Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Jr and II

Jr vs II

It is human nature to want to have your offspring be like you or someone older in the family. The most common manifestation of this nature is naming a newborn after his father or another family member in the hopes that he would be as great as the one that preceded him. This is very evident in the name of old kings like Henry IV (the fourth), Henry V (the fifth), and so on. But, there is a bit of confusion in naming the second in line as it is possible to use II (the second) and JR (Junior).

Although these things are not set in stone, there are common rules in whether you should use II or JR in naming a child. JR is to be used when the child is going to have the same name as his father. The father would then have to add SR (Senior) to his name in order to distinguish between the two of them. It is also stated that the child must have and identical name to his father; including the middle name.  Sr is used only by the widow of the father of a Jr and then only when the Jr has married.

It is also expected that the father still be living when naming the child JR.

On the other hand, II is to be used when the child would be taking the name of a family member other than his father. It could be an uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, and so forth. In order to use II, the names must be identical, including the middle name.

The need for these suffixes stemmed from the older times when naming was not as systematic as it is today. In modern society, there is no need to even follow these conventions and as previously said, there is no fixed rule about this and you can use either in naming a child.


  1. Both are used to identify that the person is the second in the family to have the name
  2. Jr is used when the son has the same name as the father
  3. The second (II) is used when the elder family member is anyone other than the father

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  1. Ben:
    Thank you, but there needs to be two corrections.
    1. Sr is NEVER used by a man. Sr is used only by the widow of the father of a Jr and then only when the Jr has married.
    There is no guaranty that when a boy is born, he will become a father to boys. He is given a name and that remains his name for life. He is the original article and does not change his name. His wife may choose to use the name Mrs. (his name).
    When a son is born, if he is given an identical name, he becomes Jr and when the son marries, his wife may use Mrs. (his name) Jr..
    When the original dies, the son may choose to drop the Jr as may his wife. Now there is the potential for two living persons using the same name and the dowager widow takes on the Sr as a way to distinguish herself from the daughter-in-law.
    Repeat: A man NEVER uses Sr. It is only for widows.
    There are men who use the Sr incorrectly today but it is a mistake and shows a lack of understanding of the purpose of the suffixes and should be stopped at all costs.
    2. In order to use II, the names must be identical, including the middle name. The purpose of a suffix is only to clarify who people are when the names are the same. If the names are different, even if the middle initial is the same, there is no need for the suffix.

    Please feel free to contact me if you require further clarification.

    • I have a question ok my sons father just passed away before my son was Bjorn. I want to name him after him can he be a II?

      • Vanessa:
        I’m sorry for your loss.
        Your son, since he is the son of the original, would be a Jr.
        The II is used for the first born within a family who is not a direct link, typically a nephew of the original.
        I hope this helps.

        • If a parent and child are using the suffixes “Sr.” and “Jr.”, but the parent dies, then they are referred to merely as “(Name) I” / “(Name), the first” and “(Name) II” / “(Name), the second”. Should Barnabas Ludwig Johnson Sr. tragically die, his son would now be called Barnabas Ludwig Johnson II, and the deceased father would now be lovingly remembered by the name Barnabas Ludwig Johnson I. Continuing to call the son “Jr.” (unless “Junior” had simply become his nickname), would create confusion, as it would indicate that his father were still alive.

          – See more at: http://schmidtgen.com/wordpress/2013/10/20/how-to-use-jr-sr-ii-iii-etc-with-cartoons/#sthash.HsyaM47I.dpuf

          • AJ,
            I’m sorry to disappoint you, but the page you reference is wrong.
            According to long standing practice,
            1. Men are never referred to as Sr. It has become a common misconception but in your example, when Barnabas Ludwig Johnson was born and originally named, there was no guarantee that he would become a father to any child, let alone a boy he would name Barnabas Ludwig. There was no need for any suffix. His son, as his direct descendant, is made Jr to distinguish the son from the original article. (See other parts of this page for why widows can use Sr.)
            2. Nobody uses a 1. If they are the first, all they need is their name, since they are the original article. As an aside, sometimes, monarchs and popes are referred to as 1, or the first, in anticipation of another occurring, but that is only as a reference and not a part of their actual name.
            3. II is a suffix used for the second person with an identical name, but who is either not a direct descendant of the original, like a nephew, or is a grandchild, having skipped a generation between the original and the the namesake.
            4. The name you are born with does not change, however, in casual situations, the man closest to the original with a name can drop the suffix, but the other continue to use the suffix they were given. For example, if Barnabas Ludwig Johnson Jr, III, and IV are all dead, Barnabas Ludwig Johnson V, might drop the suffix, but the VI and VII, would still continue to use VI and VII. Even so, Barnabas Ludwig Johns V, is still V, because it is the name he was born with, and would use it for any official documents.
            5. While it is possible for the closest to the original to drop the suffix in casual situations, the younger generations can’t upgrade their number. Using the last example, V can’t suddenly become II or Jr and VII can’t suddenly become III.

            Now, the truth is, while this is how it has worked for centuries, you can name your child anything you want, but if you want to follow the traditional method, there are basic rules outlined here an in other places in this post.

      • I am a single, never wed, mother of a soon-to-be born daughter. I plan to name her identical to my own name and would like to use a suffix for the same reasons Jr. is utilized for boys. No such feminine suffix exists; could you suggest a word (existing or original) that would serve as a distinguishing and distinguished feminine suffix?

        • Dear Maureen Jones-Ryan,
          The suffixes developed and were used by men because during those years, women didn’t conduct business, manage lands, negotiate, or vote or in some places, even own land. The suffixes were masculine only because only men used them, not because they were inherently masculine.
          I see no reason to search for a feminine version. Why not use Jr? I think your daughter will be proud of that and my advice to you is to use it. As a father of a daughter, I would be bursting with pride if my daughter made the same choice and named her daughter after herself and added Jr.

    • I’m sorry, but that is not true at all. A man always takes Sr. I can give you many examples in celebrities. Steve Smith Sr. (Baltimore Ravens Wide Receiver), Dale Earnhardt Sr. (former NASCAR Driver), I could go on and on but Sr. is very commonly used with men.

      • Zack,
        Just because something is commonly used (misused) by a celebrity, doesn’t make it correct. I too can come up with many examples of the misuse of Sr.
        Unless Mr. Smith was given that suffix at birth, he is misusing it. He may be thinking that there will be some confusion between him and one of his young children, but as long as he gave his child the Jr suffix, there is no need, especially since they are not likely to ever be in the same occupation at the same time.
        Dale Earnhardt was born Dale Earnhardt and his son was born Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Dale, the father, misused the term as well but he never claimed it was his name. The Earnhardts and the racing world were forced into using it when Jr began competing in the same business with his father. They could just have easily started to call one Big Dale and Little Dale or Ralph and Dale. The use of Sr is still incorrect, but it was forced on them due to the dramatic similarities in their careers paths and the need for the world-wide media to keep straight two such well known and popular celebrities.
        Celebrities will misuse it when they worry the media will confuse parent and child, which could easily happen, but that doesn’t make it correct.

        This thread was created to help people understand the history and the correct use of suffixes.
        Sr is never used by a man and if you read through the thread you can see why it doesn’t make sense.

        Ultimately, however, as I said to Tony, you can name your child anything you want and you can call yourself anything you want. This thread is about the history and the correct use. Your can choose whatever path you want.

        • there is no wrong in current usage. so, if people use Sr. as a current usage it is alright.

          • Eduard Jr.:
            You can use whatever you like. This thread is about the history and the traditional use of suffixes.
            While I am aware not everybody understands the history of suffixes, if a person is going to use a suffix, they should probably know what it means. To use a suffix without knowing what it means is a bit like getting a tattoo in a language you don’t know. Sure it may look good, but …it might have meaning you don’t intend.
            Suffixes serve a purpose and send a message. You can use anything you like, but the message you send, may not be what you intend.

