Distribution of families pre-1855

Geographic distribution of major family lines in NE Scotland before 1855

Summary: Data on births (baptisms) of 577 Lobban children were extracted from the index to the Sydney Lobban Collection of family trees, which allowed analysis of the family branches present in each parish during the roughly 150-year period up to 1855 with particular reference to the known genetic branches within JFS0275.  [Blue:] The Moray Lobbans (FT75068) was based in  Morayshire but was also found in several parishes eastwards. [Red:] The  Rothiemay Area Lobbans (BY227100) were most numerous in Rothiemay and Cullen, but also were the dominant branch in several other Banffshire parishes: Rathven, Deskford, Fordyce, Keith, Botriphnie, and Forglen. [Yellow:] Marnoch Lobbans: A branch in the Rothiemay-Rathven tree starting from John 1710 (m. Anne Milne), which has not yet been connected with DNA, was predominant in Marnoch, Boyndie, Ordiquill and Inverkeithny, and also occurred in Rothiemay  Huntly and Forgue. [Green:] The Tom of Glass tree was predominant only in Glass, but also occurred in several of the surrounding parishes. [Purple:]  Turriff baptisms were almost all in the Turriff family tree, a small group from whom one large family emigrated to Michigan. Substantial differences in the period after 1855 were seen in the analysis but are not shown on the map. Details below.

Distribution map of main NE Scotland Lobban family branches. Base map from ANESFHS. Data overlay by C.S. Lobban. The numbers are percentages and totals of Lobban births (baptisms) in the parish from parish records, i.e., through 1854. Click to enlarge.


My first map of the area (reproduced below) depicted the numbers of births (baptisms) plus marriages (Lobban grooms) in each parish, from Stephanie Logan’s list of records extracted from the Old Parish Registers. This showed N.E. Scotland Lobbans as most prolific in Rothiemay and Cullen and extending across parts of three counties, from Knockando paraish in the west to Turriff in the east and as far south as Cabrach and Insch. Now, with Sydney Lobban’s collection of trees, where he took the took the parish records and worked out the family trees, and with some structure  becoming visible in the DNA results, we can  revisit the data to explore the distribution of the main family branches. The DNA analysis to date support the hypothesis that the NE Scotland Lobbans are connected in a single Y-DNA haplogroup, designated JFS0275, with a single founder, possibly a Flemish settler, and four main lines. These lines do not connect all the known main branches seen in family trees, so some could yet prove to be outside JFS0275, and there are of course many small branches, some only a single pair of parents and their children.

The analysis conducted here, while having the DNA overlay, is based on paper records, and indicates where the main branches were during the period of parish records, starting at various times during the 1700s, or even the 1600s, and ending when Civil Registration began, 1 Jan. 1855. Given that the earliest known common ancestor from DNA results is thought to have been born around 1450, the new map cannot be taken to give any indication of where the groups started, but may perhaps be useful in understanding where the main branches settled and proliferated.

The analysis

I filtered the index of Lobbans/Lobans in Syd’s Collection of Trees for each parish, and then inspected the results to weed out people not born in the parish and a few duplicates within and between trees. Next I highlighted the people born from 1 Jan 1855 on, but retained them in the spreadsheet. My worksheet can be downloaded here. It was then necessary to inspect each individual in the Rothiemay-Rathven tree to determine whether the earliest known ancestor was Andrew Loban (1590) or John Loban (1710). We have no DNA sample from the latter tree and cannot comment on whether this branch is within the Rothiemay Area Lobbans haplogroup (BY227100) or even within JFS0275.  I have described the branch starting from John 1710 as the Marnoch Lobbans.

I calculated the percentages of the Lobbans in the parish belonging to each major group, and colored the ANESFHS base map used in the earlier analysis to show the majority and minority trees. The color of the parish indicates the predominant branch; in Huntly and Forgue, where the predominant group was <50%, I made the color paler. In parishes with very few records I did not color the parish. For Insch, the records noted in Stephanie’s list, and so marked on the first map, are a fragment that is not included in Syd’s trees (see spreadsheet).

As noted elsewhere in this website, the parish names and boundaries used here are those referenced in official database at Scotland’sPeople. Parish and county boundaries changed over the period under study and have continued to do so. For example in 1782, Dundurcas Parish was “suppressed” — split between Rothes and Boharm.

Another example is Cullen, which was both a royal burgh and a parish, and the New Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. 13, p. 313 (1845) notes that, “The ecclesiastical parish consists of two parts, viz. Cullen proper, or Cullen quoad civilia, and a portion of the neighbouring parish of Rathven, annexed to it quoad sacra.”  GENUKI explains, “…for some reason, when it became clear that the inhabitants of the eastern part of Rathven parish were too far from their kirk, a [solution other than an ‘chapel of ease’] was adopted: this eastern part became officially attached to Cullen parish (while remaining, for civil purposes, part of Rathven)….In consequence, there are implications for the OPRs (parish registers of baptims and marriage)…. [Specifically:] The earliest surviving OPRs for Rathven parish are dated 1710. However, the records for Cullen survive as far back as 1642 (for marriages) and 1668 (for baptisms). As early as 1689, the Register of Baptisms for Cullen includes persons resident in various of the places listed above in the ‘annexed part.’ Before that date, places of residence do not appear to have been recorded.”  If you are not confused yet, go to the GENUKI page and read on! 

