Recorded as Hoban, Hooban, Howbane, and Hubane, this is an Irish surname, It derives from the pre 10th century Gaelic O' hUbain. The Gaelic prefix O' indicates a grandson or male descendant of, plus in this case the personal name Ubain of uncertain origin, but is possibly an ethnic description of a Viking chief. In Gaelic "ban" means white, and the Vikings were fair skinned, whilst most of the native Irish were darker complexioned. The Norse-Vikings controlled much of Ireland from the 8th to the 11th centuries, as they did for much of England, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. However the usual claim is that the sept were a branch of Cenel Eoghain, an ancient Ulster population group, which descended from Eoghan, the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, a 4th century High King of Ireland. What is certain is that the sept settled in County Mayo where the name is on record from the 16th century. As an example Shane O'Howbane of Togher, a carpenter, was noted in records of that county in 1592, whilst several Hubans are mentioned in the "Book of survey and distribution for County Mayo" in 1658. The name is also well recorded in the Hearth Tax rolls of Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny in 1665, and Hoban's Bridge, a village in the latter county was named from John Hoban, a carrier, who was killed there in an unexplained explosion in 1826. John Hoban (1762-1832), who was born in Carlow, was the architect of the White House in the United states. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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