From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

First Name "Kentucky"

Many things have been given the name "Kentucky": ships, trains, dams, plantations, businesses, communities, literary characters, gambling wheels, and race and show horses. But there have also been living persons with the first name "Kentucky" dating back to at least the early 1800s. Looking at the census records, it is noted that during the 1840s and 1850s there were a few persons who had been honored with the name Kentucky. In 1850 there were about nine persons named "Kentucky," both male and female, about half actually born in the state of Kentucky. There were about 18 in 1860, and by 1870 there were about 30. 

The numbers continued to grow very slowly until there was an all time high in 1900 of about 70 persons named "Kentucky"; then the numbers started to slowly decline. In the 1940 U.S. Census, about 41 people were named "Kentucky." The name is still given to a few newborns each year in the United States. To date, within the U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current, there were 17 persons with the first name "Kentucky,"; the most recent death was in 2007.

Slaves were also named "Kentucky" in the U.S.; many of the persons listed below were born prior to 1865, when slavery was to end in the United States with the ratification of the 13th Amendment. There was at least one slave outside the U.S. named "Kentucky"; he was born around 1758 and was the slave of Sir William Barton in St. Michael Parish in Barbados, Lesser Antilles [source: Slave Registers of Former British Colonial Dependencies 1817, Office of Registry of Colonial Slaves and Slave Compensation Commission, The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England].

African Americans who were not slaves in the United States with the first name "Kentucky" can first be found in the 1860 Census and the 1870 Census, both males and females, and all but two were born and lived outside the state of Kentucky.

Overall, "Kentucky" has not been among the most popular first names with any group or race of people in the United States. Looking at African Americans with the first name "Kentucky," it has most often been in the south, in particular in Mississippi, that people were most likely to name a female child "Kentucky." The name is not among those found in the Popular Names by State, a database at the U.S. Social Security website. But the name is found in baby names books such as The Complete Book of Baby Names, by L. Bolton, and The Best Baby Names Treasury, by E. Larson.

African Americans First Name "Kentucky"

1860 U. S. Census

  • Kentucky Sloan (f) - born 1850 and lived in KY

1866 Alabama Census

  • Kentucky Heston (or Horton) (m) - 30-40 years old

1870 U. S. Census

  • Kentucky Brown (f) - born 1853 in VA and lived in AR
  • Kentucky Whorton (f) - born 1865 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky Nixon (m) - born 1840 in SC lived in FL
  • Kentucky Simmons (f) - born 1845 and lived in KY
  • Kentucky Steward (f) - born 1859 and lived in MO
  • Kentucky Walker (f) - born 1851 in MO lived in OH
  • Kentucky Wright (m) - born 1863 and lived in GA

1880 U. S. Census

  • Kentucky Price (f) - born 1859 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky Ream (f) - born 1853 and lived in TX
  • Kentucky Taylor (f) - born 1856 and lived in AR

1900 U. S. Census

  • Kentucky Bivins (f) - born 1855 and lived in AR
  • Kentucky Freeman (m) - born 1891 and lived in TX
  • Kentucky Humphrey (f) - born 1894 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky Jordan (f) - born 1876 in KY and lived in KS
  • Kentucky Malet (m) - born 1880 and lived in LA
  • Kentucky Mabry (f) - born 1893 and lived in AR
  • Kentucky Price (f) - born 1870 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky M. Reid (f) - born 1845 in KY lived in OK
  • Kentucky Shannon (f) - born 1852 and lived in AR
  • Kentucky Tubb (f) - born 1888 and lived in MS

1910 U. S. Census

  • Kentucky Childers (m) - born 1900 and lived in OK [noted as mulatto and/or Native American]
  • Kentucky Gambrell (f) - born 1892 and lived in SC
  • Kentucky Humphrey (f) - born 1894 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky Malony (f) - born 1889 and lived in AR
  • Kentucky White (f) - born 1886 and lived in MS

1918 World War I Draft Registration

  • Kentucky Childers (m) - born August 4, 1900 - KS
  • Kentucky Lewis (m) - born March 20, 1872 - TN

1920 U. S. Census

  • Kentucky Brazeale (f) - born 1890 and lived in SC
  • Kentucky Childers (m) - born 1900 in OK lived in KS
  • Kentucky Jenkins (f) - born 1868 and lived in TX
  • Kentucky Price (f) - born 1856 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky Shannon (f) - born 1855 and lived in AR
  • Kentucky Woods (f) - born 1917 and lived in MS

1925 Kansas Census

  • Kentucky Childers (m) - born 1900 in OK and lived in KS

1930 U. S. Census

  • Kentucky Davis (f) - born 1885 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky U. Davis (m) - born 1929 and lived in AL
  • Kentucky Evens (m) - born 1907 and lived in TX
  • Kentucky Jackson (f) - born 1894 in MS lived in IL
  • Kentucky Y. Lewis (m) - born 1872 and lived in TN
  • Kentucky Petty (f) - born 1912 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky Shannon (f) - born 1853 in KY lived in AR
  • Kentucky Smith (f) - born 1909 in KY lived in NY
  • Kentucky Weathersby (f) -born 1857 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky Williams (f) - born 1906 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky Woods (f) - born 1917 and lived in MS

1940 U. S. Census

  • Kentucky Brazeale (f) - born 1891 and lived in SC
  • Kentucky Carter (m) - born 1928 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky Davis (f) - born 1890 and lived in MS
  • Kentucky Y. Lewis (m) - born 1872 and lived in TN
  • Kentucky Thomas (f) - born 1907 and lived in TN
  • Kentucky Weathersby (f) - born 1856 and lived in MS

Texas Death Certificate

  • Kentucky W. Shannon - died March 27, 1935

North Carolina Birth Index

  • Kentucky Illinois Fulton - born November 30, 1932

* Sherman J. Ferguson (1908-1975), AKA Kentucky Ferguson [BoxRec], welterweight boxer from Lewiston, Maine.  Fought from the early 1920s to the early 1940s. W 10 (10 KO); Lost 13 (12 KO); Draw 1

Subject

Coverage

References

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Complete book of baby names: the most names, most lists, most help to find the best name
NKAA Source: The Best baby names treasury: your ultimate naming resource

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“First Name "Kentucky",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed December 12, 2018, http://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/3044.

Last modified: 2017-09-07 21:46:29