How to Use Sequence Post-Nominals
How to Use Sr., Jr., II, III,  etc.

Sequence How to Use Post-Nominal Abbreviations

Do You Use Jr., II, III, etc. Forever?

My son is Walter C. Wentz IV. His father and grandfather are deceased. What is the proper designation for him now? What is the proper sequence post-nominal designation for the son he is expecting next month?
——————––- Audrey Parker How to Use Post-Nominal Abbreviations

Dear Ms. Parker:

Continued use of sequence post nominals is a matter of clarity.

First it is useful to define two types of names:

—-A) Your legal name – which is what on your birth certificate and likely your most important legal documents. Your legal names doesn’t change unless you have it legally changed.

—-B) Your ‘Go-by Name’ – which is what you use in less formal circumstances. This would be what your known by most people.

Here are some situations which arise:

—-#1) Some keep the sequence post-nominals in the ‘Go-By Names’ if their father was well-known … or if they work together … they socialize in the same circles …. or they think the friends/clients/customers will find the post nominals useful.

—-#2) Some never include their sequence post nominals in their ‘Go-by name’. They use a nick name or a simplified version nearly everywhere.

—-#3) Some drop the sequence post-nominals from their ‘Go-by name’ … Jr., II, or III … when their father dies.

—-#4) One might keep the sequence post-nominals because it matters within the family. E.g., his mother is Mrs. Walter C. Wentz III and his wife is Mrs. Walter C. Wentz IV.

An example is Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who is really William H. Gates, Jr., but never used the ‘Jr.‘   His father, born William H. Gates uses William H. Gates, Sr.  He added the Sr. to his ‘Go-by Name’ to clarify that he is not his much more famous son. He probably did not change his legal name in court. The change is informal and unofficial.

So, if your son names his son Walter C. Wentz V, he’s clearly interested in tradition. He will probably keep using Walter C. Wentz IV as his ‘go-by name’.

If he gives his son a different name …. E.g., Zachery … there is no need for the sequence post nominals.

– Robert Hickey—- How to Use Post-Nominal Abbreviations

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

Is a Second Son Named After a ‘Senior’ – the ‘III’?

I have a son named him after his Dad. The Dad already has an older son and he named ‘Jr.’. So, we named my son ‘lll’ and Dad now uses ‘Sr.’ Did we do this right?
——————– RR

Dear RR:

The key thing is to give each son a unique legal name.  You gave your son a unique name and that’s a good thing!

I understand that heavy-weight boxing champion George Foreman named five his sons:
——–George Foreman Jr.
——–George Foreman, III
——–George Foreman, IV
——–George Foreman, V
——–George Foreman, VI

Typically, III, IV, V, etc./ are used in subsequent generations, but the way you did makes sense to me.  Some might say that II is better, but I see a conflict with Junior.

– Robert Hickey  sequence

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

When the Husband is a Jr., II, III, IV or V – How Do You Address His Wife?

If the husband is Mr. William Terry, Jr. when does the Junior go with a wife’s name?
————-– Donna Terry

Dear Ms. Terry:

—-A wife using Mrs. and his full name would use his sequence post nominal:
—-—-Mrs. (Husband’s Full Name)
——-—-Mrs. William Terry, Jr.

—-A wife who uses does not use his full name does not use his sequence post nominal:
—-Mrs. (Woman’s Name)
——–—-Mrs. Donna Terry

—-Mrs. (Surname only)
—-——–Mrs. Terry

—-Never use:
—-—-Mrs. Donna Terry, Jr.
—-—-Mrs. Terry, Jr.

– Robert Hickey

postnominal

When He’s a Jr. II, III, etc. How to Write a Couple’s Name?

What is the proper way our name when he is a ‘II’?
We are Wesley P. Ames II and Patricia D. Ames

How do I write their names?
Wesley P. II and Patricia D. Ames
Wesley P. and Patricia D. Ames II
Wesley P. Ames II and Patricia D. Ames
– PDA.

Dear PDA,

He’s the only one who is a ‘II’ … so the ‘II’ only appears when his name is written alone as a unit.

When the names are formally presented …. He’s first. It’s called the ‘Mr. & Mrs. Order’.
(His Name) and (Her Name)
Wesley P. Ames II and Patricia D. Ames
Mr. and Mrs. (His Full Name)
Mr. and Mrs. Wesley P. Ames II

These formulas work all the time … for couples who are and who are not juniors, II, III etc.

