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Trove Tuesday – The namesake



I think that most of us have wondered where on earth our parents found our first names and why they gave them to us, particularly if the name isn’t a traditional family name.

Why Brian Roger Harris? Where did the Brian and the Roger come from? Was I named after someone? Were my parents following some sort of 1950s trend in boys’ names?

William, or even Bill, would have been easy to understand as my 3x great grandfather was William Harris, a convict born in Birmingham, England. There has been at least one ‘William’ in every generation of Harris men since then. Henry, Samuel, Albert and even Herbert are other names that appear frequently on the family tree. But no, Brian and Roger were plucked from somewhere.

The origin of Roger came to light after a search for information about the STANDING branch of my family in TROVE revealed three articles about the death of a three year old boy called Roger Noel Standing.

The first article is an account of the bid to save the young Roger Noel’ s life. The second is the boy’s funeral notice while the third is an article about the inquest into the child’s death.

The initial report

Northern Star, 17 July 1953, p.4.

The first, and most telling finding in these articles was that Roger Standing died on 16 July 1953, just under six months before I was born.

Roger was my mother’s first cousin, the youngest child of her uncle and aunt, William Alfred (Bill) and Iris Jean Wattus (Jean)) Standing of The Channon., New South Wales. Bill Standing was the younger brother of my maternal grandmother, Edith Eileen EVERINGHAM nee Standing..

The extended Standing and Everingham clans lived in and around the small village of The Channon in northern New South Wales and were exceptionally close. My mother grew up with the Standing clan as relatives and close neighbours. My parents’ closeness to the Standings is indicated by the fact that my father, an “in-law”, was reported as being a cousin and a pallbearer at the church.

Report on the funeral

Northern Star, 20 July, 1953, p.4.

The probing inquest into Roger’s death must have been devastating to the extended and close knit Standing family.

The Coroner’s report

Northern Star, Saturday 29 August 1953, page 7


And the Brian? That was easy to understand. If I ever come across another Brian, I am 99.9% certain that he was born in Australia in the 1950s, just as I was. Obviously Brian was a fashionable name – for a short while.

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