Alphonse Bertillon - was a French criminologist and anthropologist who
created the first system of physical measurements, photography, and
record-keeping that police could use to identify recidivist criminals.
Ancient Babylon - fingerprints were used in clay tablets for business
transactions. 1000 - 2000 BC
Anthropometry - the first system of personal identification.
Azizul Haque and Hem Chandra Bose(1897) - Two Indian fingerprint
experts credited with primary development of the Henry System of
fingerprint classification (named after their supervisor,
Edward Richard Henry).
Bertillon System - a system of identification which focuses on the
meticulous measurement and recording of different parts and components
of the human body.
Chiroscopy – It is the examination and thorough study fo the palms of
the human hand as a point indentifying persons.
Core - 1. Approximate center of the pattern
2. It is placed upon or within the innermost sufficient recurve.
Delta - 1. point on a ridge at or nearest to the point of divergence
of two typelines and
2. is located at or directly in front of the point of
Dr. Henry P. DeForrest - he accomplished the first fingerprint file
established in the United States, and the first use of fingerprinting
by a U.S. government agency.
Dr. Nehemiah Grew - in 1684, he was the first European to publish
friction ridge skin observations.
Edgeoscopy – the study of the morphological characteristics of
friction ridges; shape or contour of the edges of friction ridges.
Edmond Locard - informally referred to as the Sherlock Holmes of France,
he developed the science of poroscopy, the study of fingerprint pores
and the impressions produced by these pores. He went on to write that
if 12 specific points were identical between two fingerprints, it would
be sufficient for positive identification. This work led to the use of
fingerprints in identifying criminals being adopted over Bertillon's
earlier technique of anthropometry.
Fingerprint - is an impression of the friction ridge of all or any
part of the finger. Fingerprint ridges are formed during the third
to fourth month of fetal development.
Fingerprint Classification Systems
1. The Henry Classification System – developed by Henry in the
2. Icnofalangometric System – the originalname of the system
developed by Vucetichin 1891
3. Dactiloscopy – the new name of the systemdeveloped by Vucetich.
4. The Oloriz System of Classification – developed by Oloriz.
Identakey – developed in the 1930s by G. Tyler Mairs.
5. The American System of FingerprintClassification – developed
by Parke in1903.
6. The Conley System. The Flack-ConleySystem – developed in 1906
in New Jersey,an improved Conley System.
7. NCIC Fingerprint Classification System.
Collins System – a classification system forsingle
used in Scotland Yard inthe early 1900s.
8. Jorgensen System – a classification systemfor single
used in the early1900s.
9. Battley System – a classification system forsingle
fingerprints used in the 1930s
Gilbert Thompson - He used his thumb print on a document to prevent
forgery. First known use of fingerprints in the U.S.
John Evangelist Purkinje - anatomy professor at the University of
Breslau, in 1823, he published his thesis discussing nine fingerprint
patterns but he made no mention of the value of fingerprints for
Juan Vucetich - In 1892, two boys were brutally murdered in the
village of Necochea, near Buenos Aires, Argentina. Initially,
suspicion fell on a man named Velasquez, a suitor of the children's
mother, Francisca Rojas. Investigators found a bloody fingerprint at
the crime scene and contacted Juan Vucetich, who was developing a
system of fingerprint identification for police use. Vucetich compared
the fingerprints of Rojas and Velasquez with the bloody fingerprint.
Francisca Rojas had denied touching the bloody bodies, but the
fingerprint matched one of hers. Confronted with the evidence, she
confessed—the first successful use of fingerprint identification in a
Loop - 1. One or more ridges enter upon either side
3. Touch or pass an imaginary line between delta and core
4. Pass out or tend to pass out upon the same side the ridges
Three Loop Characteristics
1. A sufficient recurve
2. A Delta
3. A ridge count across a looping ridge
Marcelo Malpighi - in 1686, an anatomy professor at the University of
Bologna, noted fingerprint ridges, spirals and loops in his treatise.
A layer of skin was named after him; "Malpighi" layer, which is
approximately 1.8mm thick.
Mark Twain - author of the novel Pudd'nhead Wilson where one of the
characters has a hobby of collecting fingerprints.
Paul-Jean Coulier - of Val-de-Grâce in Paris, published his observations
that (latent) fingerprints can be developed on paper by iodine fuming,
explaining how to preserve (fix) such developed impressions and
mentioning the potential for identifying suspects' fingerprints by
use of a magnifying glass.
