Black Family History
Black Name Meaning
English and Scottish: chiefly from Middle English blak(e) ‘black’ (Old English blæc blaca) a nickname given from the earliest times to a swarthy or dark-haired man. However Middle English blac also meant ‘pale wan’ a reflex of Old English blāc ‘pale white’ with a shortened vowel. Compare Blatch and Blick . With rare exceptions it is impossible to disambiguate these antithetical senses in Middle English surnames. The same difficulty arises with Blake and Block . Scottish: in Gaelic-speaking areas this name was adopted as a translation of the epithet dubh ‘dark black-(haired)’ or of various other names based on Gaelic dubh ‘black’ see Duff . Americanized form (translation into English) of various European surnames directly or indirectly derived from the adjective meaning ‘black dark’ for example German and Jewish Schwarz and Slavic surnames beginning with Čern- Chern- (see Chern and Cherne ) Chorn- Crn- or Czern-. Swedish: nickname from black ‘pale’. Americanized form of Danish Blak: nickname from blak ‘pale’. Native American: translation into English and shortening of a personal name composed of a word meaning ‘black’ such as Lakota Sioux Četaŋ Sapa ‘Black Hawk’ (see Blackhawk ).
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press