americans in history with Weaver as their last name.

Robert Clifton Weaver

  • Born: 1907
  • From: Washington D.C.
  • Died: 1997

Robert Clifton’s grandfather, Robert Tanner Freeman, was the first black American to graduate as a dentist. Robert went to the same institution, Harvard, where he took a degree in science. He got a PhD. in philosophy in 1934.

That same year, he became an aide to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. He went on to work in the U.S. Housing Authority, National Defense, and the War Manpower Commission. Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Weaver to his Black Cabinet in 1934.

He later went on to be Director of Race Relations for the Major of Chicago. He joined President Kennedy’s administration as an expert in housing.

Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him as Secretary of Housing in 1966. He was the first black American to have a cabinet position.

Alma Weaver

  • Born: 1923
  • From: Aiken, South Carolina
  • Died: 2017

After graduating with a degree in English and French from Benedict College, Alma Weaver went to France to continue her studies.

She gained her PhD from the University of South Carolina and became professor of French and World Literature at Benedict College where she headed her department.

She married Wallace Byrd. In later life, Alma Byrd was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1991.

Weaver In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. 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.

William Weaver

One of the earliest entries for Weaver was for William Weaver from Hertford County, North Carolina. He enlisted in February 1862 at Roanoke Island, North Carolina when he was aged 22.

The record shows that William was assigned on June 1864 to the ship Commander Morris.

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

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

Laurence Eli Weaver

One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Plymouth, North Carolina in January 1864. Laurence Eli was aged 18 and was from Hertford County, North Carolina.

He was assigned to the ship Miami on January 1865.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Laborer. His naval rank was 1st Class Boy.

“1st Class Boy” was the rank given to young men who enlisted when they were under eighteen.

Weaver 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 820 records for Weaver in the archives. Here are some of the first names:

  • Alice Dora
  • Amanda
  • Chase
  • Gillman