In the first two years since the website’s inception, the Lobban One-Name Study reached a level where the origin, deep tree, branch structure, and diaspora of the Lowland Lobbans are known, at least in broad outline, and new discoveries are coming in slowly. Meanwhile we entered a third phase in which the goal is to repeat the process with the Highland Lobans/Logans (click here for updated info). The monthly news was replaced with this executive summary; the old news, now called the project timeline is here. What follows is a quick guide to website summaries and resources. Main links are provided in the text below; there are navigation menus across the top of each page, and a site map near the bottom of this page.
Click images to enlarge.
This collaborative project has the goals of tracing the origins and diaspora of the Scottish family name Lobban/Loban. We have collected and analyzed spreadsheets of data from old parish records and censuses and a set of family trees based on those data, and we have obtained Y-DNA samples from 16 individuals, 15 of those analyzed at the Y-700 level. The first phase of the Y-DNA project served as a “proof of concept” that we could use “Big Y” DNA data to find connections between the branches that do not quite connect in the paper records. Phase 2 involved connecting a number of other groups to the deep tree. Ongoing work is focused on repeating phase 1 with the Highland Loban/Logans who are not related. The Drumderfit Line is already analyzed here. We already have enough genetic information about this group to start looking for evidence to test the hypothesis of a link between them and the MacLennans. Details. In Aug. 2021, I gave an online seminar to the Clan Logan Society International about the project, and the recording can be viewed at https://clanlogansociety.org/our-valour-the-blog/delineating-the-logan-lobban-families-the-video. In October 2021 Y-700 showed that a Holmes in Limb 7, earliest known ancestor a Holmes, is within JFS0275 but outside the Lowland Lobban’s haplogroup, which FTDNA has changed to JFS0277, as shown in the revised deep tree below. This pushes the origin of JFS0275 back before the origin of surnames, but this Holmes (and two other known families) has the Lobban STR motif, which is therefore also traced back before surnames. NEW (April 2023): Time Line of JFS0275 from FTDNA (2023) with annotations. Details on the revision on the Status Report page. Complete tree (both branches) here (pdf).
We have been lucky in this family study in that the Lobban name is uncommon and uniquely traced to a single geographic area and a single genetic haplogroup, so that we have been able to start with the Scottish records and work forwards, including the diaspora, rather than starting with immigrant populations and getting brick-walled at the original settlers. We are also lucky to have found a genetic motif that allows us to explore a few generations before the advent of surnames.
There were two families originally going by the name Loban. One originated in or around Drumderfit, in the Black Isle area of Ross-shire, as told in legends; genetically they have Celtic Y-DNA. Their name gradually changed to Logan, but this is seen in the records only a few times, and seems to have been well underway before the extant records. It is not clear yet whether there are any living descendants still spelling the name Loban (or modified to Lobban).
The other family originated in Moray possibly from a Flemish immigrant, as they have Germanic Y-DNA. When the name changed it was usually to Lobban, which seems to be a uniquely Scottish name. There is no genetic connection between these two groups, which I distinguish as the Highland Lobans/Logans and Lowland Lobans/Lobbans, respectively. We might expect that the descendants of each branch would be approximately equally numerous, but if so, many Highland branch members are hidden among the multi-origin Logans. Details.
There is also the special case of the Jamaican Lobbans, who acquired the name as a result of being slaves on plantations held by a small group of Lobbans at the beginning of the 19th Century.
Geographic distribution within Scotland
Analysis of the baptisms by parish showed that there were two centers of population, a smaller one in the Inverness/Black Isle area, corresponding to Highland Lobans, the other much larger one in Banffshire and parishes in adjacent Morayshire and Aberdeenshire, corresponding to the Lowland Loban/Lobbans. Among the latter, five family groupings were recognized (Moray Lobbans, Rothiemay Area Lobbans, Glass Area Lobbans, Marnoch Area Lobbans, and Turriff Lobbans); all but the last have been genetically connected to the deep DNA tree. This analysis of course excludes families who had emigrated.
Analysis of the database produced an estimate of 18% of the people born in Scotland emigrated; this is comparable to modern estimates by the Scottish government that about 20% of Scots live elsewhere in the UK or overseas. The primary page explores the who, when, where and why of the diaspora. There are established Lowland Lobban families in England, Australia, USA, Canada, with a related Logan line in the US and the Labans of Tholen in the Netherlands. One of the Highland Loban/Loban families emigrated to South Africa; another became a significant pioneer in Manitoba, Canada. There are pages for each of these countries and additional subpages on particular people.
