About the Project

The Lobban One-Name Study as registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies in 2018, is a continuation by myself (Christopher Simon Lobban) of studies conducted in the 1980s by my late uncle Alan (Lobban) Rudge (ms A History of Lobban full-text pdf, now smaller file and searchable), and is being developed in collaboration with  Sydney Lobban, who accumulated  26 descendants trees of Scottish Lobban or Loban families, now all uploaded to MyHeritage.com with a catalog and indexes in this web site;  Gordon Lobban, who contributed several data sets; Stephanie Logan Falls, a leader of The Logan DNA Project, whose ancestors were Lobans, and who compiled an all-Scotland list of Lobban/Loban baptisms and marriages from microfilm copies of parish records; John Sloan, a co-leader of the R-U198 DNA project, who is instrumental in analyzing the Y-DNA samples from the family; and the late Malcolm Lobban, whose book The Scottish Surname Lobban (2008) (full text pdf) is available on this site. See article in Aberdeen & NE Scotland Family History Society Journal.  See Contributors page.

If you want a summary of the findings please read the Executive summary on the home page.


I took as my starting point Alan Rudge’s set of hypotheses about the origin of the name in North East Scotland, i.e., that (1) The Loban/Lobban families in NE Scotland (an area occupying parts of Banffshire, Morayshire and Aberdeenshire  — see map below) are a single genetic branch, (2) unrelated to the Lobans of Inverness, but (3) derived from a man from the Continent who arrived in Scotland about 1534 and “Scottished” his name to Loban. We are accumulating Y-DNA data to test these hypotheses, working with the R1b-U198 haplogroup research experts associated with Family Tree DNA. Please check the Y-DNA menu in the navigation bar for latest updates. I  also began collecting Lobban family trees, but this was made redundant when Sydney Lobban offered his collection to the project. There is a summary of Syd’s trees and indexes to the people in them.  Using these trees and the accumulating DNA evidence, I have  developed larger trees for each genetic haplogroup, e.g., Rothiemay Area Lobbans; these are described in the Genealogies section. I have now moved into trying to trace the Logan descendants of the Black Isle Lobans. Also, based on Syd’s trees, I have completed an analysis of the diaspora, tracing families who settled in England, Holland, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa prior to 1920. A progress report, updated to Mar. 2020, is posted here and the latest DNA update here.

Click on pictures to magnify. Historical parishes of N.E. Scotland, from Aberdeen & N.E. Scotland Family History Society, colored to show numbers of Lobban/Loban baptisms and marriages from parish records.

The study thus includes the NE Scotland and Inverness Lobbans/Lobans from their origin(s)/earliest records along with families within the tree with variant name spellings and other father lines through adoption, etc.

Variant names

The registered variant names are Loban, Laban, Lobbin and Logan. We know that the spellings of Loban and Lobban were used indiscriminately in the 17th and 18th Centuries and there were some other similar spellings before that. We know that the Dutch Laban line originated from a Loban in the 1620’s. We also know of several Loban family names that were changed to Logan; indeed it seems that most branches of the Highland Lobans became Logan. From a phylogenetic perspective, any Logan descended from a Loban is part of the same haplogroup, and I therefore include this subgroup of Logans in this project. Stephanie Falls is co-leader of a DNA Logan study group associated with Family Tree DNA, and they also maintain a Pre1800Logans Groups.io page. People interested in Logan should seek information there, and if you subscribe to the Limb 7 subgroup you can get notices of news and significant additions to this Lobban/Loban website.  The Logan descendants of Highland Lobans are in Limb 3.

The name Loban also occurs in other parts of the world, especially Belarus and neighboring areas, apparently unconnected to the Scottish name; this could be tested as a hypothesis now that we have markers for the two Scottish groups. Another name that seems to be unrelated rather than a variant spelling is Lobben or Løbben from Norway with a diaspora in US, Canada and Australia.

Name origins

19th C. histories suggest that the name Loban arose in the Inverness area in the 14th C., near Drumderfit, and that these Lobans populated the Black Isle area of Ross-shire and neighboring Inverness-shire (see Origin and history page). These are the people I now call the Highland Lobans/Logans.  As noted above, we have tested the hypothesis that the Lowland Lobans in Banffshire and neighboring counties are all derived from a 15th~16th C. progenitor who picked up the Scots name.  It is already clear that this group, which we now (May 2019) think has Flemish roots, is genetically unrelated to the Highland Lobans. We cannot say whether the name Loban was copied from the Highland branch or, more likely, that it has some other origin, plausibly even derived from the city of Louvain / Leuven in Flanders.

It is unlikely, given the evidence to date (Oct 2022) that the name has more than these two genetic origins in Scotland.


Several factors caused large numbers of Scots to migrate, first toward other, especially urban areas in Scotland and later to England and overseas. These factors include the successions of poor harvests during the depths of the “Little Ice Age,” ca. 1675–1715, when landlords often had to waive some or all of the rents due from the people (see our Little Ice Age page  and a more technical external reference); Lowland Clearances of the late 1700s; and the mechanization of agriculture and weaving in the 1800s.  And, as Malcolm Lobban notes in his book (p. 21), in feudal times when the common people were considered part of a landowner’s property, if a feudal superior obtained a grant of new lands, it would have been in his interest to transplant several of his own trusted vassals in key positions among the indigenous “nayffs” (natives) on the new property to make his presence felt.  Having mapped it out, I hope eventually to understand the Lobban diaspora against this historical background.


There have been several major changes in political boundaries that complicate stating the geographic extent of a group of families. In this web site, I use the old Church of Scotland parish names and the “traditional”  shire boundaries as set in 1891, as this is how records are presented in the official archive at Scotland’sPeople.

The parishes were described in detail in the [Old] Statistical Account of Scotland,  (1797) and the New Statistical Account (1845), full texts online. There is a map of the Kirk of Scotland Parishes in Banffshire on the GENUKI site.


Webmaster with two Lobban memorials, Rothiemay. A detail of the one on my right is shown in the web site banner. The full text of it reads “1875. Sacred to the memory of Alexander Lobban farmer Knabbygates, Rothiemay, d. 13 Dec. 1872 aged 63, his son John d. 11 Dec. 1873 aged 21. His wife Jessie Wilson d. 27 May 1877 aged 54. Their son William farmer Knabbygates d. 8 Oct. 1884 aged 38”
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Page by Chris Lobban, first published 29 July 2018, last edited 17 Oct. 2022.