Poroscopy – refers to the examination of the shape,size and
arrangement of the small opening on friction ridge through which body
fluids are secreted or released.
Podoscopy – a term coined by Wilder and Wentwrth which refers to the
examination of the soles and their significance in personal identification.
Ridgeology – describes the individualization process of any area of
friction skin using allavailable detail.
1. Ridge Dots - An isolated ridge unit whose length approximates
its width in size.
2. Bifurcations - The point at which one friction ridge divides
into two friction ridges.
3. Trifurcations - The point at which one friction ridge divides
into three friction ridges.
4. Ending Ridge - A single friction ridge that terminates within
the friction ridge structure.
5. Ridge Crossing - A point where two ridge units intersect.
6. Enclosures (Lakes) - A single friction ridge that bifurcates and
rejoins after a short course and continues as a single friction
7. Short Ridges (Islands) - Friction ridges of varying lengths.
8. Spurs (Hooks) - A bifurcation with one short ridge branching off
a longer ridge.
9. Bridges - A connecting friction ridge between parallel running
ridges, generally right angles.
Sir Edward Richard Henry - he was appointed Inspector-General of Police
of Bengal, India in 1891, he developed a system of fingerprint
classification enabling fingerprint records to be organised and searched
with relative ease.
Sir Francis Galton - He devised a method of classifying fingerprints
that proved useful in forensic science. He pointed out that there were
specific types of fingerprint patterns. He described and classified
them into eight broad categories: 1: plain arch, 2: tented arch,
3: simple loop, 4: central pocket loop, 5: double loop,
6: lateral pocket loop, 7: plain whorl, and 8: accidental
Sir Henry Faulds - his first paper on the subject of fingerprint
was published in the scientific journal Nature in 1880. Examining his
own fingertips and those of friends, he became convinced that the
pattern of ridges was unique to each individual.
Sir William James Herschel - was a British officer in India who used
fingerprints for identification on contracts.
Time Line - Fingerprints
1000-2000 B.C. - Fingerprints were used on clay tablets for
business transactions in ancient Babylon.
3rd Century B.C. - Thumbprints begin to be used on clay seals
in China to “sign” documents.
610-907 A.D. - During the T’ang Dynasty, a time when imperial
China was one of the most powerful and wealthy regions of the
world, fingerprints are reportedly used on official documents.
1st Century A.D. - A petroglyph located on a cliff face in
Nova Scotia depicts a hand with exaggerated ridges and finger
whorls, presumably left by the Mi'kmaq people.
14th Century A.D. - Many official government documents in
Persia have fingerprint impressions. One government physician
makes the observation that no two fingerprints were an exact
1686 - At the University of Bologna in Italy, a professor
of anatomy named Marcello Malpighi notes the common
characteristics of spirals, loops and ridges in fingerprints,
using the newly invented microscope for his studies. In time,
a 1.88mm thick layer of skin, the “Malpighi layer,” was named
after him. Although Malpighi was likely the first to document
types of fingerprints, the value of fingerprints as
identification tools was never mentioned in his writings.
1823 - A thesis is published by Johannes Evengelista Purkinje,
professor of anatomy with the University of Breslau, Prussia.
The thesis details a full nine different fingerprint patterns.
Still, like Malpighi, no mention is made of fingerprints as
an individual identification method.
1858 - The Chief Magistrate of the Hooghly district in Jungipoor,
India, Sir William Herschel, first used fingerprints to “sign”
contracts with native Indians. In July of 1858, a local
businessman named Rajyadhar Konai put his hand print on the
back of a contract at Herschel’s request. Herschel was not
motivated by the need to prove personal identity; rather, his
motivation was to simply “frighten (Konai) out of all thought
of repudiating his signature.” As the locals felt more bound to
a contract through this personal contact than if it was just
signed, as did the ancient Babylonians and Chinese, Herschel
adopted the practice permanently. Later, only the prints of the
right index and middle fingers were required on contracts. In
time, after viewing a number of fingerprints, Herschel noticed
that no two prints were exactly alike, and he observed that
even in widespread use, the fingerprints could be used for
personal identification purposes.