In order to understand the structure of the trees, especially the large combined tree for the Rothiemay Area Lobbans, I had to find a way to run a left-to-right descendants tree, rather like a pedigree tree format, or the biological phylogenetic trees with which I work in my diatom research. The usual top-to-bottom arrangement shown in Ancestry, MyHeritage, and the computer software programs are impossible to follow because they either expand and collapse parts of the tree as you move around, or become hopelessly wide (MyHeritage’s is the worst, but we use it so you can see Syd’s notes). Thanks to my wife’s 2nd cousin, genealogist Adrian Gravelle, for finding me a program that would produce the chart I wanted. With some work across three programs, I constructed diagrams which give a visual overview of the whole group. The trees were reduced to a size where the names are not legible but could then be annotated with key branch points, extant branches, and the position of people mentioned in the various pages. Genealogical analyses are presented for each haplogroup with child pages on particular people, etc. Please use the tabs above to navigate to the page(s) of interest.
The chart below for the Glass Area Lobbans and Lobans shows the result of emigration on the distribution of this haplogroup.
There are a number of “features” pages here, including people in the Public Eye; Soldiers, including those killed in the two World Wars; Trivia — Lobban place names, etc.; and the correct coat of arms.
The core of the database is The Sydney Lobban Collection of family trees, probably the most extensive and best documented set of trees for the Lobbans of Scotland. Syd developed 26 trees over a period of 20 years by accumulating documents from Scotland’sPeople and other sources (926 census pages and 2,329 baptism, marriage or death certificates), and through interaction with correspondents. In this way the trees differ from a majority of trees on MyHeritage and similar genealogy servers, where users copy from hints provided from the database, often perpetuating and even compounding mistakes. While there are some careful genealogists building trees on the public sites, a user cannot tell who they are, and I fear that many, myself (Chris S Lobban) included, are rather more data miners than genealogists; and the further we get from our own direct ancestors the less we take time to distinguish accurate information from inaccurate. This is not to claim that Syd’s trees are without errors, because inference is often involved in connecting documents from different stages in a person’s life.
So, the value of the Sydney Lobban Collection is its solid basis of documentation and annotation, and that fact that it includes most of the Lobbans of Scotland and their descendants into the 20th Century. These trees have been uploaded to a MyHeritage site, where the extensive notes are visible, and this is a static collection, even though Syd continues to work on his private copy.
There are numerous spreadsheets of data from the parish records, censuses, etc. (see Data), and we are also lucky enough to have Malcolm Lobban’s book, A History of the Scottish Name Lobban (free pdf here), and Alan Rudge’s manuscript notes from his extensive research on the Knabbygates line and the pre-1700s records of Lobans (free pdf here).
Chart last updated 7 Nov 2021 .
If you would like to receive notifications of significant postings to this website (i.e., the news announcements above), please subscribe to the Pre1800Logans, Subgroup for DNA Limb 7.
If you would like to join the online dialog about Loban/ Lobban/ Logan ancestors before 1800s, please join the Pre1800sLogans Groups.io page. The NE Scotland Lobbans belong to Limb 7 (see first invitation) and the Highland Loban/Logans to Limb 3 of the Logan Project.
If you are working on a Lobban/Loban family tree and would like to contribute to the Genealogies section, please contact me on the form below. You have the interesting stories, all I have are the statistics! If you see a synopsis that I have done, feel free to suggest additions or corrections. We also have a page with links to other Lobban/Loban trees (under the Genealogies menu), and would be happy to include yours if you wish.
If you would like to contribute a sample of Y-DNA to this project, please contact me on the form below. The DNA must come from a male and a Lobban, Loban, or other name that has traced his ancestors back to a Lobban/Loban in Scotland. I would particularly like to hear from Logans with ancestry from Ross and Inverness shires.
If you are a Jamaican Lobban and have done genealogy on your family, or can tell me of anyone who has looked into any Jamaican Lobban branch, I would like to start expanding this portion of the One-Name Study. Pleae contact me on the form below.
If you want to read about the origin and survival of the Scots language, go to this article on Atlas Obscura.
If you want to explore the Scots language, “Wee Windaes” from the National Library of Scotland is the place to go. I recommend their “Whit is Scots?” page for a start, where they quote Robert Louis Stevenson: “Of a’ the lingo’s ever prentit, The braidest Scot’s the best inventit.” And should you wish to send an auld family member a greeting in Scots, try Whoohoo’s Scottish Translator — but like any translation app, remember: caveat emptor! (That’s Scots for caveat emptor.)
Every page in this work, whether bearing a label like this one, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Page created 23 Aug. 2018 by Christopher S. Lobban, renovated 13 Aug. 2020, last updated 10 Apr. 2023.