In 1641, it is said that three brothers, James, John and Robert Thomson, migrated from the lowlands of Scotland, during the troubled times of the civil war.
JOHN THOMSON settled in County Down at Ballymaglave, and for nearly two centuries his descendants continued to occupy a farm called Annaghmore, near Spa, Ballynahinch.
JAMES THOMSON, had three sons: John, Robin and James Thomson (ca 1738-).
The first two sons, John and Robin, both migrated to Buffalo Valley, New York in about 1755.
On his house, on a quoin of a building now used as a barn, this James Thomson, grandson of John Thomson, cut his name, bearing the date 1707.
The youngest son,
JAMES THOMSON (c1738), stayed in Scotland, and in 1768 married Agnes Nesbitt, who bore him three sons: Robert, John and James Thomson (mathematician).
At this period the Thomsons owned about one-quarter of the townland of Ballymaglave.
JAMES THOMSON (1786-1849), of Annaghmore, near Ballynahinch, County Down, was a teacher of mathematics and engineering at Royal Belfast Academical Institution.
Although originally Scottish, the family were Presbyterians who had been forced to leave Ayrshire in the 1640s during the struggle between the episcopacy of CHARLES I and the Covenanters. They settled in Ulster. James Thomson's father, also called James, was a farmer.
Margaret Thomson died in 1830 when their son William was only six years old.
WILLIAM THOMSON was born at College Square East, Belfast, on the 26th June, 1824.
The Thomson children were introduced to a broader cosmopolitan experience than their father's rural upbringing, spending the summer of 1839 in London; the boys were tutored in French, in Paris.
In 1852 he married Margaret, daughter of Walter Crum of Thornliebank, who died in 1870; and in 1874 he married Frances Anna, daughter of Charles R Blandy, of Madeira.
He invented depth-sounding apparatus, tide gauges, a new type of ship's compass, and instruments for measuring electricity.
In 1892, Sir William was elevated to the peerage as BARON KELVIN, of Largs.
In 1896, Lord Kelvin was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order; and in 1902 he received the Order of Merit, thus becoming the Rt Hon the Lord Kelvin OM GCVO PC.
He wrote prolifically and his works are collected as Mathematical and Physical Papers.
Lord Kelvin's statue stands at the entrance of Botanic Gardens, Belfast.
The Kelvin temperature scale is a memorial to his name.
It was to that church that his remains were taken after his death in 1907.
Lord Kelvin died without issue, when the title expired.
First published in May, 2011.