How should title and suffix appear when writing last name first?

It’s common in business to list persons in order of last-name-first.
Instead of “John W. Van Dyk”, write “Van Dyk, John W.”.

But what should be the convention when the name has a title or suffix.
How would “Dr. John W. Van Dyk III” be written?

There are other similar questions about how to deal with a suffix, but I can’t see any that deal with title. (Mr., Dr., Rev., etc)

English Language & Usage Asked on November 11, 2021

2 Answers

2 Answers

In the years since I've posted this question, I've tried different styles and finally came a conclusion.

Of course, the answer depends on your own needs, which may differ from mine.

In my case, it is important that reports be sorted so users can find the person they are looking for. Most of the time, the user looks first for surname, and then for given name. Titles and suffixes are the last thing they'll look at.

For example, we want

Jack Smith

to precede

John Smith III

And so I use:

Surname, Given Name, Title, Suffix

This answer is based on my own experience of responding to frustrated users, not on any reference material, but I thought it would still be useful for any future visitors.

Answered by user1008646 on November 11, 2021

Van Dyk III, John W., Dr.

The numerals are useful only to differentiate the different generations of Van Dyk's; they need to remain with the last name. Putting the title last is a British convention

Answered by Richard Haven on November 11, 2021

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