          • Andrew,
            You seem to know much about this subject and I am wondering if my family is using suffixes correctly… I am Richard T Richards IV, father is Richard T Richards III, Grandfather Richard T Richards Jr And his father Richard T Richards… We never had a II… Is this the correct progression?

        • I don’t know if my father was or wasn’t born with the suffix Sr. But I was with II. So my question is if I was born with the following suffix and my father is still alive am I correct that I used the suffix III, when my son was born?

          • Lawrence,
            If you are a II, then you are rare and it is extra nice to meet you.

            Yes, traditionally, you would use III for your son if you are a II.

            The only time III doesn’t follow II is if there were a Jr that had a son before II had a son. If that happens, then II has a IV, which is a very, very rare event.

            In any case, Congratulations on becoming a father and you are correct to use III.

          • My grandfather (who is no longer with us) is named Hilario Hernandez. My father is named Hilario Hernandez and I am named Hilario Hernandez Jr. If I have a son what would be his name?

    • Andrew, are there websites to back up your information? I absolutely hate the sports figures that put jr, Sr, II or anything like that on their jerseys. It annoys the living shit out of me. Thanks!

      • Ben,
        Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of genealogy websites but very few that cover suffixes specifically. That seems odd, but then again, given how many people misuse them, especially Sr, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
        Suffixes are used to clarify between family members, when there is a chance for confusion. If there is no chance of confusion, like when people have different names, there is no need.

        Professional athletes are very rare, very highly trained and typically, young. It is extremely unlikely that a father and son or even uncle and nephew would be on the same field of play during the same decade, let alone game, so I would agree with you that adding a suffix is entirely unnecessary.

        The Manning brothers, both very well known and both holding the same occupation, have just Manning on their shirts because despite the similarity, nobody gets confused. That isn’t a case where a suffix would be used, but it illustrates how unnecessary a suffix can be for a pro athlete.

        In the case of Dale Earnhardt and his son, the son uses Jr properly to distinguish himself because there was a short time when that might have been confusing. He doesn’t need to continue to use Jr, but probably does to avoid confusion with his father for branding purposes.

        Once you understand the history and logic of suffixes, I admit it can be annoying to see them misused or used unnecessarily, but don’t let this drive you crazy. It isn’t worth it.

        • Super extremely rare. I think I’ve only heard of it once.
          Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. hit a homerun in the same game!

          • Danny,
            I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know about this but it is the very best example of why suffixes matter sometimes. Although I would argue that Ken Griffey is the original and shouldn’t need a suffix, the immediate need to differentiate during a fast moving event like a baseball game, may be the only extremely rare but logical place when a man should use Sr. I don’t like it, but it makes sense.
            Wouldn’t it have been fun if Ken Griffey III had been a baseball player instead of football player and been able to play with his father and grandfather?

    • Legally, a person is not to use “Sr.” unless he has gone to court and had his name changed since it is not on his birth certificate.

      • Raymond W. Ryan, Jr.,
        You are correct in that nobody should use a suffix on legal paperwork that is not on their birth certificate. I wish more people agreed.

        However, there is one case…and only one case…when a suffix may be used without being on a birth certificate or part of a legal change and it is from a bygone era. Since this thread is about traditional use of suffixes, I’ll explain.
        A widow may use Sr in casual paperwork or conversation to distinguish herself from her daughter-in-law.

        In ye olden days, two things were common:
        1. women typically used Mrs with their husbands name.
        2. Men could drop their suffix if all the people who had the name before them were dead. For example, if George Washington, George Jr and George III were all dead, George IV could drop the suffix since it would have been likely that everyone they might have encountered would have been the same people who would have typically known the others were dead and there would have been no confusion.

        This meant that if a man dies, leaving a widow and the son had a wife, both women could use the same name. In the example from above, there might be two Mrs. George Washingtons. (If George died, George Jr could drop the suffix in non-legal paperwork.)

        This doesn’t sound confusing to our modern minds but years ago before social security numbers, credit cards, and the wonders of the internet, it could be confusing if two women used the same name. So, the widow would take on the Sr to mark her as the widow of the older. Sr is the equivalent of the word “dowager”.

        If you read this whole thread, you will know I would love men to stop using Sr. They think they are separating themselves from their sons, which is nice of course, but it is unnecessary. They are distinguished by having a different suffix or not having a suffix to begin with.

        Mr. Ryan, please join me in stopping the incorrect use of Sr and together maybe we can also stop people from using a suffix they don’t have on anything legal.

        • I would like to put forward another suggestion. Just like how languages and cultures evolve over time, perhaps the usage of Jr and Sr are also evolving. After all, we don’t say that people are speaking incorrectly because they’re not talking like Shakespeare. Perhaps it’s better to just accept this as lingual and genealogical evolution rather than attempt to get men to stop using Sr. Any attempt would be futile anyways since people seem to do whatever they want nowadays.

    • My mom passed and I’m a II, do I legally need to drop the suffix? And when I’m married, I definitely drop the suffix, right?

      • Connie,
        This is a great question. As I’ve said before in this thread, traditionally women didn’t use suffixes, so there is no direct history to fall back on for an answer, but I think that there is no reason the same traditional rules for men shouldn’t apply to you or any other woman who has a suffix. I can’t see any difference.

        If you are II, and the II is part of your legal name, then you would continue to use it on anything official, but yes indeed, you can drop it socially or on anything that didn’t require documentation.

        Now, when you get married, you are right again. If you take your husband’s name, then your name has changed and the II would make no sense, so you would drop it. If you don’t take his name, then it you would continue to use it, how and when, as if you hadn’t gotten married.

        I’m sorry for your loss, but thank you for bringing this up.


    • I stumbled on your post when looking for the the proper usage of Jr and II. From your response, I assume you’re a genealogist of some sort. I’m wondering how you would recommend finding a genealogist in my area to help with some research I’m doing on an article I’m working on.

      • Jack,
        Regardless of where you live in the US or Canada, one of the best sources is the New England Historic Genealogical Society, which you can find at Americanancestors.org. They are one of the best, if not the very best, sources for genealogical data and resources.

        I would also look into your state’s Mayflower Society. You don’t have to be a descendant to ask questions and I can tell you from my personal experience that they all have properly qualified and experienced genealogists. I’m sure they would be able to direct you. They can all be found via google or you can contact the General Society in Plymouth.

        Actually, any group like the Daughters or Sons of The American Revolution with their ancestry based membership should be able to give you direction. I’m drawing a blank on names of more but there are others.

        Your local or regional historical society might be able to point you in the right direction.

        Even if those groups can’t help you directly, (although the NEHGS probably can), they should be able to point you to good sources to find genealogists.
        I would caution you not to pursue anyone you see only on the internet because there is no oversight over who can claim to be a professional, (I am not) and I have seen hopelessly unqualified people claiming they were certified by some organization that sells certifications.
        Ask for references, of course.
        I wish you good luck.

    • Keep in mind that that these are the author’s rules and no one elses. There is no established system that cannot be varied. You can do whatever you prefer and not be violating anything.

      • Ray,
        These aren’t “my” rules. In this thread I have endeavored to explain how suffixes are used traditionally and why they came into use. In the modern world they are not unimportant, just less important and used less. This has lead to more confusion and misinformation.
        You are absolutely correct, however, that anybody can name their child as they please and choose to use a suffix in a traditional way or an untraditional way.

    • My cotillion classes as a kid taught me differently. A II doesn’t need to have the exact same name as someone. For example, my dad was named Martin, after his father’s uncle whose middle name is Martin, and who went by Martin. Because he had passed before my father was born, my dad didn’t need the II suffix (although he could have used it if he wanted).

      Now, I am named exactly after my dad. That makes me a Jr. But I could TECHNICALLY call myself a II because I was also named after someone not directly related to me.

