Reader delighted with response to old pictures

TIMES reader, Mr. Alan Boyd, who sent us pictures of his Ballymoney ancestors which we published in our January 27 edition, says he is "absolutely delighted" with the response from the article.

Wednesday, 10th February 2010, 11:15 am

The story highlighted how Mr. Boyd's great grandfather, Robert A. Boyd, who was born in Ballymoney in 1857 amd was the son of Samuel Boyd and Bessie (nee Jordan).

One of the two pictures was of John Chestnut son of Samuel and Mary Chestnut of Dungorbery who was a tenant farmer and mill owner.

A second picture was of a group of Jordans taken around 1890.

It included Robert Boyd's mother, Elizabeth 'Bessie' Jordan - Samuel Boyd's wife - Jane, Mary and Marianne.

Robert ended up in Pittsburg and Catherine died aged 25 in New York. James was a builder and architect and mauy have been responsible for building a chapel in the town.

Mr. Boyd, who now lives in Truro, Cornwall, admits that it might not be James in the picture; rather William.

Speaking about the story, Mr. Boyd said: "May I say I have been absolutely delighted with the response I got from your article. I heard from the daughter of gentleman who now farms the land that my ancestor William Boyd farmed for flax in the 1830s.

"It appears that Eileen Losty(nee Boyd) who unfortunately died a couple of years ago, lived in one of the original cottages. As I am speaking to the farmer later tonight please lookout for an update to this email and my earlier one.

Mr. Boyd who plans to visit Ballymoney next week to piece together some more of the jigsaw has sent us a further picture of an image of Robert Boyd (his great grandfather b.1857 in Ballymoney d.1942 Dawlish Devon aged 85), the photographer who took them.

"You will recall that it is his mother who is in the centre of the back row of the Jordan group, Bessie Jordan," Mr. Boyd said.

He added: "I should point out though that in the case of the Jordan group he merely copied the 1860s original which he did at the very end of the nineteenth century. It is his glass negative that I have in my possession, not the original.

The original photo was probably taken (rather amateurishly judging by the casually hung sheet on the cottage wall!) by a local 'commercial' or maybe itinerant photographer as few cameras were in private hands at that time. As long exposures were required, some of the eyes are quite indistinct because of the need to blink - and of course to remain still!

"The family group photo I am sending with this email shows the photographer Robert Boyd who was born in Ballymoney, his son Gordon (my grandfather) and Robert's wife Maude (nee Chandler) whose family came from Norfolk. I have also included, as a curious piece of ephemera, a photo of Robert's business card as he struggled with his young family to start a business as an artist /designer recently arrived in London about 1885 or thereabouts.

"In later years he had some success as a designer of linoleum floor coverings which took him and his family to Antwerp in Belgium. He returned to England (Lancashire) just before the outbreak of World War 1 and he continued to take photographs at least until his mid sixties."