Classification and Uses
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
John Edgar Hoover, Director
This booklet concerning the study of fingerprints has been prepared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the use of interested law enforcement officers and agencies, particularly those which may be contemplating the inauguration of fingerprint identification files. It is based on many years' experience in fingerprint identification work out of which has developed the largest collection of classified fingerprints in the world. Inasmuch as this publication may serve as a general reference on classification and other phases of fingerprint identification work, the systems utilized in the Identification Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are set forth fully. The problem of pattern interpretation, in particular, is discussed in detail.
Criminal identification by means of fingerprints is one of the most potent factors in obtaining the apprehension of fugitives who might otherwise escape arrest and continue their criminal activities indefinitely. This type of identification also makes possible an accurate determination of the number of previous arrests and convictions which, of course, results in the imposition of more equitable sentences by the judiciary, inasmuch as the individual who repeatedly violates the law finds it impossible to pose successfully as a first, or minor, offender. In addition, this system of identification enables the prosecutor to present his case in the light of the offender's previous record. It also provides the probation officers, parole board, and the Governor with definite information upon which to base their judgment in dealing with criminals in their jurisdictions.
From earliest times fingerprinting, because of its peculiar adaptability to the field, has been associated in the lay mind with criminal identification to the detriment of the other useful phases of the science. However, the Civil File of the Identification Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation contains three times as many fingerprints as the Criminal File. These civil fingerprints are an invaluable aid in identifying amnesia victims, missing persons and unknown deceased. In the latter category the victims of major disasters may be quickly and positively identified if their fingerprints are on file, thus providing a humanitarian benefit not usually associated with fingerprint records.
The regular contributors who voluntarily submit fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation play a most important role in the drama of identification. Their action expands the size of the fingerprint files, thereby increasing the value of the files to all law enforcement agencies. Mutual cooperation and efficiency are resultant by-products.
The use of fingerprints for identification purposes is based upon distinctive ridge outlines which appear on the bulbs on the inside of the end joints of the fingers and thumbs. These ridges have definite contours and appear in several general pattern types, each with general and specific variations of the pattern, dependent on the shape and relationship of the ridges. The outlines of the ridges appear most clearly when inked impressions are taken upon paper, so that the ridges are black against a white background. This result is achieved by the ink adhering to the friction ridges. Impressions may be made with blood, dirt, grease or any other foreign matter present on the ridges, or the saline substance emitted by the glands through the ducts or pores which constitute their outlets. The background or medium may be paper, glass, porcelain, wood, cloth, wax, putty, silverware, or any smooth, nonporous material.
Of all the methods of identification, fingerprinting alone has proved to be both infallible and feasible. Its superiority over the older methods, such as branding, tattooing, distinctive clothing, photography, and body measurements (Bertillon system), has been demonstrated time after time. While many cases of mistaken identification have occurred through the use of these older systems, to date the fingerprints of no two individuals have been found to be identical.
The background and history of the science of fingerprints constitute an eloquent drama of human lives, of good and of evil. Nothing, I think, has played a part more exciting than that enacted by the fascinating loops, whorls, and arches etched on the fingers of a human being.
[Signature: J. Edgar Hoover]
