Last name: Black

This very old and famous surname, equally popular in Scotland and England, has at least two possible origins, the first being a nickname given by the invading Angles and Saxons to the native Celts and Britons who were darker-haired and darker-skinned than themselves. There is an ancient fable that Wulfricus Niger, otherwise known as Wulfric the Black circa 980, received his name after blackening his face in order to pass undetected through his enemies. The second possible origin is as a shortened form of Black-Smith, a worker in cold metals, as distinct from a White (Smith), one who worked in hot metals. The surname was popular in Scotland from the 15th Century. Adam Black of Edinburgh (1784 - 1874), a publisher, acquired the rights to the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1827. No less than ten Coats of Arms were granted to families of this name. Those borne by Gilbert Black, Dean of the Guild of Aberdeen (1672), depict a black saltire between a red mullet in chief and a red crescent in base, on a silver shield with a black chief. A demi lion proper is on the Crest, and the Motto, "Non Crux, sed lux", translates as, "Not the cross, but its light". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wulfhun des Blaca which was dated circa 901, in the "Old English Bynames Register", during the reign of King Edward, known as "The Elder", 899 - 924 A.D. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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D. Black

My family came from scotland before the U.S. was even a country, landing in Maine not sure what year i have it all written down somewhere.

michelle black

My family is from pennsylvania.

michelle black

I am told my family was from pennsylvania.

michelle black

I am told my family was from pennsylvania (dutch area).

marie black

This is very interesting and will help with what I needed to no thank you x


My last name is Black

Ashley Goodrich

My last name was supposed to be Black but when my ancestor married a different man she changed it again to Goodrich instead. :/ I have Native American/European ancestry as well as Polish, Scottish, Slovakian, and etc.

Najwa black
My fathers side of family is Indian and my great grandma is fully Indian but my moms side is African .I am Jamaican and I want to know about my family

Hayley Black
My family immigrated to Nova Scotia, from what I'm told our family was pretty much run out of Europe for being criminals, anyone with similar stories?

im trying to trace the BLACK family heritage

Gary Black
I do not know any other relative named Black other than my brothers and sisters , my father is the only one I know on his side of the family , his name was Donald Leroy Black born Sept. 21 1917

Richard Black

Where are you from? I am from western PA. and there are a boat load of us!!

Marsha Black

My family is from Butler County, PA. Robert Black, along with his wife Elizabeth and her parents, Benjamin and Betsy Grossman, settled in Cherry Twp., Butler Co. in 1797. Their son James Black married Sarah Kelly. I have traced her line to Robert the Bruce. I would like to do the same with the Black name, but I can only get as far back as Robert who was born in 1770 somewhere between Gettysburg and Philadelphia near the Maryland border. Do you know any more about Robert and his parents, etc.


Richard, Are your Black's from Erie County, Venango or Crawford County, PA? Looking for John R. Black born circa 1754, lived in Erie County, PA.

shay black
I was wondering if any slaves took on the blacks last name. Mainly cause I'm African American with this last name and I want to know more about my heritage

Joel Black

After the Civil war, many southerners migrated to Texas with their former slaves, to "take care of them." Sort of as a family arrangement I'm sure. Such is the story of my family. They took two people with them to Texas after the war. They did not have dozens of slaves or anything, not that that could possibly excuse anything. From what I understand at least one of the people was elderly.

i feels so special

Colin Black
My Mother and father are from Belfast N. Ireland.

robert j. black
my family came from port down county armagh mostly irish scotish and english since other names like o'hanlon, brown, hamilton, irving, sproule and morrison are also present from marriages along the way. seems like some of these people started out in n. ireland then moved to scotland.

I am doing my Ancestry and my GGrandmother was Ann Black.....Her mother was Margret Back and her father was John Black.., Margret, Ann, and brother James came from Scotland through Canada in 1846. Ann married Samuel Holdsworth in1852 . Samuel and James served in the 15th NY Engineers in the Civil War.......we just discovered James family. His first wife was Julia and he had a son Roberts line...there are Browns.......It took us quite awhile to find this info........found a death certificate and info in a directory.....The Black Ancestry is to the search for McGuires......

