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


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. Style books show ‘Jr.” gets a comma after the name before the “Jr.” ––  II, III, IV don’t the comma.

– Robert Hickey   How to Use Junior II III IV



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.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

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”