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    #1

    Esq.

    My Grandfather received a letter from the General Register Office, Registration Division, Titchfield, Fareham, Hants February 1967 in response to a letter he had sent them and in the ending they had addressed him as A. Riggs, Esq.,. My question is why did they address his name with Esquire and what does it mean. He also served in the second world war as Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps so I would like to know why they put Esq to his name and what does it mean.

    Thank you,
    His granddaughter

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Esq.

    'A Riggs, Esq.' (for 'Esquire') used to be the correct way to address letters to gentlemen. By the time it disappeared from common use, over thirty years ago, it was used for men of all social classes.

    Incidentally, if his wife's name was, for example 'Mary', it would have been correct in those days to write 'Mrs A. Riggs', not 'Mrs M. Riggs'.

  2. nyota's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Esq.

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Incidentally, if his wife's name was, for example 'Mary', it would have been correct in those days to write 'Mrs A. Riggs', not 'Mrs M. Riggs'.
    How interesting! About ten years ago my friend became friends with this English lady who must've been in her 50s at the time. They wanted to stay in touch, and so decided they'd be exchanging letters from time to time. The address the friend got upon leaving England was exactly in that form, Mrs. John Smith. She didn't notice it immediately, and was later on a bit puzzled about it.

    Come to think of it, the 'traditional' way was rather awful. ;)
    Last edited by nyota; 26-Feb-2011 at 12:42.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Esq.

    Royalty still keep this up. When Ms Middleton marries into the royal roadshow, she will beome, officially, 'Her Royal Highness Pricess William of Wales'.

    Princess Di was never officially 'Princess Diana'. Her full title, when she was married to Charles, was 'Her Royal Highness The Princess Charles Philip Arthur George, Princess of Wales( & Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, Princess of Scotland)'.

  4. nyota's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Esq.

    I'm not surprised, roaylty is into keeping up the old etiquette and appearances in general, and I believe it's out of touch these days. Anyway, what I'm getting at is that it's interesting how different languages found their own ways to express the same notions, like the men-oriented social hierarchy system that prevailed in the past in many coutries.

    Just to give another example, in Polish suffixes added to the man's surname pointed to the family structure. And so, the wife of Budrewicz would become Budrewiczowa (-owa) and the daughter - Budrewiczˇwna (-ˇwna). You wouldn't hear it very often anymore.

    Sticking with names, In Iceland they have yet another system, in which somebody's surname points directly to the father's first name. This way the surname of the daughter of Gu­mundur Gunnarsson would be Gu­mundsdˇttir. ;)

    Anyhow, I don't think it's the right forum to dwell on that, so I'll stop here.

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Esq.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyota View Post
    Anyhow, I don't think it's the right forum to dwell on that, so I'll stop here.
    You are right, but it's interesting.

    How about starting a new thread entitled something like, "hierarchical language"? You could start with your examples of Polish names, and ask about vestiges of male dominance in modern English.

  6. nyota's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Esq.

    I will, thanks.

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