J. EDGAR HOOVER, Director.
I. The Identification Division of the FBI 1
II. Types of Patterns and Their Interpretation 5
III. Questionable Patterns 71
IV. The Classification Formula and Extensions 87
V. Classification of Scarred Patterns—Amputation—Missing at Birth 98
VI. Filing Sequence 103
VII. Searching and Referencing 109
VIII. How To Take Inked Fingerprints 114
IX. Problems in the Taking of Inked Fingerprints 118
X. Problems and Practices in Fingerprinting the Dead 131
XI. Establishment of a Local Fingerprint Identification Bureau 160
XII. Latent Impressions 173
XIII. Powdering and Lifting Latent Impressions 175
XIV. Chemical Development of Latent Impressions 177
XV. The Use of the Fingerprint Camera 184
XVI. Preparation of Fingerprint Charts for Court Testimony 190
XVII. Unidentified Latent Fingerprint File 194
The Identification Division of the FBI
The FBI Identification Division was established in 1924 when the records of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Leavenworth Penitentiary Bureau were consolidated in Washington, D.C. The original collection of only 810,000 fingerprint cards has expanded into many millions. The establishment of the FBI Identification Division resulted from the fact that police officials of the Nation saw the need for a centralized pooling of all fingerprint cards and all arrest records.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation offers identification service free of charge for official use to all law enforcement agencies in this country and to foreign law enforcement agencies which cooperate in the International Exchange of Identification Data. Through this centralization of records it is now possible for an officer to have available a positive source of information relative to the past activities of an individual in his custody. It is the Bureau's present policy to give preferred attention to all arrest fingerprint cards since it is realized that speed is essential in this service.
In order that the FBI Identification Division can provide maximum service to all law enforcement agencies, it is essential that standard fingerprint cards and other forms furnished by the FBI be utilized. Fingerprints must be clear and distinct and complete name and descriptive data required on the form should be furnished in all instances. Fingerprints should be submitted promptly since delay might result in release of a fugitive prior to notification to the law enforcement agency seeking his apprehension.
When it is known to a law enforcement agency that a subject under arrest is an employee of the U.S. Government or a member of the Armed Forces, a notation should be placed in the space for "occupation" on the front of the fingerprint card. Data such as location of agency or military post of assignment may be added beside the space reserved for the photograph on the reverse side of the card.
Many instances have been observed where an individual is fingerprinted by more than one law enforcement agency for the same arrest. This duplicate submission of fingerprints can be eliminated by placing a notation on the first set of fingerprints sent to the FBI requesting copies of the record for other interested law enforcement agencies, thereby eliminating submission of fingerprints by the latter agencies.
If a photograph is available at the time fingerprints are submitted to the FBI Identification Division, it should be identified on the reverse side with the individual's complete name, name of the department submitting, the department's number, and it should be securely pasted in the space provided on the fingerprint card. If a photograph is to be submitted at a later date, it should be held until the identification record or "no record" reply from the FBI is received in order that FBI number or fingerprint classification can be added to the reverse side of the photograph for assistance of the Identification Division in relating it to the proper record.
The FBI number, if known, and any request for special handling, such as collect wire or telephone reply, should be indicated on the fingerprint card in the appropriate space. Such notations eliminate the need for an accompanying letter of instructions.
As indicated, the FBI's service is given without cost to regularly constituted law enforcement agencies and officers. Supplies of fingerprint cards and self-addressed, franked envelopes will be forwarded upon the request of any law enforcement officer. The following types of cards and forms are available: Criminal (Form FD-249), used for both arrest and institution records; Applicant (Form FD-258); Personal Identification (Form FD-353); Death Sheet (Form R-88); Disposition Sheet (Form R-84); Wanted Notice (Form 1-12); Record of Additional Arrest (Form 1-1). An order form for identification supplies appears each month with the insert to the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.
In addition to its criminal identification activities, the Bureau's Identification Division maintains several auxiliary services. Not the least of these is the system whereby fugitives are identified through the comparison of fingerprints which are received currently. When a law enforcement officer desires the apprehension of a fugitive and the fingerprints of that individual are available, it is necessary only that he inform the Bureau of this fact so a wanted notice may be placed in the fugitive's record. This insures immediate notification when the fugitive's fingerprints are next received.
The fugitive service is amplified by the Bureau's action in transmitting a monthly bulletin to all law enforcement agencies which forward fingerprints for its files. In this bulletin are listed the names, descriptions, and fingerprint classifications of persons wanted for offenses of a more serious character. This information facilitates prompt identifications of individuals arrested for any offense or otherwise located by those receiving the bulletin.
