A Loban to Logan story

A Logan family in South Africa

by Anthony Wilcocks

The names and other information were taken from the Old Parish Records in Scotland. The original spelling of names as recorded on the OPRs has been retained.

Baptism record of twins Alexander and John Loban, 1754

The twins John LOBAN and Alexander LOBAN were born in 1754 at Kilcoy on the Black Isle, Ross and Cromarty, and the names of their parents were given as John LOBAN and More GLASS. Just south of Kilcoy was a settlement named Allt-an-Digeadair where their descendants lived and worked. The local parish is named Killearnan though there is no village by that name.

John LOBAN married Katherine Fraser. The spelling of the surname of their children revealed the gradual change to the use of LOGAN. Their children in order of birth were: John LOBAN, Janet LOBAN, William LOGAN, James LOBAN, Mary LOGAN, Katherine LOBAN and Alexander LOBAN. There are two boys whose descendants have been established:  William (b. 1781), whose descendants were called Logan, and James (1784–1841, m. Catherine McKenszie), whose descendants retained the spelling Loban.

In some references William was named LOBAN, but gradually and finally he kept the LOGAN spelling. William married Isobel MacGregor, whose father is also recorded as John Moir. They had 8 children and the boys were named Alexander, a second Alexander, John, William and Duncan. With the collapse of the weaving industry John and William moved to Fochabers in Morayshire. Fochabers lies within the parish of Bellie where all these Logans were baptized.

Top of the tree showing the change from Loban to Logan. From Anthony Wilcocks’ tree. (Click image to enlarge.)

In one record John’s surname is given as LOBBAN. His only male descendent was stillborn. Only Ann of the 4 daughters married and so this Logan line came to an end. John lived and worked in Elgin.

William married Euphemia Campbell. The two eldest boys were John and Alexander and they emigrated to South Africa. The sister that followed remained in Scotland with her mother who remarried after William died at the age of 41. The last daughter and son died young. This lineage also came to an end in Scotland, but continued in South Africa.

In South Africa John and Alexander travelled across the country wherever work was available in the Cape Colony and in the two republics: Orange Free State and Transvaal. Alexander had one son who died young, and a number of daughters. John had one daughter and six sons. Alexander and John died before the Boer War started.

Loyalties are hard to forecast. With the outbreak of the Anglo Boer War, Alexander’s eldest daughter Euphemia married a man of English descent and he fought on the side of the Boers. He was captured by the British in Natal. The middle daughter named Fanny supported the British as a military nurse. On John’s side of the family Joseph and Alexander remained neutral, John and Norman fought for the Boers, while Colin later broke his oath of neutrality and was captured by the British. William joined the British Army and became a captain. Norman also ended up in a concentration camp. John fought on his own as a sniper with his black gun carrier to the end of the War. One can imagine the scene when their mother had them all for tea after the War.

The Logans have always been on the move. Currently one is sitting in Australia though he does not have sons, two Logan ladies are sitting in Atlanta in the USA with their South African husbands and another is based in Annapolis.

One puzzle remains. Joseph Logan the eldest son of John and Anne Nixon was born before John arrived in South Africa and the identity of his father has remained a mystery. A DNA analysis would have been useful.

The move to Fochabers by William raises a fascinating possibility. Did he go there because there was work available in Morayshire or did he return to what may have been his ancestral cradle?


Webmaster’s Note: Descendants of James are in the R and Crom Duthil Lobans tree in Syd Lobban’s Collection. The last known male descendent died  after 1901.


Page by Anthony Wilcocks, posted 2 Nov. 2018, updated by C.S. Lobban 15 Jan 2021.