What's a Junior, when not a suffix?
January 22, 2008 7:12 AM   Subscribe

When John Smith, Jr. has to fill out a form that has separate boxes for first name, middle name, and surname - and no box for suffix - where does the "Jr" go?
posted by Xere to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
After the Smith. It clearly doesn't go after the middle, and after the first seems unlikely.
posted by oxford blue at 7:18 AM on January 22, 2008

I say leave it out. Like those extra screws when putting a kit together I'd just assume that it's not necessary for that application.
posted by frieze at 7:20 AM on January 22, 2008

Is the "Jr" on the birth certificate? I thought such suffixes were a convenience, not part of the person's formal name.
posted by mikel at 7:29 AM on January 22, 2008

It sounds like the "Jr" isn't a piece of information that is requested on this particular form.
posted by kidbritish at 7:31 AM on January 22, 2008

Actually, I would say you put it in the field for first, after the first name. When alphabetizing, you would alphabetize as:

Smith, John Jr.

So if you put the suffix in the last name field, you'd mess up attempts to alphabetize the names later. Putting it in the first name field allows the database owner to alphabetize the names properly.
posted by decathecting at 7:39 AM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Like Mikel said, that's not usually actually a part of the name.

He may also choose to use John Smith II, after all.
posted by rokusan at 7:40 AM on January 22, 2008

After the first name.
posted by grouse at 7:40 AM on January 22, 2008

Can you tell us a little more about what kind of document this is to which you are referring? For many things, the Jr. would be superfluous. However on other things, it would be imperative to have that designation if John Smith Sr. is still alive.
posted by dios at 7:41 AM on January 22, 2008

Yeah, I've always seen it done as part of the first name, and assumed that it was for the reason decathecting mentioned -- to maintain the consistency of alphabetization.

Thinking about it sort-of-logically, I would think that the "Junior" modifies "John," not "Smith." That is, it's a quasi-different first name (but identical last name), not a quasi-different last name (but identical first name).
posted by Doofus Magoo at 7:42 AM on January 22, 2008

You leave it out. Chances are, there are other fields -- date of birth, SSN -- that make the distinction between Smith Sr. and Jr. that the suffix conveys in shorthand.
posted by holgate at 7:42 AM on January 22, 2008

That's why I was asking what the document was. If it is a document containing information such as holgate references, then the necessary distinguishing features exist in the other questions and no need to for the Jr. designation.
posted by dios at 7:50 AM on January 22, 2008

Nthing "part of first name". My father and brother are Sr. and Jr. When filling out forms asking for father's name, I was always told to put it after his first name.
posted by Doohickie at 8:32 AM on January 22, 2008

First name. It's a pet peeve of mine when the Jr., or III modifiers are put after the last name. Sports shows/pages do it all the time when they just list last names, and include Cruz Jr. for Jose, or Love IV for Davis.
posted by rocket88 at 8:36 AM on January 22, 2008

My understanding is that traditionally "Jr." and "II" are not identical. "II" is used when the person with the identical name is not the son of the person who held the name first.
posted by Jahaza at 10:05 AM on January 22, 2008

Not to further derail, but you're right, Jahaza. For example, my husband is named for his grandfather, Husband H. Darling, so he is Husband H. Darling II. His father is Husband V. Darling. However, we get tons of mail addressed to Husband H. Darling Jr.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:21 AM on January 22, 2008

Jahaza and Sweetie Darling, if you are correct, then would I be Me Ta Filter II because my great grandfather was also named Me Ta Filter? Or is there a statute of limitations on being a numbered person?
posted by billtron at 10:38 AM on January 22, 2008

You lose the II or the Jr. when the I or the Sr. dies. (Unless one of you is famous, which is why kings keep their numbers and why Martin Luther King kept his Jr. -- to avoid confusion among the public and in history books.)
posted by decathecting at 11:24 AM on January 22, 2008

As a "Jr" myself, I strongly vote against putting after the first name. When I did that, I often ended up with forms and ID cards that listed "Jr" as my middle name. The all-out weirdest one was the bank that decided "J.R." must be my first name.

As a general rule for life, you should assume that any form you fill out is going to be read and used by idiots. Idiots won't know what to do with a "Jr" next to your first name. Put it with the surname, where it belongs. The worst that can happen is that you'll occasionally encounter a computer that doesn't accept last names with spaces in them, and then you'll just have to live without the "Jr."

(By the way, in the United States, "Jr" usually is part of your name -- they put it on birth certificates (in a box marked "suffix," actually). And you don't "lose" the "Jr" when "Sr" dies, because it's on your birth certificate. You just don't have to use it as much.)
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 11:43 AM on January 22, 2008

As a "Jr" myself, I strongly vote against putting after the first name. When I did that, I often ended up with forms and ID cards that listed "Jr" as my middle name. The all-out weirdest one was the bank that decided "J.R." must be my first name.

I sympathize, and I agree with faster's answer. However, as pointed out above, if the Jr. is after the surname, then computers will alphabetize Smith, Jr., Zachary before Smith, Robert.

There's no good answer where computers are involved and the database owner doesn't give a shit. I consider my middle initial to be an integral part of my name so I put it in the first-name field with either a blank or an underscore linking it to the first name. The result, from companies who don't care about how inappropriate and stupid they sound, is often: "Dear Robert_P.,"

I assume the OP likewise considers the Jr. to be important, since he brought it up, so suggestions that he not use it probably aren't too useful.

So my vote is to put the Jr. after the last name, where it is put in the real world, and if there's any confusion it's the database's fault, not the customer's.
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:01 PM on January 22, 2008

I'm not sure what document is being used, will ask my cousin (who is at the center of aforementioned dilemma).
posted by Xere at 3:07 PM on January 22, 2008

It turns out that it's passport, visa, university applications. Some forms conveniently have "Suffix", some don't.

Sr. is still alive, and just slashing off Jr. would cause a minor mail mix-up.

So far, it looks like he'll be going for John Jr Smith, with "John Jr" as a first name.
posted by Xere at 5:17 PM on January 22, 2008

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