1880 - Dr. Henry Faulds, a British surgeon and Superintendent
of Tsukiji Hospital in Tokyo, published an article in the
Scientific Journal, "Nautre" (nature). He discussed fingerprints
as a means of personal identification, and the use of printers
ink as a method for obtaining such fingerprints. Faulds had
begun his study of what he called “skin-furrows” during the
1870s after looking at fingerprints on pieces of old clay
pottery. He is also credited with the first fingerprint
identification: a greasy print left by a laboratory worker on
a bottle of alcohol. Soon, Faulds began to recognize that the
distinctive patterns on fingers held great promise as a means
of individual identification, and developed a classification
system for recording these inked impressions. Also in 1880,
Faulds sent a description of his fingerprint classification
system to Sir Charles Darwin. Darwin, aging and in poor health,
declined to assist Dr. Faulds in the further study of
fingerprints, but forwarded the information on to his cousin,
British scientist Sir Francis Galton.
1882 - Gilbert Thompson, employed by the U.S. Geological Survey
in New Mexico, uses his own fingerprints on a document to guard
against forgery. This event is the first known use of
fingerprints for identification in America.
1883 - “Life on the Mississippi,” a novel by Mark Twain, tells
the story of a murderer who is identified by the use of
fingerprints. His later book "Pudd'n Head Wilson” includes a
courtroom drama involving fingerprint identification.
1888 - Sir Francis Galton’s began his study of fingerprints
during the 1880s, primarily to develop a tool for determining
genetic history and hereditary traits. Through careful study of
the work of Faulds, which he learned of through his cousin Sir
Charles Darwin, as well as his examination of fingerprints
collected by Sir William Herschel, Galton became the first to
provide scientific evidence that no two fingerprints are
exactly the same, and that prints remain the same throughout
a person’s lifetime. He calculated that the odds of finding
two identical fingerprints were 1 in 64 billion.
1892 - Galton’s book “Fingerprints” is published, the first of
its kind. In the book, Galton detailed the first classification
system for fingerprints; he identified three types
(loop, whorl, and arch) of characteristics for fingerprints
(also known as minutia). These characteristics are to an extent
still in use today, often referred to as Galton’s Details.
1892 - Juan Vucetich, an Argentine police official, had recently
begun keeping the first fingerprint files based on Galton’s
Details. History was made that year when Vucetich made the
first criminal fingerprint identification. A woman named Rojas
had murdered her two sons, then cut her own throat to deflect
blame from herself. Rojas left a bloody print on a doorpost.
After investigators matched the crime scene print to that of
the accused, Rojas confessed. Vucetich eventually developed his
own system of classification, and published a book entitled
Dactiloscopía Comparada ("Comparative Fingerprinting") in 1904,
detailing the Vucetich system, still the most used system in
1896 - British official Sir Edward Richard Henry had been living
in Bengal, and was looking to use a system similar to that of
Herschel’s to eliminate problems within his jurisdiction. After
visiting Sir Francis Galton in England, Henry returned to Bengal
and instituted a fingerprinting program for all prisoners. By
July of 1896, Henry wrote in a report that the classification
limitations had not yet been addressed. A short time later,
Henry developed a system of his own, which included 1,024
primary classifications. Within a year, the Governor General
signed a resolution directing that fingerprinting was to be the
official method of identifying criminals in British India.
1901 - Back in England and Wales, the success of the “Henry
Fingerprint Classification System” in India was creating a stir,
and a committee was formed to review Scotland Yard's
identification methods. Henry was then transferred to England,
where he began training investigators to use the Henry
Classification System after founding Scotland Yard's Central
Fingerprint Bureau. Within a few years, the Henry Classification
System was in use around the world, and fingerprints had been
established as the uniform system of identification for the
future. The Henry Classification System is still in use today
in English speaking countries around the globe.
1902 - Alphonse Bertillon, director of the Bureau of
Identification of the Paris Police, is responsible for the first
criminal identification of a fingerprint without a known suspect.
A print taken from the scene of a homicide was compared against
the criminal fingerprints already on file, and a match was made,
marking another milestone in law enforcement technology.
Meanwhile, the New York Civil Service Commission, spearheaded
by Dr. Henry P. DeForrest, institutes testing of the first
systematic use of fingerprints in the United States.
1903 - Fingerprinting technology comes into widespread use in
the United States, as the New York Police Department, the New
York State Prison system and the Federal Bureau of Prisons begin
working with the new science.
