Frequency and Distribution

Name frequency

Click images to enlarge.

Historical occurrences of the name

There are scattered mentions of Loban in early records (see Malcolm Lobban’s book for a thorough account), and plenty of Church of Scotland baptism and marriage records, most concentrated in and around the old parish of Rothiemay, as well as some Catholic Church records, both in the ScotlandsPeople official database.  Note, however, this comment from The New Statistical Account of Scotland, Vol. XIII (1842), concerning Rathven parochial records:

“Registration of marriages began at Whitsunday 1716, and that of baptisms in the same year.   Great regularity has been observed in both from the above date till 1746; but, from this time till 1791, and even down to the present day, many Episcopalians and Roman Catholics do not register their children.  No registration of  deaths has ever been kept in the parish.”

In addition, the electronic records appear to be even less complete. For example, for Huntly (St. Margaret’s Parish) Alan Rudge (book, pp. 65-66) lists  baptisms of four children during 1754 to 1761 to Lewis Loban and Helen Grant in Huntly, and Lewis’ death by apoplexy in 1769, but of these events only the death is in Scotland’sPeople. We have no further records of this family.
We now have several indexes of Lobbans; see the Data submenu at the top of the page.

Distribution of the name

The name is still found in Scotland and England. Descendants of emigrants from NE Scotland are found overseas in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and several parts of the United States.  See below re Jamaica.

Maps at publicprofiler and britishsurnames show that in 1881 Lobbans and Lobans in the UK were found almost exclusively in NE Scotland (map below), but are presently widely dispersed in the UK. The 1881 Census records (see Data) show 325 Lobban + 14 Loban in Scotland; 9 Lobban + 17 Loban in England.

Composite map of Scotland and England (historical counties), with statistics from 1881 Census. Statistics from britishsurnames, with corrections, base maps by JackintheBox and Dr. Greg, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unporte, final image by C. Lobban, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike.

Although some websites marketing coats of arms declaim the Lobban name as being from Devon, England, and even that “the surname is still largely restricted to County Devon,” the 1911 England Census and 1939 England Register show few Lobbans even living in Devon — and several of those born in Scotland!  Similarly, there were no Devon Lobbans in the 1881 Censuses, shown above. These claims seem to be based on spurious name variants. I show the correct coat-of-arms here. A somewhat misleading page on the Web about the Loban family distribution, however, is at Forebears. Their written information is fine, quoting Black and other sources, and clearly stating Loban as a Moray surname, but their map includes everyone with a name spelled Loban, and the highest number and density is in Belarus and neighboring area.  I have assumed that the Baltic Loban name is an independent surname.  Forebears’ map for Lobban is clearer, as apparently that combination of letters is not used much elsewhere. There they say they don’t know the origin of the name.  But kudos to them for noting the Logan DNA Project on both pages!

As of the beginning of the 20th C., records showed the following interesting pattern of Lobban vs Loban:

    • Scotland (1901 Census): 445 name Lobban, 16 name Loban (see Data tab)
    • England (1911 Census): 97 Lobban, 13  Loban; (1939 Register): 110 Lobban, 8 Loban (see Data tab)
    • Canada (1911 Census): 55 Lobban, 45  Loban
    • Canada (1921 Census): 129 Lobban, 32 Loban
      (note: Canadian census-takers seem to have been careless about Lobban vs Loban and these records need checking; it is also possible that some of the Lobans are Russian)
    • U.S.A. (1910 Census): Online search returned 142 Lobban (no Loban), but some wild name transcriptions (even when set to “exact”) that would only be resolved with some family tree data to cross-check. There were descendants of NE Scotland families e.g., of Alexander Lobban (1784–1868) and Elizabeth Paterson (1786–1844) in Genesee County, MI (evident in 1910 Census); Alexander Lobban (1777-1872) and Margaret McAdam (1780-1846) who moved to McHenry County, Illinois. We also know that after Robert W. Lobban (1866–1946) went to New York in 1893, his son’s name got changed to Lobbin.
    • Australia (Electoral Rolls 1903-1915): about 65 Lobban (hard to resolve all duplicates), 4 Loban

As noted under name variants, we know that the Laban family in the Netherlands descended from William Loban. A few of these descendants, including Jan Laban (1835–1921) m. Francijna van Ijsseldijk (1832–1899), emigrated to the US (Jan and Francijna in 1880). (However, Laban seems to be a name with multiple origins, the rest unrelated to the Scottish Lobban/Loban families.) We also now think that most if not all of the descendants of Highland Lobans go by Logan.

Jamaican Lobbans

See new separate page



Page by Chris S. Lobban, posted 12 July 2018, updated 25 Jan. 2022.