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Q: naming a child ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: naming a child
Category: Family and Home > Relationships
Asked by: bear40-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 13 Aug 2002 05:00 PDT
Expires: 12 Sep 2002 05:00 PDT
Question ID: 53990
Our son named his newborn son with his identical name.  His son is the
first to have this identical name.  The suffix "II" was applied to the
newborn's name.  We've heard an opinion that the suffix should
correctly be "Jr.". Which is correct?
Subject: Re: naming a child
Answered By: bethc-ga on 13 Aug 2002 06:45 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Gentle bear40-ga,

As always, when faced with complex matters of etiquette and propriety,
I turned to my well-thumbed copy of Miss Manners’ Guide to
Excruciatingly Correct Behavior. Here is what Miss Manners has to say
about the issue:

“The oldest living William Wellborn is numberless, and one starts
counting Junior, III, IV (or 3d, 4th, a form Miss Manners prefers),
and so on from there.”

Further, in another letter, Miss Manners makes it clear that when the
eldest member of the family with the same name dies, everyone gets

“Dear Miss Manners:
     “We were lucky enough to have, until last month, four generations
of our family living: Grandpa, who was Curt Nicholson, Sr.; my husband
who is Junior; our son, who is 3d; and his baby, who is 4th. Is it
true that now that Grandpa is gone, everyone moves up a notch? This
would distress me because I have lots of paper marked Mrs. Curt
Nicholson, Jr., and if my husband becomes Senior, I would have to
throw it away.

“Gentle Reader:
     “Do not throw that paper away. Miss Manners congratulates you on
already having your daughter-in-law’s Christmas present.
     “Everyone does move up a notch. You and your husband are not
Senior, but merely Mr. and Mrs. Curt Nicholson. Only a widow uses
Senior, to distinguish herself from her daughter-in-law who, as the
wife of the eldest living person of the name, does not use any suffix,
as you and your husband should not now. Your son is now junior, and
his son is now 3d.”

Also note from the preceding letter that the eldest living member of
the family does not use the Senior designation.

Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior by Judith
Martin. Warner Books (1982).

I searched further to find out the proper use of the suffix “II”. It
seems that this is used primarily when the child has the exact name of
another relative, but not his father, or when there are three family
members (father/son/grandson) with the same name:

“The designation of Sr. or Jr. to distinguish between father and son
with all the exact same names (first, middle, & last), can be replaced
by the Roman numerals, I and II, respectively, when the grandson has
the exact same names. The grandson will then have a III after his
name. The grandfather and father can continue to use Sr. and Jr.,
respectively, or the numerals.

“However, using the "II" (not Jr.) often means a man does not have his
father's name, but another relative such as his grandfather or uncle.

“Of course, royalty or other ceremonial title, would always have the I
or II, rather than Sr. or Jr. to designate the line.”

Advice with Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee

So, bear40, unless you have forgotten to indicate that you are royalty
(and I will assume that you are not, because in that case you would
probably have an on-staff Chamberlain of Etiquette), your grandson
should properly be junior.

And since you certainly will want to know the proper written form of
his name and suffix, I have included this information, from the
etiquette tips page of an engraved invitation printer:

Jr., junior, II, III, IV are all properly preceded by a comma.
Jr. is capitalized when abbreviated.

     Mr. and Mrs. Tracy Eugene Robbins request the honour of your
presence at the marriage of their daughter Sally Jo to Mr. Steven Ray
Patterson, Jr.

Junior is not capitalized when spelled in full.

     Sally Jo to Mr. Steven Ray Patterson, junior

Roman numerals are properly preceded by a comma.

     Sally Jo to Mr. Steven Ray Patterson, III

Dundee Printing

Congratulations on that new grandson, bear40, and if you should
require any clarification of the above, please do not hesitate to ask.



Search Criteria:
Reference: Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
Google search:
child OR baby naming OR name junior OR Jr. OR II etiquette OR
convention OR conventions

Clarification of Answer by bethc-ga on 15 Aug 2002 03:39 PDT
Thank you for the stars and the kind words, bear40. 

bear40-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Beth's answer was timely and makes perfect sense.  Thank you Beth.

Subject: Re: naming a child
From: hellokitty1-ga on 20 May 2004 10:07 PDT
I have to disagree with one thing. If one's birth name (on the birth
certificate) is James Smith, III, when his grandfather dies, he
remains the III. I don't agree that it changes. Everyone may start
referring to the second in line as "senior" and his son as "junior"
but your given name on your bc, social security card, etc. and what
you go through life with does not change.
Subject: Re: naming a child
From: mac9-ga on 25 May 2004 15:28 PDT
I agree with most of what your saying but, its is the current trend to
name Jr. the II.  The bottom line is you can do whatever you want its
your child.
Subject: Re: naming a child
From: esquireiiijunior-ga on 18 Feb 2005 20:46 PST
If one wishes to use the word "axe" in place of the word "ask" of
course one may do so.  Those aware of which is correct may find the
incorrect one a matter of ignorance.

If one wishes to circumvent having the first born rough and tumble
bouncing baby boy referred to as junior by forcing II to appear on the
birth certificate of course one may do so.  Others aware of which is
correct may find the incorrect one a matter of ignorance.

Seems to me if one doesn't want ones child to be referred to as junior
then it would behoove one to educate oneself in such matters before
applying a name.

One can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.
Subject: Re: naming a child
From: orrmobl-ga on 25 Feb 2005 10:49 PST
Much like one's incorrect use of punctuation and grammar presented
with an air of grandiosity and pompousity will cause others to totally
disregard their sorry excuse for an opinion.

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