Missing-persons notices are posted in the Identification files so that any incoming record on the missing person will be noted. Notices are posted both by fingerprint card and by name, or by name alone if fingerprints are not available. The full name, date, and place of birth, complete description and photograph of a missing person should be forwarded, along with fingerprints, if available. Upon receipt of pertinent information, the contributing agency is advised immediately. A section on missing persons is carried as an insert in the Law Enforcement Bulletin.
The FBI Identification Division has arranged with the identification bureaus of many foreign countries to exchange criminal identifying data in cases of mutual interest. Fingerprints and arrest records of persons arrested in this country are routed to the appropriate foreign bureaus in cases when the interested agency in the United States has reason to believe an individual in custody may have a record in or be wanted by the other nation. Similarly, fingerprints are referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by foreign bureaus when it seems a record may be disclosed by a search of the Bureau's records. Numerous identifications, including a number of fugitives, have been effected in this manner, and it is believed that the complete development of this project will provide more effective law enforcement throughout the world. When the facts indicate an individual may have a record in another country, and the contributor submits an extra set of his fingerprints, they are transmitted by this Bureau to the proper authorities.
In very rare cases persons without hands are arrested. A file on footprints is maintained in the Identification Division on such individuals.
In view of the fact that many individuals in the underworld are known only by their nicknames, the Identification Division has for years maintained a card-index file containing in alphabetical order the nicknames appearing on fingerprint cards. When requesting a search of the nickname file, it is desired that all possible descriptive data be furnished.
The Latent Fingerprint Section handles latent print work. Articles of evidence submitted by law enforcement agencies are processed for the development of latent impressions in the Latent Fingerprint Section. In addition, photographs, negatives, and lifts of latents are scrutinized for prints of value for identification purposes. Photographs of the prints of value are always prepared for the FBI's files and are available for comparisons for an indefinite period. Should the law enforcement agency desire additional comparisons it needs only advise the FBI Identification Division, attention Latent Fingerprint Section, and either name or submit the prints of the new suspect. It is not necessary to resubmit the evidence. When necessary, a fingerprint expert will testify in local court as to his findings. Should a department have any special problems involving the development or preservation of fingerprints at a crime scene, the experts are available for suggestions. In connection with the Latent Fingerprint Section there is maintained a general appearance file of many confidence game operators. Searches in this file will be made upon request. In furnishing data on a suspect, the agency should make sure that complete descriptive data is sent in. Photographs and other material on individuals who may be identical with those being sought will be furnished to the interested departments.
During the years many persons have voluntarily submitted their fingerprints to the Identification Division for possible use in the case of an emergency. These cards are not filed with the criminal fingerprints but are maintained separately. Such prints should be taken on the standard fingerprint form entitled "Personal Identification" (Form FD-353). No answer is given to Personal Identification fingerprint cards.
The fingerprint records of the FBI Identification Division are used liberally not only by police agencies to obtain previous fingerprint histories and to ascertain whether persons arrested are wanted elsewhere, but by prosecutors to whom the information from the Bureau's files may prove to be valuable in connection with the prosecution of a case. These records are likewise of frequent value to the judge for his consideration in connection with the imposition of sentence. Obviously, the ends of justice may be served most equitably when the past fingerprint record of the person on trial can be made known to the court, or information may be furnished to the effect that the defendant is of hitherto unblemished reputation.
It should be emphasized that FBI identification records are for the OFFICIAL use of law enforcement and governmental agencies and misuse of such records by disseminating them to unauthorized persons may result in cancellation of FBI identification services.
Types of Patterns and Their Interpretation
Types of patterns
Fingerprints may be resolved into three large general groups of patterns, each group bearing the same general characteristics or family resemblance. The patterns may be further divided into sub-groups by means of the smaller differences existing between the patterns in the same general group. These divisions are as follows:
a. Plain arch. b. Tented arch.
a. Radial loop. b. Ulnar loop.
a. Plain whorl. b. Central pocket loop. c. Double loop. d. Accidental whorl.
Illustrations 1 to 10 are examples of the various types of fingerprint patterns.
