At Founders’ Rock, left to right: Lily, Prue, Harriet (behind), Marguerite and Sean Berkeley. Photo: UC Berkeley News

Something of an historic event took place last week in Berkeley when a family who live in Brisbane, Australia, came visiting.

The family of five took in the campus, the Bancroft Library, Founders’ Rock and the ASUC store, among other sites. What sets this family apart from the run-of-the-mill tourists who drop by our fair city is that they are direct descendants descendants of the brother of the Irish philosopher George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, who gave UC Berkeley and the City of Berkeley their name. Bishop Berkeley has no living direct descendants.

As reported in UC Berkeley News, the Berkeleys — father Sean, mother Marguerite, and daughters Harriet, Lily and Prue — are the only members of the bishop’s family ever to have paid a visit to the campus, at least in living memory. And they are taking their ancestry seriously with a study tour of locations associated with George Berkeley — including the house near Newport, R.I., where  he lived and wrote for three years in the early 1700s, and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Read more about the trip, the Berkeley family history and — not least — how our city got the name Berkeley in the first place at UC Berkeley News.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...