History of Fingerprints


Fingerprints offer a dependable means of personal identification. While our other human characteristics change, our fingerprints do not.

This is just a brief piece of history on fingerprints that I thought was interesting. The first known use of fingerprints in the US was in 1882 by Gilbert Thompson of the US Geological Survey in New Mexico. He used his own fingerprint on a document to prevent forgery. In 1892 Sir Francis Glaton, a British anthropologist published his book “ fingerprints” his book included the first system to classify fingerprints. He identified the characteristics by which fingerprints can be identified. These are still used today and are referred to as Galton’s details. In 1901 fingerprints were introduced into the criminal identification in England and 1902 the first use of fingerprints in the US by NY civil service commission for testing. NY prison system began use in 1903 The US army began using fingerprints in 1905 and 2 years later followed the US Navy and the US Marine Corps.

All fingerprint ID were kept on cards and filed and were manually maintained. Now most are computerized records.


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