Before pattern definition can be understood, it is necessary to understand the meaning of a few technical terms used in fingerprint work.
The pattern area is the only part of the finger impression with which we are concerned in regard to interpretation and classification. It is present in all patterns, of course, but in many arches and tented arches it is impossible to define. This is not important, however, as the only patterns in which we need to define the pattern area for classification purposes are loops and whorls. In these two pattern types the pattern area may be defined as follows:
The pattern area is that part of a loop or whorl in which appear the cores, deltas, and ridges with which we are concerned in classifying.
The pattern areas of loops and whorls are enclosed by type lines.
Type lines may be defined as the two innermost ridges which start parallel, diverge, and surround or tend to surround the pattern area.
Figure 11 is a typical loop. Lines A and B, which have been emphasized in this sketch, are the type lines, starting parallel, diverging at the line C and surrounding the pattern area, which is emphasized in figure 12 by eliminating all the ridges within the pattern area.
Figures 72 through 101 should be studied for the location of type lines.
Type lines are not always two continuous ridges. In fact, they are more often found to be broken. When there is a definite break in a type line, the ridge immediately outside of it is considered as its continuation, as shown by the emphasized ridges in figure 13.
Sometimes type lines may be very short. Care must be exercised in their location. Notice the right type line in figure 14.
When locating type lines it is necessary to keep in mind the distinction between a divergence and a bifurcation (fig. 15).
A bifurcation is the forking or dividing of one line into two or more branches.
A divergence is the spreading apart of two lines which have been running parallel or nearly parallel.
According to the narrow meaning of the words in fingerprint parlance, a single ridge may bifurcate, but it may not be said to diverge. Therefore, with one exception, the two forks of a bifurcation may never constitute type lines. The exception is when the forks run parallel after bifurcating and then diverge. In such a case the two forks become the two innermost ridges required by the definition. In illustration 16, the ridges marked "A—A" are type lines even though they proceed from a bifurcation. In figure 17, however, the ridges A—A are not the type lines because the forks of the bifurcation do not run parallel with each other. Instead, the ridges marked "T" are the type lines.
Angles are never formed by a single ridge but by the abutting of one ridge against another. Therefore, an angular formation cannot be used as a type line. In figure 18, ridges A and B join at an angle. Ridge B does not run parallel with ridge D; ridge A does not diverge. Ridges C and D, therefore, are the type lines.
Focal points—Within the pattern areas of loops and whorls are enclosed the focal points which are used to classify them. These points are called delta and core.
The delta is that point on a ridge at or in front of and nearest the center of the divergence of the type lines.
It may be:
- A bifurcation
- An abrupt ending ridge
- A dot
- A short ridge
- A meeting of two ridges
- A point on the first recurving ridge located nearest to the center and in front of the divergence of the type lines.
The concept of the delta may perhaps be clarified by further exposition. Webster furnishes the following definition: "(1) Delta is the name of the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet (equivalent to the English D) from the Phoenician name for the corresponding letter. The Greeks called the alluvial deposit at the mouth of the Nile, from its shape, the Delta of the Nile. (2) A tract of land shaped like the letter "delta," especially when the land is alluvial, and enclosed within two or more mouths of a river, as the Delta of the Ganges, of the Nile, of the Mississippi" (fig. 19).
When the use of the word "delta" in physical geography is fully grasped, its fitness as applied in fingerprint work will become evident. Rivers wear away their banks and carry them along in their waters in the form of a fine sediment. As the rivers unite with seas or lakes, the onward sweep of the water is lessened, and the sediment, becoming comparatively still, sinks to the bottom where there is formed a shoal which gradually grows, as more and more is precipitated, until at length a portion of the shoal becomes higher than the ordinary level of the stream. There is a similarity between the use of the word "delta" in physical geography and in fingerprints. The island formed in front of the diverging sides of the banks where the stream empties at its mouth corresponds to the delta in fingerprints, which is the first obstruction of any nature at the point of divergence of the type lines in front of or nearest the center of the divergence.