Bottom line: accept the data as indicating broad patterns and don’t put too much stock in the exact numbers!

Notes on the families

The Moray Lobbans: Syd Lobban’s Own Family tree has its origins, he believes, in the Speymouth area, with Urquhart parish on the west bank and Bellie on the east. Earliest ancestor with known birthplace is James Loban, born about 1685 in Urquhart, who married Margaret Man. There was both shipbuilding and trade with Europe from Speymouth, and it was therefore a place with more opportunities for merchants than most of the inland parishes. The tree was the only one found in the Moray parishes, except for one birth in the John1710 tree in 1813. In the period under consideration there were also family units in Botriphnie, Keith, Huntly and Forgue, plus two children born in each of New Spynie and Elgin. After 1855, the family also became more numerous in Deskford and appeared in Boyndie (1886), Turriff (1888) and Insch (1880), among others. This family tree has recently been linked to a Logan line (DNA update forthcoming) and the subgroup designated FT75068.

The Rothiemay Area Lobbans (haplogroup FT14993), as discussed on other pages, has been shown on basis of DNA evidence and paper records to include four of Syd’s trees, i.e., William & Bathia, Knabbygates, Drumblade & Loanend Kinnoir, and one of two trees in the Rothiemay-Rathven file. Altogether 292 births (51% of total) were in this group.  Rothiemay was the most prolific parish of Lobbans in this period, and this analysis shows that the second most prolific parish Cullen was also part of that branch. In addition, this branch was predominant in Rathven, Deskford, Fordyce, Keith, Botriphnie and Forglen, and accounted for nearly half of the births in Huntley and Forgue. However, after the great boom in the early 1700s (30 years of it hidden by missing records), the Lobbans in Rothiemay quickly dispersed and there were very few after 1800.

The tree starting from John 1710 in the Rothiemay-Rathven tree, described as the Marnoch Lobbans,  is ancestral to the Rothiemay Area Lobbans. Interestingly, during parish record days they tended to predominate where the Rothiemay Area Lobbans were absent, although they were both in Rothiemay and Huntly. This group occupied a chain of parishes from Boyndie to Inverkeithny, most numerous in Marnoch, and also pop up as the majority of births in Bellie (but there were only 4 total).

The Lobbans of Glass seem to be another ancient line within the NE Scotland Lobbans haplogroup; that is to say, we do not yet see any connection more recently that the 1450 ancestor to the other known genetic groups. However, the earliest generations in the “Tom of Glass” tree were not born in Glass; the tree is named for Thomas 1779 (m. Mary Minty,  emigrated to the USA), whose father was born in Mortlach. There are poll records of people living in Glass in 1696, but these are isolated names. This family tree was predominant only in Glass, but was found in several neighboring parishes during the parish records period and still further afield after 1855.

The Turriff Lobbans is a small family tree but of interest in that it was essentially the only Lobban family in that parish and was found nowhere else. The earliest ancestor with a known birthplace is William 1778. His son Alexander 1784 m. Elizabeth Paterson took his large family to Michigan, USA in 1835 (see Diaspora notes). The genetic connection of this family is unknown.

Of course, one branch of JFS0275 is not shown here, and that is  the Labans of Holland, BY173284. The birthplace of their founder William Loban (1595) is unknown, and he left in 1620,  but we can assume he had brothers and uncles, whose descendants would have been in Scotland during parish record days, among the unconnected trees and fragments.

As shown in the Catalogue of Syd’s 26 trees, there are many small, unconnected branches, and a few fragments. In addition there are more fragments and individuals not in the trees (as with any family study). Most of them do not seem to have descendants down to the present day, so we cannot expect to find out how they connect.  Among the small branches that turned up in the present analysis are “Alex & Ann Bannochie” in Mortlach, “Katie (Marnoch)” in Marnoch and Rothiemay, “Alex & Ann Rothiemay” in Rothiemay, “Jas (Ann Cameron) Boharm” in Boharm and Grange, and “John (M Downie) Cullen” in Cullen. See the spreadsheet for details.

For some emigrants the Scottish ancestors are unknown. One such is “John of Virginia,” starting with John Lobban apparently born 7 Jun 1734 in Longside Parish, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire but with no known baptism record, hence no known parents. However, we have shown with Y700 DNA that the Virginia Lobbans are related to the Urquhart branch of the Moray Lobbans.  As with the Dutch line, these people undoubtedly had brothers/uncles with descendants, who may be among the disconnected pieces of the overall family tree, or simply absent from the records. Other example are the Mirimichi Lobbans. The map strongly suggests that Thomas Loban, one of the founders, who was born in Dundurcas parish, must have been of the Moray Lobbans. There was a Loban family there about the right time, and we are re-examining records to see if we can propose a plausible specific link, as there appears to be no living male line. The other branch, from Edward Lobban, does have a living male line.

If someone wishes to explore the details of families in census years (1841–1911), there are two approaches. One is to start with Syd’s spreadsheets of all the census data; of these the 1881 was completed and is posted here as an html embedded table, the rest are in a single spreadsheet, a work in progress made for his own use, but shared here. The other, I think easier way is to use the notes in the family trees posted on the MyHeritage site, because Syd transcribed the census data into each of the Lobban males’ records.


Page created by Christopher S. Lobban, posted  18 Aug. 2019, last revised 24 Mar. 2020