Never use:
Patricia D. and Wesley P. Ames II

Because she is not:
Patricia D. Ames II

When names are combined:
#1) His given and family name are last and are kept as a unit.
#2) Since it’s not his full name all by itself, the Jr., II, III etc. is left off.
(Her Given Name) and (His Given and Family Name)
Patricia and Wesley Ames

But one more thing about writing names – especially if you are including names in a program on in a donor list: When I look at donor/contributor lists, in programs or carved on founder’s walls in museums — 90% are: Patricia and Wesley Ames. The other 10% are Wesley and Patricia Ames. I recommend the 90% option.

The final determination is — to write their name the way the persons submits their name to be presented. In the end, savvy organizations present names the way the listed person says they want their name presented. It matters less that the editor doesn’t like the style …. It matters more if the contributor likes the style. It’s their name and it’s their money!

– Robert Hickey

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

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How to Use Junior, II, III, IV etc.

How to Use Junior II III IV

Does a Junior or II Have to be a Direct Descent?

Does a numeric post nominal need to be direct descent, as it would with Junior?
– Adrienne in Hawaii    How to Use Junior II III IV

Dear Adrienne: How to Use Junior II III IV
Here’s how these post nominals typically work:

—-#1) Your legal name (what’s on your birth certificate) does not change unless you go to court and have a judge change it. People change their ‘Go-By Name’ names … and as long as you pay your bills no one really cares.

—-#2) A son who is given the same name as his father is (Full Name), Jr.  ‘Jr.’ implies that the person he is a ‘junior’ of – was his father.

—-#3) A boy who is given the same name as a relative (in memory of or to honor that relative, say, an uncle, grandfather, etc. ) is named at birth (Full Name), II. ‘II’ implies that the person he was named for was not his father.

—-#4) Any boy named after a ‘Jr.’ or a ‘II’ is a ‘III’. Any boy named after a ‘III.’ is a ‘IV’. etc.

—-#5) If the person you were named for dies … e.g., if you are born a ‘III’. and your father who was a ‘Jr.’ dies … you legally keep being the name you were given at birth. Many men stop using the Jr. as part of their ‘Go-By Name’ when their father dies. My brother did that  But if a father was famous … a son may keep using Jr. for clarity: Frank Sinatra, Jr.; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Al Gore, Jr.

E.g., if you work in the same business as your father and everyone knew him, it may be useful to keep using the ‘Jr.’ with your name so people who knew your dad – will be clear who you are. While some Juniors use the ‘Jr.’ as part of their ‘Go-By Name’ all the time – many don’t.

– Robert Hickey   How postnominals 

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

How to Use Junior II III IV How to Use Post-Nominal Abbreviations

How are Sr., Jr., I, II, & III Assigned If the Name Changes Just a Tiny Bit?

My husband’s father’s name is William O’Shea Baxter.

My husband’s name William O’Shea Baxter, Jr.

Our son is William O’Shea Baxter, 3rd. He had a son he named him William Shea Baxter, leaving off the ‘O’. Is this child the 4th?

—-—-—-– MAB

Dear MAB,

When name changes, the starting point of sequence post nominals starts again.

When the legal name passes down exactly, adding the sequence post nominals … Jr., 2nd, 3rd, … makes clear who is who – to banks, government tax collectors, recorders of deeds, borrowers & debtors.

If the legal name changes from father to son in any way … there’s no need to use the sequence post nominals. Each has a unique name.

Of course, there is no Naming Police out there to enforce tradition or review the logic of the way anyone names their children!

– Robert Hickey

postnominals 

Is a Second Son Named After a Father – the ‘III’?

I have a son named him after his Dad.  The Dad already has an older son and he named ‘Jr.’.  So, we named my son ‘lll’ and Dad now uses ‘Sr.’  Did we do this right?
—-—-—-—-– RR How to Use Junior II III IV

Dear RR:

The key thing is to give each son a unique legal name.  You gave your son a unique name and that’s a good thing!

I understand that heavy-weight boxing champion George Foreman named five his sons:
—-—-George Foreman Jr.
—-—-George Foreman, III
—-—-George Foreman, IV
—-—-George Foreman, V
—-—-George Foreman, VI

Typically, III, IV, V, etc.  are used in subsequent generations, but the way you did makes sense to me.

– Robert Hickey   How to Use Junior II III IV

postnominals 

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"