In figure 20, the dot marked "delta" is considered as the delta because it is the first ridge or part of a ridge nearest the point of divergence of the two type lines. If the dot were not present, point B on ridge C, as shown in the figure, would be considered as the delta. This would be equally true whether the ridges were connected with one of the type lines, both type lines, or disconnected altogether. In figure 20, with the dot as the delta, the first ridge count is ridge C. If the dot were not present, point B on ridge C would be considered as the delta and the first count would be ridge D. The lines X—X and Y—Y are the type lines, not X—A and Y—Z.
In figures 21 to 24, the heavy lines A—A and B—B are type lines with the delta at point D.
Figure 25 shows ridge A bifurcating from the lower type line inside the pattern area. Bifurcations are also present within this pattern at points B and C. The bifurcation at the point marked "delta" is the only one which fulfills all conditions necessary for its location. It should be understood that the diverging type lines must be present in all delta formations and that wherever one of the formations mentioned in the definition of a delta may be, it must be located midway between two diverging type lines at or just in front of where they diverge in order to satisfy the definition and qualify as a delta.
When there is a choice between two or more possible deltas, the following rules govern:
- The delta may not be located at a bifurcation which does not open toward the core.
In figure 26, the bifurcation at E is closer to the core than the bifurcation at D. However, E is not immediately in front of the divergence of the type lines and it does not open toward the core. A—A and B—B are the only possible type lines in this sketch and it follows, therefore, that the bifurcation at D must be called the delta. The first ridge count would be ridge C.
- When there is a choice between a bifurcation and another type of delta, the bifurcation is selected.
A problem of this type is shown in figure 27. The dot, A, and the bifurcation are equally close to the divergence of the type lines, but the bifurcation is selected as the delta. The ridges marked "T" are the type lines.
- When there are two or more possible deltas which conform to the definition, the one nearest the core is chosen.
Prints are sometimes found wherein a single ridge enters the pattern area with two or more bifurcations opening toward the core. Figure 28 is an example of this. Ridge A enters the pattern area and bifurcates at points X and D. The bifurcation at D, which is the closer to the core, is the delta and conforms to the rule for deltas. A—A and B—B are the type lines. A bifurcation which does not conform to the definition should not be considered as a delta irrespective of its distance from the core.
- The delta may not be located in the middle of a ridge running between the type lines toward the core, but at the nearer end only.
The location of the delta in this case depends entirely upon the point of origin of the ridge running between the type lines toward the core. If the ridge is entirely within the pattern area, the delta is located at the end nearer the point of divergence of the type lines. Figure 29 is an example of this kind.
If the ridge enters the pattern area from a point below the divergence of the type lines, however, the delta must be located at the end nearer the core. Ridge A in figure 30 is of this type.
In figure 31, A—A and B—B are the type lines, with the dot as the delta. The bifurcations cannot be considered as they do not open toward the core.
In figure 32, the dot cannot be the delta because line D cannot be considered as a type line. It does not run parallel to type line A—A at any point. The same reason prevents line E from being a type line. The end of ridge E is the only possible delta as it is a point on the ridge nearest to the center of divergence of the type lines. The other type line is, of course, B—B.
The delta is the point from which to start in ridge counting. In the loop type pattern the ridges intervening between the delta and the core are counted. The core is the second of the two focal points.
The core, as the name implies, is the approximate center of the finger impression. It will be necessary to concern ourselves with the core of the loop type only. The following rules govern the selection of the core of a loop:
- The core is placed upon or within the innermost sufficient recurve.
- When the innermost sufficient recurve contains no ending ridge or rod rising as high as the shoulders of the loop, the core is placed on the shoulder of the loop farther from the delta.
- When the innermost sufficient recurve contains an uneven number of rods rising as high as the shoulders, the core is placed upon the end of the center rod whether it touches the looping ridge or not.
- When the innermost sufficient recurve contains an even number of rods rising as high as the shoulders, the core is placed upon the end of the farther one of the two center rods, the two center rods being treated as though they were connected by a recurving ridge.