      Having to be named exactly like someone that isn’t immediately your father to be a II isn’t correct. You just have to be named after someone not in your immediate family. After the Jr. and II suffixes though, anyone can continue using the III, IV, etc.

      • Martin,
        Unfortunately, you have been partially lead astray regarding the traditional use of suffixes. You do need to have the exact same name as someone in order to have a suffix. If you don’t, there would be no confusion between you two, so no need for the suffix. Suffixes developed precisely because people had the exact same name and it was a way of sorting out one from the other.
        The suffix is given at birth, so you can only use the one you are given, or you may drop the suffix if you are the closest to the original and the original and those between you and the original are dead.
        You cant “choose” to use one suffix over another.
        You are correct though that once the II or Jr are used the numbers are given in birth order, regardless of the number of the father. That is a rare situation but it happens and it is great fun for genealogists.

        • Thank you for the discussion. I nearly went crazy researching one family that stayed in one German town for a few hundred years and had a penchant for naming at least one male in each family group after their favorite ancestor. Until I discovered that the typically seen American use of Sr, Jr, III, IV, etc. to denote each generation within one family unit was NOT the only way the numbers can be assigned, I spent a lot of time checking and rechecking documents and translations to work out how it was possible for Philipp Bonn IV to have a son Philip Bonn VII. Blogs, webinars etc, on German naming conventions never discussed it. All made more difficult of course because that information is rarely provided in the online record transcriptions we see at the main genealogical sites. Just another reason why there is no substitute for being able to see the image of the original record!

    • Nonsense.

    • Hi Andrew,

      My wife’s name is Elizabeth and if we have a daughter, we are considering naming her Elizabeth as well. Would it be following the traditional guidelines if she be called Elizabeth II? Do you see any problems with it? We both love the name Elizabeth, and it would obviously be a bonus to have that ring to it considering the Queen!


      • Alex,
        Following the traditional rules, the child of the original with the exact same name is called Jr. II is reserved for a child with an identical name but who is not the child of the original, typically a nephew. Also, since traditionally women take their husbands name, your daughter will lose her designation when marrying if she does take her partner/husband’s name.

        That said, these are traditional rules and not laws, by any means. If you want to name your daughter Elizabeth and give her a II because she has an identical name, I think it is a great idea. It isn’t traditional but if that doesn’t matter to you, then it shouldn’t matter to anyone else and I am pretty sure Queen Elizabeth II would totally endorse your choice.

        My best to you and your family.

    • I’m confused my husband is Gino Lee Pena and my son is Gino Lee Pena Jr… What then is my grand baby which is definitely going to be Gino Lee Pena as well???? Please help before baby is born!!

      • Dear Manuela,
        Your grandson would be Gino Lee Pena, III.

        • Hey ok I name my son after his father only thing is the middle name is different…..so is he still a Jr

          • Iesha,
            According to the traditional rules, no. Your son must have an identical name to his father to use Jr.
            The Jr, or any other suffix were created to mitigate the confusion of identical names, since your son and his father have different names, even if it is just the middle name, the Jr is unnecessary and even implies that there is another man with the identical name that is really the father.
            My best wishes to your family.

    • My father name is
      Carlos Agustin Lugo decease
      I’m Carlos Agustin Lugo Jr
      My son is Carlos Agustin Lugo II
      My son had a baby boy Carlos Agustin III. I’m correct or the new baby should be the IV. Please help

      • Carlos,
        Congratulations on your grandson!
        Traditionally, II is only used for a boy born to close family of the original but not the son of the original. Usually a nephew.
        Traditionally the father to son to grandson to great grandson order is:
        -The original (no suffix)
        In your case, instead of naming your son Carlos III, you used to II. It isn’t traditional but it isn’t wrong either. You gave him your family name and a suffix to distinguish him from you and his grandfather. That it isn’t in the traditional order, is just different, not “wrong”. This thread is only about what is traditional.

        So, traditionally, your new grandson would have been IV, but since you named your son II, it is perfectly sensible to name your grandson III. It may not be traditional but it still works and I’m sure he will be proud to carry the name and I hope he names his son Carlos Augustin Lugo, IV.

        Again, Congratulations.

      • Carlos,
        I must apologize for the delay in answering. It appears the system cancelled my first attempt at answering.
        Congratulations on your new grandson!
        Please remember that this thread is all about what is traditional and not what is “right” or “wrong”.
        By tradition, you should have named your son III and then your grandson would have been clearly IV. The suffix II is used for a close relative to the original, but born before the original had a chance to become father to a JR, typically a nephew.
        However, you took the untraditional step of using II for your son, who traditionally would have been III. Now that your son is a father, it makes sense for him to name the new baby III, since three follows two.
        Your grandson is the fourth with the name but since both Jr and II were used in the same line of descent, you wind up one number off.
        This reflects the traditional use of the suffix system and you have used them in an traditional way, but that doesn’t make what you did “wrong”. It is simply untraditional.
        If you read through the thread, you can see how it is possible for a II to be father of a III (direct descent) and just as possible for a II to be father to a IV if the JR has a child before the II does.
        No matter what, I’m sure your grandson will be proud to carry the name. My best wishes to you all.

    • I am a Jr. My father is alive. I am having a son which i am naming after my father and I. Does he simply become the third(III) or is it more complicated then that since youve said a few times that suffix III is only for cousins nephews and skipped generations..
      My father: original, suffix: NONE
      Myself: second with name, suffix: Jr
      My son: third with name, suffix: ??

      Would my son, the third person total and consecutively with the same name, be the second(II) or third(III)?

      • Ronald,
        Your son, the third to have the identical name, will be III. Things only get a little awkward with cousins and nephews. You have the Original, then Junior and now III. All in a row. Perfect.

    • I really find your answers very interesting but who are you meaning your profession

      • Fred,
        Thank you. I have been studying genealogy and family history for over 30 years. I am retired but I have worked with two genealogy based organizations as both management and researcher.

    • If you have senior,junior can the next boy child be the First

    • So my father is the 3rd. His father was a junior, my grandfather. When I was born, I was not named after my father. However, my brother who’s born ten years after me was named the fourth. I don’t think that’s correct generation genealogy as I am the first born son and would carry the original bloodline. Would I be incorrect or can you please help shed light on this?

  2. I though II would also be used to replace JR when the JR. has their own child & names them identically to himself & his father, so Jr becomes the II, and Jr’s kid becomes the III.. Is that incorrect? My brother was a Jr [until he switched his name around] and I was told he would become the II if he names his kid the same as him and our dad…

    • Rich:
      No, that isn’t correct. When a Jr has a son, the son, if named identically, is a III. If upon the death of the original, the Jr. chooses to stop using the Jr, the III stays III. (If he didn’t, he would be confused with his father.) Furthermore, when the III dies, his son remains IV….and so on.
      The eldest may choose to drop the suffix, but everybody else, retains their number.

      Should a death occur in the middle, the same rule applies. For example, if Jr, III and IV are living and suddenly III dies, Jr remains Jr, and IV remains IV. Jr may choose to drop the suffix and even may have done so before III died, but IV is still IV. Then as time goes by and Jr dies, IV may then, and only then, change or drop the suffix.

      In other words, only the man living that is closest to the original may change or drop the suffix. Everyone else stays the same.

      Let me clarify one other point. Roman numerals, like III and IV have traditionally been reserved for monarchs and popes. Everyone else was to use the Arabic version, like 3rd or 4th instead. John Q. Smith, IV should be John Q. Smith, 4th. However, this rule has been amended because monarchs and popes use only a single name and everyone else uses at least a surname and a often a middle name. Therefore, there is little chance for confusion.

      Again, please don’t hesitate to contact me for further clarification.