1904 - The St. Louis Police Department and the Leavenworth State
Penitentiary in Kansas start utilizing fingerprinting, assisted
by a Sergeant from Scotland Yard who had been guarding the
British Display at the St. Louis Exposition.
1905 - The U.S. Army gets on the fingerprinting bandwagon, and
within three years was joined by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
In the ensuing 25 years, as more law enforcement agencies
joined in using fingerprints as personal identification methods,
these agencies began sending copies of the fingerprint cards
to the recently established National Bureau of Criminal
1911 - The first central storage location for fingerprints in
North America is established in Ottawa by Edward Foster of the
Dominion Police Force. The repository is maintained by the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police, and while it originally held only 2000
sets of fingerprints, today the number is over 2 million.
1924 - The U.S. Congress acts to establish the Identification
Division of the F.B.I. The National Bureau and Leavenworth are
consolidated to form the basis of the F.B.I. fingerprint repository.
By 1946, the F.B.I. had processed 100 million fingerprint cards;
that number doubles by 1971.
1990s - AFIS, or Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems,
begin widespread use around the country. This computerized system
of storing and cross-referencing criminal fingerprint records
would eventually become capable of searching millions of
fingerprint files in minutes, revolutionizing law enforcement
1996 - As Americans become more concerned with the growing missing
and abducted children problem, and law enforcement groups urge
the fingerprinting of children for investigative purposes in
the event of a child becoming missing, Chris Migliaro founds
Fingerprint America in Albany, NY. The company provides a simple,
at-home fingerprinting and identification kit for parents,
maintaining the family’s privacy while protecting and educating
children about the dangers of abduction. By 2001, the company
distributes over 5 million Child ID Fingerprinting Kits around
1999 - The FBI phases out the use of paper fingerprint cards with
their new Integrated AFIS (IAFIS) site at Clarksburg, West Virginia.
IAFIS will starts with individual computerized fingerprint records
for approximately 33 million criminals, while the outdated paper
cards for the civil files are kept at a facility in Fairmont,
Typelines - 1. Two innermost ridges that start or go parallel
2. Diverge and surround or tend to surround the pattern
Types of Fingerprints
1. Visible Prints
2. Latent Prints
3. Impressed Prints
Visible Prints - also called patent prints and are left in
some medium, like blood, that reveals them to the naked eye
when blood, dirt, ink or grease on the finger come into
contact with a smooth surface and leave a friction ridge
impression that is visible without development.
Latent Prints - not apparent to the naked eye. They are
formed from the sweat from sebaceous glands on the body or
water, salt, amino acids and oils contained in sweat.
They can be made sufficiently visible by dusting, fuming or
Impressed prints - also called plastic prints and are
indentations left in soft pliable surfaces, such as clay,
wax, paint or another surface that will take the impression.
They are visible and can be viewed or photographed without
Types of Patterns
1. Arch a. Plain Arch
b. Tented Arch
2. Loop a. Radial Loop
b. Ulnar Loop
3. Whorl a. Plain Whorl
b. Central Pocket Loop
c. Double Loop
d. Accidental Whorl
Plain Arch - 1. Ridges enter upon one side
2. Make a rise or wave in the center
3. Flow or tend to flow out upon the
Tented Arch - Possesses an 1. Angle
3. Two of The Three basic
characteristics of the loop
Ulnar loop - flow toward the little finger - ulna bone.
Radial Loop - flow toward the thumb - radius bone.
Plain Whorl - 1. Consists of one or more ridges which make
or tend to make a complete circuit
2. With 2 delta's
3. Between which, when an imaginary line is
drawn, at least one recurving ridge within
the inner pattern area is cut or touched.
Central Pocket Loop - 1. Consists of at least one recurving
2. An obstruction at right angles to
the line of flow
3. With 2 delta's
4. Between which, when an imaginary
line is drawn, no recurving ridge
within the inner pattern area is
cut or touched.
Double Loop - 1. Consists of two separate loop formations
2. With two separate and distinct set of
3. Two delta's
Accidental Whorl - 1. Consists of a combination of two
different types of patterns with the
exception of the plain arch
2. With 2 or more delta's or
3. A pattern which possesses some of the
requirements for 2 or more different
types or a pattern which conforms to
none of the definitions.