Floyd W. Black

Floyd W. Black son of Jesse w. Black, Son of Iserial Black he had brothers John, James and a fourth I dont know The four were last togeather in Indiana. There was at least two Margetetts and a Ann in some letters I have from the 1800's

Susan Hasa
Would anyone know anything about a John Black, who was a captain with the Seaforth Highlanders and went to South Africa around the beginning of 1800? He died in 1806 on a voyage to one can assume he was buried at sea??? He left behind his son by the name of John Henry Black??? He went on to have 8 children one of which was Gerald Gordon Black, my father?? Are there any relatives of this clan still living n South Africa?? John Henry Black and his wife are buried in St. Savior's churchyard in Claremont, Cape Town??.

kenny black
very similar to me , but the cambells were the bad boys.

I found years ago that the MacGregor clan banned some of the clan members for being theives, rapists, etc, basically anything that was bad these members did; and that is how the surname came from the MacGregor clan. Basically the MacGregor clan blacklisted the bad clan members and that is how the surname Black came about. The Blacks after being banned did end up going to the hills of Scotland to live. I had the scroll about that, which had the coat of arms on it as well, but I am unable to find it at this time. I had purchased it back in the mid 80's and that is how I learned about the Black surname.

I would like to have the source info you named. Please let me know where you purchased it in a reply. Thanks

Kendall Black
Shay Black I know a lot about our heritage, after the Blacks migrated to "The New Scotland", which is now Nova Scotia, many with the surname Black married into the Clan McLachlan which has changed over time to McLaughlin who were also from Scotland. My great great great grandfather Black married an African American in the 1780's who was a former slave who escaped north and lived in what is now called Prentiss, Maine. His mother was a McLaughlin. You should know the you have heredity rights to the McLachlan Clan from Locke Fynne Scotland. In the last 22 years of research this is the only reference I have found for the surname Black in this country

Ryan Aspinall
My mother's surname is Black (we are white, sorry Shay, no pun intended :P) and we are in Nova Scotia in the Halifax area. My mother, my grandparents, and my uncle (and his wife), as and by that nature myself and my sister all reside in Nova Scotia. My other uncle and my aunt on my mother's side are in Alberta and Ontario respectively.

Hayley Black
Thank you so much! This clarifies a lot

Colin T
My many great grandfather, William Black, came to N.C., USA from Glasgow approx 1812.

marc black
I'm also interested in finding out a bit more about my surname.

Where there any royal or noble Blacks?

I was told that Black was one of the oldest surnames in Scotland. My grand father also told me that black used to be a clan that looked after the Macgregor clan as armed guards. Thats all I was told my grandfathers father later immigrated to South Africa when he was the first person to bring with him a Stone crusher (true story have a paper clipping and every thing). And now i have immigrated to New Zealand.

I posted below here about what I had learned about the Black surname.

Sheryl Black
It is possible that the Black families of the MacGregor were related to the Black families of the Lamont's. Both having the same Sept's. Some DNA is similar, both having G2a sub-claves for Black surnames on both clan sites.


Yes Sheryl, that seems to correlate with my research in the early 90's when I visited Scotland. The Blacks from Scotland possibly went to the Ulster Plantations in the 1600's.

Marbeth M. Spreyer
my mother's maiden name was Black. They came from County Armaugh(spelling) in N. Ireland...I have heard that the surname was changed to a color by order f the English crown. Ever hear of that?

Joel Black

In 1604 there was a law passed that made it illegal to be a member of one of the border clans. If you were unfortunate enough to have the last name of Macgregor, Maclean or Lamont, it was a capital offense. Many chose one of the sept names of their clan instead, Black was one such choice. No surprise that many of these people emigrated from Scotland at this time of oppression by the Campbells and their English handlers.

s twiyche
probably norman lamont as ex-chanchellor of uk government he would be claimant?

Ian black
From what I know my family are descendants of the lamonts. Do we know who the current chieftain is? I Black

@K.Black Your not kenny from school are you?!?!?!

K. Black
True. Look up the clans Lamont, McDonald & Maclean for the complete story. Quite interesting, yet sad part of my ancestors' history.

what part of the country do you live k black

kenny black
ThATS how i understand it, my family r from the cowal , and can trace my clan to the lamonts.... we are from tighnabrauigh ,which is close my surname is BLACK ans also my grandmother was a whyte.So i can take that no problem..

i was told that the scots clansmen after loseing a battle went into the hills and changed their names to colours to avoid capture when they came back down. sound to easy to be true to me anyone know if it,s true or false