      • Good grief.
        Looking back at this, after all this time, I realize I never answered the question completely.
        The suffix II is used only when a child is born into a family and given a name identical to someone who isn’t his father.
        For example, John Q. Smith names his first son is John Q. Smith Jr. and then names his second after his childless brother Robert F. Smith. The child would be Robert F. Smith, II.
        The genealogy fun starts when someone names a child out of order. Using the same fictional family, Robert’s first son would be Robert F. Smith Jr. Then we skip down a generation. The first child born to EITHER Robert, II or Robert Jr. becomes Robert F. Smith, III. If Robert, Jr. is the first to become a father to a boy and names his son Robert, III and then Robert, II has a son, Robert, II’s son will be Robert, IV.
        These days, it is less likely that three generations of a family will continue to live in a close community, but that wasn’t the case 100 years ago, which is where you are more likely to see this unusual situation appear. This could continue on such that Robert, III’s son could be Robert, V. Number three could be father to number five and number four could be the father to number six.

        Now, back to my first response, please lets all pledge to prevent men from using Sr. Friends don’t let friends misuse Sr.

        • So I named my son after me. He has the exact first, middle and last name. My wife didn’t want him to be a jr so we named him the second. After reading your explanation it seems we didn’t follow the rules. He is now and will forever be the II on his birth certificate and I have no designation as the first on my birth certificate. Why is it not correct to name your son the II instead of jr?

          • Joe Frye,
            Naming your son II, is unusual but not wrong. The Jr suffix is used to denote the direct descendant of the original and II is traditionally used to denote a close but not direct descendant, typically a nephew.
            If back in ye olden days of yore, there hadn’t been the desire to designate “son of” as opposed to just “related to”, the Jr suffix would never have been created and the second person in the family, whether they were the son of or not, would have been II.
            Your son is the second person in your family, so II makes some sense.
            This thread is about the traditional use of suffixes and you can proudly name your son anything you want. The worst that can be said is that by using II instead of Jr people who only know your names, will likely think he was your nephew not son. That isn’t the biggest crisis and those people who do know you already know he is your son.
            In doing genealogy research, I read about a 19th Century family that had a first son to whom they gave the Jr suffix but who died as an infant. When the second son was born they gave him the II suffix. The traditional method of using suffixes developed over time to simplify understanding of who was who but the rules, traditional though they may be, are not set in stone. There is no correct or incorrect anymore. There is just traditional and untraditional.

            IIs are pretty rare and he will have many opportunities to talk about sharing his name with his father. That’s fun. My best to you both.

        • Andrew, thank you for you for the clarification of Sr/Jr vs I/II/III. I want to insure I am clear in this matter. The following is President John F.
          Kennedy’s Family:
          Joseph Patrick Kennedy I -grandfather
          Joseph Patrick Kennedy II – grandson
          Joseph Patrick Kennedy III – great grandson
          Is this correct usage of I, II, III?

          • Toni,
            The Kennedys did not follow the traditional rules, but as posted in another thread, this may be because Jr died young and childless and there was little chance anyone was going to be confused over who was JPK, II’s father.

            President Kennedy’s Family: (missing a few)
            Joseph Patrick Kennedy –patriarch, original and no suffix.
            Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr. –brother, killed in WW2.
            Robert F. Kennedy, –brother.
            Joseph Patrick Kennedy, II –son of Robert and nephew to Jr.
            Joseph Patrick Kennedy, III –Son of JPK, II

            The traditional rules are that after Jr is born, the next with the name is III, whether a child of Jr or a nephew of Jr. In this case, JPK, II, should have been III and his son, IV.

        • I am still not certain about this. If I name my son after his father but give him a different middle name would he be considered a jr or do they have to share the same first and middle name for my son to be considered a jr? what is the traditional rule on this?

          • Lissa,
            The traditional rule is that the names must be identical, including the middle name. If the middle name is different, even if it starts with the same letter, there is no need for a suffix because the middle name differentiates. Congratulations on your son!

  3. I named my son after myself and his suffix is II. You shouldn’t tell people they can’t do this. There is no law for this.

    Listen up people. Use what you want to name your kids.

    • If the sons name is identical to the father the son should be the II. The father is the original the son the II then his son can become the III. that makes the most sense to me in the 21st century. jr should just be a nick name because it holds no place value. if your son is the II he is the II and he can be called jr informally. i think if you name your kid after anyone else but the father it should never be the II. im identical to my father and have always been II and now my son is identical and is the III. I don’t agree with any “rules” in naming your kid jr or II after another family member to become II by cheating but i do agree with my own opinion stated above because it just seems too logical to think otherwise.

      • Joseph,
        Yes, common sense would dictate that just numbers be used, if anything at all is used, especially in the 21st century since Social Security, driver’s licenses, and other ID numbers from all over the world, have become the final definitive way we are all organized and officially recognized.
        However, the use of Junior came before all that during a time when if you had a business or assets or holdings of any sort to pass on to your son, it was an advantage to the son to have a name that indicated a direct connection to the good reputation of the father. Junior meant a close connection that presumably meant that commerce with the son, in whatever form, could be relied upon to be the equivalent of commerce with the father. If the son used only II, what was the ‘proof’ that he was in fact the good and honest son and not the reprobate nephew?
        Junior was simply a way of clearing confusion before it happened.

        However, as I have said in other posts, all of this boils down to determining what is traditionally used. There is no law. You are free to use III for your son just as your father was free to use II for you. Following tradition, in this regard, is fun and interesting for some people and for some people it isn’t.

  4. Tony,
    Of course.
    I’m not telling people what to do, but I am explaining the reasoning behind suffixes and why they are used.
    It makes a difference to some people but obviously does not to others.
    Whether or not you choose to follow tradition is entirely up to you. You can name your son anything you want and choose to use any suffix.

  5. So, let me see if I’ve got this straight.
    My great-grandfather was, say, Evel Knieval Jones. He had two sons: my grandfather, Noise Hatchet Jones, and my great-uncle (who died young and childless), Evel Knieval Jones, Jr. My father was named Noise Hatchet Jones, Jr. I ended up Blended Elixir Jones.
    Now, let’s say I have three sons and I want to give each of them a repeat family name. Would they be Evel Knieval Jones, III, Noise Hatchet Jones, III, and Blended Elixir Jones, Jr.?
    Thanks for any clarification or affirmation you can give!

    • Blended,
      You are technically correct in every way, sort of. You have the numbering system right.
      However, context makes a difference. Presumably Evel Knieval Jones, Jr. died long before your son was born. You would be correct in that the III is correct for the child with the same name born after the Jr, but with that much time….and maybe distance too, you could get away with dropping the III since there is very little chance they would ever be confused.
      It is much closer between Noise, Jr and your son, Noise. There is ample chance for them to be confused, even if only at family gatherings, but he (your son) would correctly be Noise Hatchet Jones, III.
      Again you are correct for little Blended. He is your son and is correctly called Blended Elixir Jones, Jr.
      Now, just to complicate things……
      1. Typically, but there is no rule, the oldest son is given the father’s name and the younger sons take the more distant family names. In that case, your first son would be Blended Elixir Jones, Jr. and the next two would be Noise and Evel in any order.
      2. What about your brother Pacifist Elk Jones? He named his oldest son Pacifist Elk Jones, Jr., but had his second son been born before your son, then he could have been Noise Hatchet Jones, III in which case your son would have been Noise Hatchet Jones, IV.
      3. Let’s face it, Pacifist has always been unfairly competitive. Had he had a son before you, he could have named it Blended Elixir Jones, II. Had he done that, your son would still have been Blended Elixir Jones, Jr. but the race between all your sons and and all his sons to be the father of Blended Elixir Jones, III would have been wide open. The next child named Blended Elixir Jones would have been III, regardless of who was the father.
      I hope that helps.

  6. Just had a son, what to name him after my dad and my elder brothers name his son Jr, that means my son would be the II. am i correct. Thaks

    • Kaagee,
      Once Jr has been used in the immediate family like this, the next suffix used is III. The suffix II only happens if the child is born before the Jr is born.
      If your son has the identical name as your brother and your brother’s son (who is already Jr.), then your son is III.
      This is then where the very unusual fun starts. If your nephew (Jr) and your son (III) grow up and have sons, the first born of that generation becomes IV, regardless of whether his father is Jr or III.
      Let me know if I can answer anything else.

  7. Andrew,

    Many thanks for your clarifications above. I assume that if I want to, like George Foreman, name all my sons with the exact same name, I start with Jr. then III, IV, ad infinitum?

    • Steve,
      Yes and no. The Jr suffix represents a generational change. It is the equivalent of saying “son of”, which wouldn’t make sense between brothers. The numerical suffixes are the same idea but can skip back and forth between children of brothers, so there is less of a direct connection. You “could” do that but it would eventually lead to confusion, which I’m sure Mr. Foreman is going to have to deal with if he hasn’t already.
      On the other hand, if you were to name them all with the same first name but change up the middle name, it might be very, very cool. Confusing for their teachers, the DMV and probably risking chaos with the IRS, but if you are willing to take that on, why not? It might be fun for them as brothers to share something like that.

  8. One thing that was not brought up, I would like bring up.

    In case anyone is wondering. . .
    In a situation like George Forman’s children:
    People may notice his kids are George the 2nd Foreman, George the 3rd Foreman, and so forth..
    This input of the suffix in between first and last name occurs when you have children that all have the same name as the father. And from oldest to youngest would go 2nd, 3rd, and on from there.
    Just figured I’d point that out!

    • Mike,
      When you put something between the first and last names, it is no longer a suffix, but rather is now a middle name. There is no “traditional rule” involved because the full name is no longer the identical. Suffixes are used when the name, including middle name, is identical.
      I just checked Wikipedia and his boys are all George Edward Foreman, with suffixes Jr, III, IV, V and VI. It is unconventional but it is entirely correct from a traditional naming perspective.

      The true naming and genealogy fun will come when Mr. Foreman’s grandsons are named. I hope they are all George Edward Foreman too. Then, if they follow tradition, the numbers will start with VII and be in order of birth regardless of their fathers’s birth order.

  9. Hi! I named my son the II.. Because Jr. Was over used.. He has the exact same name as his father… And is his first born son.. Was it wrong to use II?

    • Toya,
      You were not “wrong”.
      What you did was, at worst, untraditional. The II suffix implies an identical name, but not directly descendant. In other words, IIs are typically nephews or grandchildren of the person who had the name first.
      Jr is the only suffix that implies direct descent. All the others from II on could be indirect.
      The only people who might ever care about your untraditional choice would be genealogists hundreds of years from now and even then, we leave such long paper trails in our lives in this century that those possible genealogists would have to be idiots to be confused.
      My best to you.

  10. Was the suffixes change due to the uses of the suffixes like, King “name” The Brave, The Great, The Just and so on? What about the prince changing their whole name to a former king after kingship?

    • Robert,
      That is an interesting question. The suffixes were the result of trying to distinguish father from son or uncle from nephew. My guess is that just as princes and royalty had to distinguish themselves from relatives, commoners had to do the same.

      Think of it this way: Say Bob lives by the bridge and another Bob moves into the farm down the road. Until the new guy came, Bob was just Bob and everybody knew who Bob was. Once the new Bob came into town, people had to explain which was which in conversation. They might have called one Bob Bridge and Bob Farmer. Now if Bob Bridge has a son who grows up and lives by the bridge with his father and begins to work/live in the village, there would be two Bob Bridges. That is just as confusing as when Bob Farmer came to town, so somehow, the suffix system was created so the younger Bob Bridge became Bob Jr. That is a silly example but you can see how even those far removed from Royalty could wind up with confusing names.

      In the case of princes becoming kings, a king’s death would have been widely known and if the new king took the same name, there would have been little confusion. The numeral after a monarch is generally used by everyone but the monarch since the monarch doesn’t need to understand who they are.
      The current English queen, Elizabeth is know as Queen Elizabeth II, but she signs her name just Elizabeth R.
      (R being for the latin word for queen).

  11. I have a question my husband has a son from previous relationship with the same name as him so his 1st son is a Jr. But now we are married and having a boy and wants him to have the same exact name. Would he be a II or III???? I’m so confused

    • April,
      Congratulations on your new baby!!

      The Jr suffix represents a generational change. It is the equivalent of saying “son of”, which wouldn’t make sense between brothers. The numerical suffixes are the same idea but can skip back and forth between children of brothers, so there is less of a direct connection.
      Your new husband could name both sons the same thing, adding III to your baby, but I am sure it will eventually lead to confusion.

      On the other hand, if you were to name the baby with the same first name but change up the middle name, perhaps keeping the same initial, it might be very, very cool. For example, William Jefferson Clinton and William Johnson Clinton.

      Either way, it will be confusing for their teachers, the DMV and probably risking chaos with the IRS, but if you are willing to take that on, why not? It might be fun for them as brothers to share something like that.

      Ultimately, the best name is the one that makes you both happy. Two sons with an identical name, even with one with the suffix Jr and the second having III, (III follows Jr) is very untraditional. Personally, I wouldn’t do it just because I wouldn’t want to risk the bureaucratic nightmare that might come of it, especially since they will have birth certificates with the same father. I worry that despite having different mothers, it might be seen by some government bureaucrat as fraud.
      My choice would be either entirely different names or slightly altered middle names.

      I wish great happiness for you and your family.

  12. I want to name my son after me, but I don’t want to use Jr I want to use II is that ok?

    • Tristan,
      Yes. It is okay. It isn’t traditional, but it is okay.
      If the traditional use doesn’t matter to you, then use II.
      Whatever you choose, I hope you have a happy, healthy child. Congratulations!

  13. Ok now people, this matter of suffix using is becoming a bit much don’t you think, I mean come on already..

    Ok my grandfather is infact a Sr, my father is a Jr, my older brother is the III, and my oldest son is the IV, there is no exact term for using the suffix the way some people us it… It’s their name that they infact were born with….

    • Jesseka,
      If your grandfather was named at birth with a Sr, then you are correct. That is his name. However, if he was not born with it, then I am afraid from a tradition point of view, he is not an Sr.

      Sr is an archaic suffix that is the equivalent of “dowager” and should not ever be used by men…..if you care about tradition. If you don’t care, then it doesn’t matter. This article and the series of questions and answers are about the traditional use.

      When a man is born he is given a name and there is no guarantee that he will grow up to father children, let alone father boys or even if he did, that he and the mother would choose to use the same name. He is the original article and doesn’t need a suffix at all because there is no need to distinguish him from anybody. Any subsequent sons, grandsons, etc…who have the same name have to distinguish themselves from the man who preceded them and so they have a suffix.
      Sometimes the is easier to explain using kings and queens. Queen Victoria was just Queen Victoria, without a suffix because she was the first queen named Victoria. They could have called her Queen Victoria II or III or even IV, but why would they? She was the first and so no explanatory suffix was needed. The current queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, uses the II suffix because there was a previous Queen Elizabeth. The suffix is necessary to distinguish her from her ancestor.
      A man who is the first in his family with a name does not need a suffix. Everyone afterwards does.
      However, as the original or previous holders of the name die, the closest to the original can drop their suffix in casual conversation or situations. In other words, if your grandfather were to die, your father, (Jr), could drop the Jr when introducing himself, or something like that, because the presumption is that everyone would know your grandfather had died so the Jr would not be necessary. The idea is that whoever it was your father was talking to would be smart enough to know that the person they had just met wasn’t a dead person, so it must be the son, not the dead father. Your father, who has Jr as part of his legal name would still have to use it on his drivers license or passport, but for unofficial things, he wouldn’t need to use the Jr. Your brother though, he still needs to use the III, though because we need to distinguish him from your father and he already has the III on his name.
      (Just as a quick aside, nicknames serve much the same function as suffixes.)
      Here is the archaic part: In ye olden days, women were known by their husband’s name. Out in public, they would be addressed as Mrs. Husband’s Name. If a man died before his wife, she would still use his name. The son, would have the option of dropping the suffix and if the son did, the son’s wife would as well. Now you have two women, the wife of the original and the wife of Jr, both using the same Mrs name. How do you tell which was which???
      The wife of the original takes on Sr, both to distinguish her from her daughter in law and as a mark of respect for being the elder matriarch.
      Again, as Ive said before, all of this presumes fathers and sons (grandsons, etc) live or work in the same area with the same people. I am a Jr and my father and I live 1000 miles apart. While I use the Jr on my passport and license since it is part of my legal name, I can’t think of the last time I used the Jr, or even my middle initial, when introducing myself. There is no need since very few people know us both.
      I hope this helps. As for this becoming a bit much, well, that really depends on how closely you want to follow tradition.

  14. my son’s grandfather is a SR. this is what he uses as the suffix for his name. His son, my son’s father, has the same first middle and last name, so he is a JR. we are about to have another son and he wants this boy to have the same name as him and his father. would he be a 2nd or a 3rd?

    • Marisol,
      If a Jr has a son with an identical name, then the son would be a 3rd or III.
      Three asides:
      1. If someone else in the immediate family had chosen to use the name first, typically a nephew, they would have been III (or 3rd) and your new son would be a IV (or 4th).
      2. The II suffix is used for the second person in the family with the name but who is NOT the son of the person who originally had the name, typically a nephew.
      Which brings me to……
      3. Was this grandfather born with the SR or has he just started using it to distinguish himself from his son with the identical name, the JR? If he wasn’t born with it, he doesn’t need it. He is the original and not having a suffix is as much a distinguishing factor as having one. SR is reserved for widows and is unnecessary for men, despite being misused daily by obituary writers.
      Congratulations on your new son. Sharing a family name is an honor.

  15. Hi, My brother wants to name his second child which is a girl to our grandma. Our grandma’s name was Annie Marie. She died years before my little niece was born. Is it ok to name my niece Annie Marie II??

    • Nelson,
      The short answer is yes, if his new daughter and your grandmother have the same name including surname. As I’ve stated here many times, this is about what is traditional, not necessarily about what is “right”.

      If your grandmother is your grandmother via your mother, she would have had a different surname after marrying than the newborn will have. Her surname will be your mother’s maiden name. In this case, it wouldn’t make sense to use the II, since your grandmother and the newborn will have different surnames.

      Traditionally, women weren’t given suffixes when they were born. While it might seem strange to our modern ears, in the days when these came into use, women weren’t important enough because they very rarely worked independently outside the home. Their names were a reflection of who their father was or who they married.
      (Note: in previous posts I’ve discussed Sr, a suffix given to widows only that should never, ever, be used by men. This is extremely rare.)

      It would be very untraditional for your brother to give his daughter a suffix and there may be computer forms, maybe even government paperwork, that she may need to fill out that has no place for her to put her suffix, simply because nobody expects a woman to have a suffix. If she marries one day and takes her husband’s name, then she will have to drop the suffix because she no longer has the same name. If she does not take her husband’s name or she never marries, then the suffix can stay with her.

      That said, I personally think it is wonderful that your brother wants to honor your grandmother this way. He or she may have paperwork issues in the future but if he is willing to accept that, then there is no reason not to use II.

  16. Question i am a jr and people have my name as the 2nd legally mine name is jr not the 2nd right

    • Brian Jr,
      Your legal name is whatever is on your birth certificate. If you are a Jr, then you are a Jr, not a 2nd.
      Jr and 2nd (or II) are not the same thing. Jr is the suffix given to the son of the original. II or 2nd is given to the second person to have the name that is NOT the son of the original.

      For example: Two brothers Brian and Robert. If Brian has a son, he calls the child Brian Jr.
      If Robert has a son BEFORE Brian does, he can name his son Brian II (or 2nd). If that happens and Brian then has a son, he can still name his son Brian Jr.
      Now, imagine that happens. The next child born named Brian will be Brian III (or 3rd). Brian III could be the son of either Brian II or Brian Jr.

      If Brian has his son first, Brian Jr, and then Robert has a son AFTER, then Robert’s son would be Brian III. In that case, when Brian Jr became a dad, his son would be Brian IV!


  17. Hilario,
    I’m sorry it won’t allow me to append an answer directly to your question.
    Your son will be Hilario Hernandez III.
    (You can also use ‘3rd’ or ‘3’)

  18. Andrew,
    I have to hand it to you, you are a very patient man. I have enjoyed this thread and have learned a few things at the same time. Now for my question. When a woman marries and she takes her husbands name, does her birth certificate also change making her new name her legal name?
    Thank you,

    • Mike,
      Thank you. You are kind to say so.
      When a woman marries and takes her her husband’s name, she changes her name legally but her birth certificate stays the same. It is a record of the birth of a child and since her birth didn’t change, it isn’t altered when she marries.
      Banks, the DMV, insurance companies and the like, will ask for a marriage certificate and so will the Passport office if she applies for a passport, but that’s all she will need. The marriage certificate is considered enough documentation to get a name changed on a license and passport. (Obviously, there are other documents required for the initial request for a license and passport, but for just the name change part, that is all that is needed.)

  19. Dear Rick Richards,
    First, I’m sorry the system wont allow me to append an answer directly to your question.

    Yes! This is exactly the right progression. Original, Jr, III, IV..etc

    The II suffix is rare. It is used only for the child who is the second to have a name, but not a direct descendant of the original. Typically, a nephew.
    If your great-grandfather (The original) had a brother who had a son before your grandfather was born, that child might have been II. Then, when your grandfather was born, he would still be Jr, because it indicates the immediate descendant (son) of the original. In that example, your grandfather (Rick, Jr) would have shared a name with his first cousin (Rick, II).

    Now comes the fun part. When Rick Jr and Rick II grew up and became fathers, the first one to use the name would be the III, regardless of who was the father. In other words, if Rick II had a son first, that child would be Rick III and then when Rick Jr fathered a son, that child would be Rick IV! Then, as those two men became fathers, the first born son would be IV, and so on.

    That back and forth use of the name can happen later too. Lets say you have a brother..lets call him Doug. If Doug has a son before you do, that child will be Rick V. Your son, born later, will be Rick VI.

    I hope this helps. My best to all for a great 2018.

  20. I appreciate your knowledge and your willingness to share it with us. Thank you very much!

  21. Well, regardless of the rules, I named my son the II and it is recorded on his birth certificate. I did not want my son to be called ‘Junior’ EVER in his lifetime. Here in Oklahoma, that makes the person appear to be a ‘hick’, of low intelligence, and somewhat less of a person.

    • James,
      This thread is about the traditional rules and if you don’t like Jr, then don’t use it. There is no name police.
      I’ve never heard of Jr being thought of that way, although I am a Jr and I don’t think I’d want to be called “Junior” as a nickname either.
      I wouldn’t want Andy or Drew either, but I am proud to be carrying my father’s name, just as I’m sure your son will be too.
      My son is an III, and I think he would flatten anyone who tried to call him “Trip”.
      My best to you both.

    • To Rick Richards,
      I’m sorry. For some reason, the system wont allow me to respond directly to your question in the proper place within the thread.

      Yes, your family is following the traditional rules perfectly.
      My best to all.

  22. My husband and his dad have the same name, in fact my husband is William III. Until we ran across issues on his credit report when buying our first home years ago he just used “Bill”on everything he signed as did his dad. Since they had lived at the same address for a time- their credit reports got merged.
    Even grandpa (William I if you will) who was alive when he was in college whose mail and bills went to that address.
    His parents had some financial issues and it impacted his credit- since he didn’t use William J III when signing his name.

    Ever since then on all legal documents or any time he signs his name at all he uses his full name including middle initial and the the III suffix to distinguish himself from his father.

    • Kristine,
      This is exactly why suffixes matter even today. The mess of untangling things like credit reports and official documents isn’t worth the convenience of skipping the initial and suffix.Your husband is smart to use both. I had the same problem when my father and I lived in the same town with wives with similar names and we weren’t even using the same address! We would have to meet just to exchange mail. Come to think of it, we now live 1500 miles apart and people still confuse us.
      I’m glad to hear your husband sorted out his problems. Best wishes to all.

  23. If there’s a situation where there is a Sr & Jr and then another descendant is named after the Sr (not a child of Jr) would they be II or III?

    For example: The Kennedy’s. Joseph P Kennedy is the patriarch. His son was Joseph P Kennedy Jr. he then had a grandson who is named Jospeh P Kennedy II. However, this grandson is not the son of Jr, he is the son of Robert Kennedy. Have the suffixes been messed up or were they assigned correctly?

    • David,
      If there is already a Jr, then the next person with the identical name would be III, regardless of whether the child was a child of Jr or a brother.
      In the case of the Kennedys, Robert should have used III for JPK, II if he was trying to follow the traditional rules. However, given that JPK, II was born after Jr died and there was little chance of confusion regarding who his father was, it didn’t make any difference, but somebody had to die young and childless for this not to be the case.

  24. Hi Andrew,

    My wife’s name is Elizabeth and if we have a daughter, we are considering naming her Elizabeth as well. Would it be following the traditional guidelines if she be called Elizabeth II? Do you see any problems with it? We both love the name Elizabeth, and it would obviously be a bonus to have that ring to it considering the Queen!


  25. Hi Andrew, I know this is an old post of yours and you have lots of replies from people, and to be honest some I just didnt read, so pardon me. But I just want to know if this is right:

    My husband wants to name our son ‘Cirilo’ after my husbands grandfather. My husband’s grandfather is a Sr. but now dead, and my husband’s uncle is the Jr, also now dead. Can we still name our son with the suffix “iii” or 3rd? Is it right? or not allowed? And will it have legal issues later? Thank you very very much for your patience with replying posts in here. We appreciate it.

    • Abie,
      I don’t blame you. This thread has grown enormously.
      First, don’t worry about legal issues. You can name your son anything you want, even a name identical to another. Nobody has a “lock” on a name.
      Following tradition, you would be correct to name your son using III. (or 3rd).

      Suffixes were created to reduce the confusion between people that are alive, not dead. Your husband’s grandfather and uncle are both dead and not likely to be confused with your new child. You could just as easily leave off any suffix.

      However, if you want to show a connection between the men and emphasize family, III is correct.

      Also, I apologize for not answering sooner. I just received notification of your question late last night.

      Congratulations on your new son!


  26. If my father in law name is Miguel Angel and my husbands name is Miguel Angel too, would my son be Miguel Angel Jr or Miguel Angel II. My son will be taking after my husband’s name not his grandfathers name.

    • Romi,
      Traditionally, your husband would have been Jr and your son would have been III (or 3rd). Since your husband’s family didn’t follow tradition, there is no precedent for you to follow so you could use either.

      If you want to stay as close as possible to the traditional, I think you should use Jr for your son and then III for your grandson and so on. That also makes the most sense for the suffixes as well since Jr is only for father and son and II is typically reserved for a nephew and uncle.

      Congratulations on your growing family.

    • Romi,
      I’m sorry if I appear to have answered this twice. The delay before my previous answer has posted has been so long, I worry it didn’t actually make through to the system.

      This thread is about traditional use of suffixes and your husband’s family merely chose not to use a suffix. They did nothing wrong. Had they followed tradition your husband would have been a Jr and your son a III (3rd).

      If you want to start using a suffix, I think you might as well start as if your husband was the original and give your son the Jr suffix.

      In any case, if you choose to use the Jr, your son should have your husband’s middle name as well. The names have to be identical for the suffixes to make sense. If your husband does not have a middle name then your son shouldn’t either……if you are going to use the Jr.

      Either way, congratulations on your son and my best wishes to your family.

  27. Hello Sir,
    My wife and I are expecting our first child soon and would like to honor my father by naming our son after him. My fathers name is Saverio Mezzina- So our son would be Saverio Mezzina II since he will be named after the grandfather correct?
    Thank You in advanced

    • Dom,
      You are correct. Your son will be the second in the family to have the name, but not as the son of the original, so he would be II.
      If they have different middle names or one doesn’t have a middle name, then the names aren’t identical, so a suffix isn’t required.

      My best wishes to you and your wife on the new baby!

  28. Andrew,

    My sons name is J.J. (Justin Jr.) lets say he names his son Justin III, then by some reason my brother decides to have his first son after my grandson and wanted to name his after me (and his nephews) would he be right to name him Justin II?



    • Justin,
      No. Once you have a III, then the numbers go up in numerical order, regardless of who the father is. This isn’t all that uncommon.

      If your brother has a son before J.J. does, then that child will be III and when J.J. becomes a father, his son will be IV. Again, not unusual.

      The suffixes merely show birth order without regard to who the father is. Jr and II are the exception and are very specific.
      Jr is for the son of the original…like J.J..
      II is used only when a child is born to another close family member and before the original had an opportunity to have a Jr. In other words, if your brother had a son before you had J.J., that boy would have been II. Then when you became a father, your son would still be Jr. At that point it would be a race between Jr and II to see who could have a son first to claim III.

      My best wishes to all.

  29. I see a lot of rules for suffixes for English families but what happens when the son and father have the same first name but the son’s name is written in English on the birth certificate because he was born in the United States and the father’s name is written in Italian on his birth certificate because he was born in Italy. For Example. Vincenzo in Italian is Vincent in English. Am I still a junior or second or third, etc, since they are the same name written in different languages.

    • Vincent,
      Great question. While the names are the same name from different languages, they are both spelled and pronounced differently. Because of that, there would be no need to distinguish one from the other. They are, for practical purposes, different names.
      Although suffixes were created to differentiate between people, at the same time they show a link between fathers, sons and grandchildren. Today, that is more important. You could use a suffix for Vincent, child of Vincenzo, as a way of showing the connection. There is no reason not to and if I were you, I most certainly would.
      Remember though, for it to make sense, the names, other than translation would have to be identical, including middle names.
      Vincenzo Paolo (Surname) could be father to Vincent Paul (Surname) but not to Vincent George (Surname).

  30. Hi Andrew! We are expecting and I want to name my son his father’s name. My husband is Melchor Pablo Castro, we want to name our son as Melchor B. Castro. (can we just use initial instead of the full middle name in the official record?) Since the middle name/initial is different, is it acceptable to not use a suffix at all? If a suffix is necessary, we really want the “II” instead of Jr., would that cause problem? Thank you!

    • Mel,
      Yes, you can use only an initial instead of a full middle name. It isn’t traditional, but there is nothing wrong with that.
      However, I can see one problem. Some people may not believe your son (or you) when he says that he doesn’t have a middle name, just the initial. Getting official documents like a passport and a federally compliant license may be difficult. People might assume either there was a mistake or that you were lying and pester you endlessly for his “real” middle name.
      I encourage you to name your son they way you want, just be prepared for problems.
      Yes, since the names are not identical, no suffix is needed and in fact, using a suffix would be confusing. Melchor B. Castro is not the same as Melchor P. Castro. No suffix necessary.
      However, if their names were identical, Jr would be traditionally correct, not II. Jr represents a direct link between the first and the next, meaning father and son, where as II is used when there is no direct line, like between uncle and nephew or grandfather and grandson. In your case, since you have names that aren’t identical, it isn’t your problem.
      Congratulations on your new baby!

  31. Hey Andrew,

    What typically happens what a Jr.’s father passes away? Does it usually stay as Jr.?

