Open Thread

by epi on April 23, 2013

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Pauline April 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Please tell me correct / proper line….

George, Sr. has son, George, Jr.
John, who is George Sr.’s, son as well, has a son
and names him George. Would that then be George, III?
Or is it George, II since it is not in a direct line, father to son to son.
Hope I am making myself clear!!

Thank you for your help!!


Winifred Rosenburg April 23, 2013 at 8:25 pm

It would be George III (assuming all the Georges as still living).


Alicia April 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I disagree with Winifred as not the son of George Jr but of John he would be George with no numbers after it.


Winifred Rosenburg April 23, 2013 at 9:05 pm

“however, the relative may also be an uncle, cousin, brother, or grandfather.”


Alicia April 24, 2013 at 10:50 am

It would be very very odd in my mind to name a child with a 3rd if his father was not a 2nd. Now people do things that I think are odd and strange. However it would also cause issues and confusions.
For example in my family there is a common name that repeats and has for four generations not george but I will use it as example abbreviated G. George (G), George JR (G2), George 3rd (G3) George 4th (G4)
G had 7 kids only the oldest boy was G2. Of those 7 kids 5 named sons George. Only G2′s kid is G3 others are George no numbers with their appropriate middle names and last names often refered to as nicknames. G2′s generation they had a bunch of kids several are G2′s themself and a few are just Georges as kids born not to a George. Of G3 has a son G4 who is way too young to have kids. If you got to the point of George being grandfather uncle great grandfather instead of being at George 4 my family would be at George 24 in four generations. Then you would be say George 22 son of George 17 grandson of George 2 and great grandson of George 1.


Winifred Rosenburg April 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I hate to break it to you, but etiquette doesn’t always make sense. The rules exist nonetheless.

Joanna April 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Agreed. If your father wasn’t the same name, then you can’t have a number or Jr.

Basically, it has to be a direct lineage in order to continue with a suffix. Otherwise, you start your own line.


scdeb April 23, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I’m married to the guy who is the IV. It is in naming the son the exact name as the father, grandfather, great grandfather that brings you to having George, IV. My son was given a different middle name to avoid becoming the V. So Alicia is correct. A cousin in our family named a child after the grandfather but there is no numeral after the name.


Winifred Rosenburg April 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Please read the link I posted.


Joanna April 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Winifred, I did read your link, but I have never heard of anyone being a Jr. or II based on their uncle or cousin having the same name. While Wikipedia is certainly an informative site on many subjects, I would hardly take it as an official source.


Winifred Rosenburg April 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Do you have a source supporting your view?


Joanna April 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Not offhand – which is why I said “I never heard of anyone.” Every Jr. I’ve ever met in my life was named after the father, not another relative. I could Google it, but I’m at work and not able to get into anything extensive at the moment.

Do you have a more official source than Wiki?

Winifred Rosenburg April 25, 2013 at 2:45 pm
Katie K April 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I agree with Winifred.

I’m from the south. It’s not unusual here to name a boy after his uncle or grand-uncle, and for the younger man to be First Middle LastName II (not Jr). It is sometimes done in honor of a man who died in war, leaving no male heir.


Joanna April 25, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Perhaps it’s a regional thing then? I live in New England.


Rebecca April 24, 2013 at 10:49 am

Does the person performing the ceremony have to be invited to the reception? He is a casual friend we are only having 16 very close friends for the reception at a restaurant.


Elizabeth April 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I think it depends on how you and the officiant sees your relationship. Are you paying this person to officiate? (Clergymen/Rabbis are almost always paid.) If so, then no invitation to the reception is necessary. However, if this person is doing you a favor as a friend, then it would seem odd not to invite him to the reception.


Alicia April 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm

There is no rule. Yes people can politely name their children whatever they want including at times II or III or IV without being the son of the previous number. It is less common however. It is not rude or against ettiquette to do it either way but the most conventional way is 3 is son of 2 who is son of 1. Sure go ahead and name with numbers otherwise but that is less conventional and less common but perfectly fine etiquette.
Oh and etiquette does make a ton of sense logically. It is all about causing the least amount of hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and to smooth social interactions.


Joanna April 24, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Of course people can, theoretically, name their children whatever they want. But why on earth would someone name their child II or III if they weren’t following I? That makes absolutely no sense at all.


Cyra April 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm

For monarchs, the numbers are used to keep everyone straight. So the current Queen of England is Queen Elizabeth II even though Queen Elizabeth I reigned hundreds of years ago.

In a non-monarchical family (which I assume the family Pauline is referencing is), that last son would technically be George III since he is the third George of that family (provided they all have the same middle and last name as well AND are all still living–which is different from monarch rules). This would continue to be true, I believe, with nephews if they all have the same last name as well. For example, my FIL’s name is James, but my husband’s is not. If we have a son and name him James he would be James II. If my brother-in-law then has a son and also names him James, he would be James III because he’s the third person in the family to have that name. Direct descent only matters with Sr. and Jr.

Awkward, yes. And definitely not commonly done. But “technically” correct.

And then when #1 dies there is some controversy over whether everyone “moves up” a number or not. Miss Manners says yes, others (myself included) disagree.

Sorry I don’t have any specific reference to cite–this is just my compilation of everything I’ve read!


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