Jamaican Lobbans

A large number of Lobbans are found in Jamaica, but these seem to be descendants of slaves of several Lobbans, said to have been brothers, who held plantations in different parts of the island during the early 1800s. Many of these slaves may simply have taken (or been given) the name of the master, but there may also be genetic links.

For example, George Lobban (abt. 1805–1883) was a slave owned by John Grant Sutherland on Buckfield plantation, St. Thomas in the Vale, which had been previously owned by Joseph Lobban (d. by 1815). Sutherland’s partner was Joseph’s daughter, Agnes. Sutherland was Tenant in Possession of Buckfield in 1817, and there are also many slaves named Sutherland in the list he submitted that year.  In 1832 the estate was in possession of William Lobban.  Other Lobban men are mentioned in the Legacies of British Slave Ownership database: John, James and George.

Transcription of first page (of 3) of a list of slaves in the possession of John Grant Sutherland, Jamaica, 1817, suggesting that many last names were given by the present owner, or previous owner, Joseph Lobban.

In Syd Lobban’s Marnoch Lobbans branch there is a Joseph Lobban, b. 11 Nov. 1767, at Mayen, Rothiemay, d. 24 Jun 1820 in St. Thomas in the Vale, Jamaica. Despite the apparent discrepancy in the death year from the statement in the Legacies of British Slave-ownership, this would appear to be the same person. No wife or children shown in the tree, but he had a brother William, death unknown. His brother Alexander had sons William, John, James and George, but there is no indication that they ever went to Jamaica–all died in Scotland.  Thus, if there were brothers they could be either Joseph and William, or Joseph’s four nephews.  Given that Buckfield was in the possession of Joseph’s son-in-law, and then another Lobban, it is likely that William Lobban was related, but there is no such logic for John, James and George, and these are common Lobban Christian names. Given that William was in possession of Buckfield in 1832,  it is more likely that he was the nephew rather than the brother, but there is nothing known of the brother William except his date of birth.

Slavery in the British Caribbean islands ended in 1834. On 23 Nov. 1835 William Lobban was awarded £329  19s  1d for 18 enslaved (source), his share of the huge payout by the British Treasury after abolition to compensate owners for the loss of slaves. This amount in current money would be worth about £273,000 (source).

Portion of Syd Lobban’s Rothiemay-Rathven tree, showing Joseph Lobban and his relations. Click to enlarge.


Jamaican Lobbans have migrated to the US and the UK in recent decades. As of the 1940 Census there was only one Jamaican Lobban family in the US. Allan Herbert Lobban (1897–1984) and wife, Cora were living in New York City, but born in Jamaica. (In the 1940 Census race was listed but date of arrival was not.) Their naturalization application shows that they arrived in 1923, were naturalized in 1929, and had a son Rudolph born in New York.


If you are a Jamaican Lobban and wish to find out cheaply if you are genetically connected to the Scottish Lobbans,  you can order a JSF0277 test from YSEQ (Germany) for about $US18. Negative = not related; positive = maybe, contact me.


Page by Christopher S Lobban, created 24 Nov. 2018, updated 3 May 2019.