    Also, is there ever an instance where Jr. would change to II? Aside from learning halfway through life that the father isn’t actually the father…


    • Scott,
      If the Jr is part of the man’s legal name, then it does not change when his father dies. Just the same as when the names are completely different. Your legal name is your legal name.
      However, When the father dies, the Jr can drop using the Jr in casual usage because presumably every one knows that the father is dead. There will be no confusion over which man was being spoken about.

      Here is an extreme example but it demonstrates the point: After JFK was killed, his son never had to use the Jr in conversation. “Hi, I’m John Kennedy” was enough because even though he was a Jr, nobody was going to confuse the two. JFKJr used his suffix on passports, licenses, etc, because it was his legal name but he could drop it anywhere else.(Granted, both were so famous that there wasn’t likely to be confusion anyway but it was the first father and son pair that came to mind.)

      This continues through the following suffixes as well. While Jr is alive, III should continue to use III, not just because it is the legal name, but because it will distinguish him from Jr, even if Jr has dropped using the Jr in casual situations.
      Then when Jr dies, III can stop using the III in casual conversation but IV must continue to use the IV for the same reason III had to continue to use III while Jr was alive. This keeps going in that pattern. The most senior living may drop the suffix in casual usage and everyone else uses their suffix they were given at birth.

      There is no traditional reason for a Jr to become II. However, just as a person can have their legal name changed of any number of reasons, if a Jr wants to be a II, there are no rules to stop them. I can see why if someone found out that their uncle was their biological father, they might consider such a change. I guess it would depend on how important it was for them to make sure that the world knew that the man they thought was their father really wasn’t.
      My best to you and your family.

  32. Long thread! Thanks for the clarification Andrew. I’m not pregnant and don’t plan to be for another 2 years but we already decided baby boy will have dad’s first name, middle initial (not name), and last name. Dad shares the same first name as his dad but completely different middle names and initials and followed tradition in staying away from Jr. I’m pushing against MIL’s clearly and politely communicated wishes and tradition to use III as a suffix. Hubby is considering legally adding II to his name if we do have a boy to distinguish both persons. One commentator gave an example that shows me the necessity of this. Can’t wait to see the fallout.

    BTW, I had my first daughter’s name decided when I was a teenager and hubby agreed before we married and had our first child to the name. We met a girl during our dating years who had a name we liked so we agreed on that easily. Our next daughter is named after the name we were going to give our second daughter because we forgot the name of the child we met. I had a name picked out for our boy and hubby agreed for a few years. He changed his mind and I agreed with the change. It’s nice to work out the emotional naming expectations long before the kid is born.

    Thanks again for keeping up with this thread all these years. It spoke to the me now, as I am now even though it was meant for an audience of the past.

    • Dear Jay Mi,
      Thank you for the kind thoughts.
      As I have said many times, you and your husband can name your child anything you want and use/not use any suffix you want.

      Tradition states though that unless the names are identical, there is no need for a suffix. In fact, adding a suffix, where it isn’t needed is even more confusing than not using one where it is needed, because it actively implies that the father isn’t the father but is instead a different member of the same family.

      Imagine this: John Quincy Adams has a son John Quinton Adams. People might be a bit confused at first but not for long because whomever they are talking to can ask easily “Do you mean John Quincy or John Quinton?”
      If John Quincy Adams decided to use a Jr (or a different suffix) for John Quinton Adams, people are going to assume that there is another man John Quinton Adams who is the actual father, even though John Quincy Again, the choice is yours but I would avoid using a suffix unless the names are identical. If they aren’t identical, the suffix is pointless and may just confuse things more.

      Perhaps have your MIL read this thread so she knows that using a suffix for names is not only not traditional, but awkward and confusing? Good luck and regardless of the name you choose, I wish you and all your families health and happiness.

  33. My boyfriend might have a son that’s named after him and carrying his whole name and Jr. But not sure about the son because the lady up and left the sates. Now I’m due very soon and he wants me to name my son after him so what will my son be, if I name him after his father the Jr or the lll, I’m not sure.

    • Kayla,
      This is a complicated problem. Traditionally, the answer would be to name the child using the III suffix because he is born after the Jr.
      However, since you aren’t even sure the first child exists it may be perfectly fine to go ahead and use Jr.
      My personal opinion, based on no rules and with no historical precedent to back it up, is that you should name the boy using Jr.
      Why? While suffixes were created to mitigate the confusion between family members with the same name, even if the first child has and uses Jr, it sounds to me like there may be little chance of them meeting. Even if the first son seeks out his father later in life, there may be little reason to confuse the two as a result of identical names and suffixes.
      Besides, the rules are a matter of tradition, not law, and you can name your child whatever you and your boyfriend decide.
      My best wishes to you and your boyfriend for a happy and healthy little Jr. Congratulations!

  34. Hey Andrew me and my wife are getting ready to have a baby boy and we are wondering. If My name is John Michael Jones we are wanting our son to be the second without identical middle names for ex. John Isaac Jones II Does this work or would it be against the name ruling ?

    • John,
      Unfortunately, it would be against the traditional naming rules. Suffixes were created to sort out the confusion between identical names. If your son has a different name, even if only different by middle name, then the suffix is unnecessary. The middle name does the work and sorts the confusion. This holds true even if the different middle names have the same first initial. John Michael Jones is not the same as John Mark Jones and so no suffix is used.

      Also, II is used when the child is named after someone, usually an Uncle or grandfather, that is not the father. Jr is used when the child is named identically to their father.

      Whatever you choose, my best to you and your family and congratulations!


  35. Hello,

    I’m hoping for some clarification. My Grandfater is JAS. His son, my uncle, was named JAS Jr. I was named JAS II, as I was not named after my father. I now have a son named JAS III, but he is actually the 4th John in our family. Is our naming convention correct?

  36. Hi Andrew,

    Great post and thanks for all your answers. I read them all but did not find anything on my specific situation.

    My wife and I are expecting a boy. We want to name our son after my father (Fred Jr.) and grandfather (Fred). My name is not Fred. Would it be traditionally correct to name him Fred III even though a generation has been skipped?

  37. I am a first time expecting mother and we want to name our soon-to-be born son after his father (who is still alive). So it would be “incorrect” if we used II even though we prefer it over Jr? Also, is there a period that comes after Jr? ex: John Smith Jr.

  38. Before loosing my father, he had set me down to correct a fact.

    Dad said “Cliff you have my name to the letter, but your mother not telling me, changed the II into JR on your Birth Certificate after receiving it”. Son, I’ve never heard of any Dunn in my family having Junior added after Dunn.

    To readers… I looked at my birth certificate and after mom died and there it was II with JR written over it. I now am going by both but I’m going to tell my grown kids what dad had told me. I use the II when it comes up, but legally I’m Junior, but the correction on my original Birth Certificate is easy to see with a maginfier.
    I should soon set my son down to tell him of what my father had set me down and told me of why I have Dunn JR instead of Dunn II on my Birth Certificate. Your loving Father, Albert Clifford Dunn II

  39. Andrew,
    Thank you for your input on this topic. I have had a personal interest in this since I was a child. My father is a Jr. and I am a III. My great grandfather (born in Wales) was a III, but when my grandfather was born in the states he was not given a suffix on his name, hence the count restarted. I wanted to name my possible future son the VII. My son was actually adopted and we did not change his first name.
    In my profession I run cross the use of Sn. often and have had to have this discussion frequently. Even practicing Attorneys put the incorrect Sr. on documents. I end up changing documents (delete the Sn.) that have to be notarized. Using Sn. in a casual way is fine and my help stop confusion in some situations, but please do not use it on legal paperwork.

  40. I have number ‘II’ at the end of my name on my birth certificate but I have the same first name as my Dad, could it be a error of naming at birth if I’m not given JR instead?
    Or could he actually not be my real Dad?
    (I also have a older family name in my first middle name, just to mention if it matters.)

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