Colbert soundex, origin and popularity

The soundex code for the Colbert name is C416. The Colbert name  originates in England, Scotland, or France.

Soundex Code


The Soundex system groups spellling variations of similar sounding surnames together, and was used as a method of indexing names in the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 US Census. Soundex groupings can be helpful to genealogists by identifying spelling variations they may find for a given surname between different families or at different times in history.

The Colbert name ranks 1,544 in popularity in the United States.

Colbert coat of armsColbert is a moderately common surname in the United States. When the United States Census was taken in 2000, there were about 21,306 individuals with the last name “Colbert,” ranking it number 1,544 for all surnames. Historically, the name has been most prevalent in the Southwest. However, it is especially popular in the District of Columbia, Oklahoma Chickasaw genealogy, and Georgia. Colbert is least common in the western states.

World wide, there are approximately 33,473 Colbert surnames, making it the 15,704th most common surname in the world.

Colbert Ethnic Distribution

As reported by the US Census Bureau in 2000, the Colbert surname represented themselves as Caucasian:48.09%, African-American: 45.66%, Hispanic: 1.69%, Asian: 0.31%, Native American: 1.82%, and Mixed Race: 2.42%.

Origin and Meaning of the Colbert surname

The Colbert name originated in England, sometimes Scotland and in post medieval times, France. The Colbert relatives in our family tree on this website originally came to America from France in the very early 1600s. While Colbert is the most common spelling in our family tree, we do have some ancestors who spelled it Calbert or Cuthbert.

The name Colbert derives from the Old English pre 7th century personal name Coel-beort translating as “cool-bright”.

Early Colbert Immigrants

Between 1840 to 1920, 224 Colbert families immigrated from Ireland, 32 from Great Britan, 29 from England, 2 from Luxembourg, 4 from Germany, and 3 from France.

Early Colbert immigrants settled first in Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia and Mississippi and later many migrated to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, and Alabama.

Early examples of the Colbert surname

It is first recorded as Colbert in the famous Domesday Book of England in 1086, and in the counties of Devonshire, Cheshire, and Lincolnshire.

The surname is early 13th Century (see below), and spellings of the surname include Colbert, Colebert, Coleberte, Colberd, Coleburt, Colburt, and in Scotland Colbert, Culbard, Colbaird, and Colbard.

Early examples from surving church records include the christenings of Thomas Colbert, on October 23rd 1616 at St. Dunstan’s in the East, Stepney, and Elizabeth Coleberte on June 25th 1620 also at St. Dunstan’s.

Jean Baptiste Colbert (1619 – 1683) was a French statesman whose family originated from Scotland. He was the chief minister to King Louis XIV, and was responsible for reforming the French navy and merchant fleet, as well as building roads and canals.

John Colbert is recorded in 1205, in the Pipe Rolls of Devonshire, during the reign of King John, known as “Lackland”, 1216 – 1272.

Land records show Christopher Calvert arrived in Accomack County, VA in the summer of 1636 from Northamptonshire, England.

Famous people with the Colbert surname

Claudette Colbert (1903–1996) – Film and theatre actress.

Stephen Colbert (1964-) – Comedian and talk show host.

James Logan Colbert (c. 1722-January 7, 1784) – Also recorded in some records as James Logan Calbert or James Culbert. Possibly a Scotsman trader (some sources say he was born in the Carolinas, probably South Carolina) who  settled in Chickasaw country and lived there for the next 40 years, where he married three high-ranking Chickasaw women. He is the father of George, Levi, and at least 10 other children. Four of his sons became chiefs of the tribe. Because of the status of their mothers, for nearly a century, the Colbert-Chickasaw sons and their descendants provided critical leadership during the tribe’s greatest challenges.

Levi Colbert (1759–1834), also known as Itawamba in Chickasaw – A leader and mixed blood chief of the Chickasaw in the American Southeast. Colbert was also called Itte-wamba Mingo, meaning “bench chief.”  He and his brother, George Colbert, were prominent interpreters and negotiators with President Andrew Jackson’s appointed negotiators related to the Chickasaw Indian Removal. Colbert County, Alabama was named after him and his brother George.

George Colbert (c. 1764–1839),  also known as Tootemastubbe  – A mixed blood Native American leader of the Chickasaw people in the early 19th century. He commanded 350 Chickasaw auxiliary troops, whom he had recruited, as a militia captain under Andrew Jackson during the Creek War of 1813-1814. Later he joined the US Army under Jackson for the remainder of the War of 1812. At the time of the Indian Removal, when he had succeeded his late brother Levi Colbert as chief, he was a planter who owned significant land and more than 150 slaves in Mississippi, and a ferry in northwestern Alabama. There is an interesting folktale that says he may have acquired his wealth in part through acts of piracy with a former member of Black Beard’s pirate band, robbing riverboats traveling the Mississippi River  of their slaves.

Bynum Colbert (?) – A former slave of the Colbert family who became a Choctaw Freedman when the slaves were freed. He was a young boy at the beginning of the Civil War and died sometime after 1920. In 1863, he enlisted in the 2nd Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment and was transferred to Little Rock, Arkansas. The Regiment was later given a new designation as the 54th United States Colored Troops Regiment (U.S.C.T.). These all colored troups are known in Western Lore as the Buffalo Soldiers. He received a commission as a deputy U.S. marshal from the Fort Smith federal court on June 10, 1889 and on June 1, 1893, making him one of the first, if not the first black man to hold this position. Another black marshall wasn’t appointed until 1926.

Family Crest / Coat of Arms

A coat of arms granted to Count de Colbert of France, in 1723, has the blazon of a gold shield charged with a black snake, in pale.

Popular Given Names

The ten most popular first names historically given to babies with a last name of Colbert in order are James, John, William, Mary, Robert, Charles, George, Thomas, Willie, and Joseph.

Colbert Military Records

Four hundred and ten Colbert individuals served in the US Civil War, 236 on the Confederate side and 174 on the Union side. Two were in the American Revolutionary War.

? Colbert men and women enlisted in World War II.

There were 3 Colbert casualties of the Korean War. 4 Colbert soldiers died in the Vietnam War, ? in the Gulf War, ? in the US War on Terror, and ? were Peacetime Military Casualties. One went to the US Military Academy.

Colbert surnames on this website.


Other websites researching the Colbert surname: