Q: When there are same names for dads and sons, Sr. Jr., or I, II, III, IV etc. what are the rules on how they are used? When one dies, do you change the other names or does everyone keep their respective title? Is the suffix written on their birth certificate?
A: In some families, names are carried on through three or more generations – John (Sr.) is succeeded by John, Jr., and Johns III, IV, and V. But this presents something of a problem once John, Sr. has died. Does each man retain the title by which he has always been known, or does everyone “move up”? The only “rule” in this regard is to use common sense. Moving up the suffixes is bound to cause some confusion among acquaintances who used to know the new John, Jr. as John III. Then there are the changes that must be made on personal accounts and bank checks. Yes, the suffix may be placed on a birth certificate.