[APG Public List] Jr and Sr

Michael Hait michael.hait at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 8 10:36:42 MST 2011

I don’t think that are really any hard and fast rules.

For example, my father is Michael Grant Hait. He did not legally change his name to “Sr.” when I was born, though he sometimes does go by this (usually if there is any chance of confusion with me). On the other hand, my birth certificate *does* say Michael Grant Hait, Jr., so this is my legal name, and would not change unless I chose to legally do so.

Go back a few generations, and my great-great-grandfather (born in 1863, if anyone was curious as to where the middle name came from) was named Myron Grant Hait. His son was known as Myron Grant Hait, Jr. The elder Myron died in 1900. When my grandfather was born in 1927, he was also called Myron Grant Hait, Jr.

Go back a few more generations, and there was a Henry Hait. He was the son of Aaron, son of David, but was known in his hometown of Stamford, Connecticut, as Henry Hait (or Hoyt) 3rd. There were two older Henry Hoyts in town, one only a few years (less than 10) older. When he moved away from Stamford and its proliferation of Hoyts, Henry never again used a generational suffix.

In other words, sometimes they are related, sometimes they are not, sometimes they use Sr., sometimes Jr., sometimes which one they use changes, sometimes it doesn’t.

In general, historically, “Sr.” and “Jr.” were not usually parts of legal names. This changed at some point—my guess is some time during the 20th century.

Michael Hait
michael.hait at hotmail.com

From: JFonkert at aol.com 
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 12:23 PM
To: kathwarr at gmail.com ; apgpubliclist at apgen.org 
Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Jr and Sr

My understanding is that Jr and Sr are not even necessarily son and father.  If there were two men of the same name in a locale, one might be known as Sr. and one as Jr. based on their ages.  They might be cousins or something else.  Do others agree?

In a message dated 3/8/2011 11:21:11 A.M. Central Standard Time, kathwarr at gmail.com writes:
  I have a question regarding the abbreviations Jr. and Sr.  I always
  thought that if you had a Jr. then the person they were named after
  automatically becomes a Sr.  - for example - My father is James
  Michael Cogbill and my brother is James Michael Cogbill, Jr. - so
  doesn't that make my father a Sr.?  I was told no that it doesn't
  because on my father's birth certificate it doesn't say Sr.  Although
  in my thinking it wouldn't because you haven't had a kid yet to be
  named after you.

  Can someone please explain the rules of Jr. and Sr. to me?

  Thanks so much!

  Kathleen Cogbill Warr

Jay Fonkert, CG
Saint Paul, MN

Director, Association of Professional Genealogists
(professional profile at http://www.apgen.org)/
Member, Genealogical Speakers Guild
(professional profile at http://www.genealogicalspeakersguild.org/)
Member, International Society of Family History Writers and Editors 

CG (Certified Genealogist) is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified associates after periodic competency evaluations.
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