The shoulders of a loop are the points at which the recurving ridge definitely turns inward or curves.
Figures 33 to 38 reflect the focal points of a series of loops. In figure 39, there are two rods, but the rod marked "A" does not rise as high as the shoulder line X, so the core is at B.
Figures 40 to 45 illustrate the rule that a recurve must have no appendage abutting upon it at a right angle between the shoulders and on the outside. If such an appendage is present between the shoulders of a loop, that loop is considered spoiled and the next loop outside will be considered to locate the core. In each of the figures, the point C indicates the core. Appendages will be further explained in the section concerning loops.
Figures 46 to 48 reflect interlocking loops at the center, while figure 49 has two loops side by side at the center. In all these cases the two loops are considered as one. In figure 46, when the shoulder line X—X is drawn it is found to cross exactly at the point of intersection of the two loops. The two loops are considered one, with one rod, the core being placed at C. In figure 47, the shoulder line X—X is above the point of intersection of the two loops. The two are considered as one, with two rods, the core being at C. In figure 48, the shoulder line X—X is below the point of intersection of the loops. Again the two are treated as one, with two rods, the core being placed at C. In figure 49, the two are treated as one, with two rods, the core being placed at C.
In figure 50, the delta is formed by a bifurcation which is not connected with either of the type lines. The first ridge count in this instance is ridge C. If the bifurcation were not present, the delta would be a point on ridge C and the first ridge count would be ridge D. In figure 51, the ridge which bifurcates is connected with the lower type line. The delta in this would be located on the bifurcation as designated and the first ridge count would be ridge C. Figure 52 reflects the same type of delta shown in the previous figure in that the ridge is bifurcating from a type line and then bifurcates again to form the delta.
A white space must intervene between the delta and the first ridge count. If no such interval exists, the first ridge must be disregarded. In figures 53 and 54, the first ridge beyond the delta is counted. In figure 55, it is not counted because there is no interval between it and the delta. Notice that the ridge running from the delta toward the core is in a straight line between them. If it were not, of course, an interval would intervene as in figures 53 and 54.
In fingerprints, as well as in the usual application of the word "loop," there cannot be a loop unless there is a recurve or turning back on itself of one or more of the ridges. Other conditions have to be considered, however. A pattern must possess several requisites before it may be properly classified as a loop. This type of pattern is the most numerous of all and constitutes about 65 percent of all prints.
A loop is that type of fingerprint pattern in which one or more of the ridges enter on either side of the impression, recurve, touch or pass an imaginary line drawn from the delta to the core, and terminate or tend to terminate on or toward the same side of the impression from whence such ridge or ridges entered.
Essentials of a loop
- A sufficient recurve.
- A delta.
- A ridge count across a looping ridge.
A sufficient recurve may be defined as that part of a recurving ridge between the shoulders of a loop. It must be free of any appendages abutting upon the outside of the recurve at a right angle.
Appendages—Some explanation is necessary of the importance attached to appendages. Much care must be exercised in interpreting appendages because they sometimes change the shape of the recurving ridge to which they are connected. For example, a loop with an appendage abutting upon its recurve between the shoulders and at right angles, as in illustration 56, will appear sometimes as in illustration 57 with the recurve totally destroyed. For further examples see figures 161 to 184.
The same is true of a whorl recurve, as in figures 58 and 59.
It is necessary, therefore, to consider and classify figures 56 and 58 as if they actually appeared as in figures 57 and 59.
In figure 60, there is a ridge marked "A" which enters on one side of the impression and, after recurving, passes an imaginary line drawn from the core C to delta D, and terminates on the same side of the impression from which it entered, marked "B", thus fulfilling all the conditions required in the definition of a loop. X and Y are the type lines. It will be noted in figure 61 that there is a ridge which enters on one side of the impression, recurves, and passes an imaginary line drawn from the delta to the core. It does not terminate on the side from which it entered but has a tendency to do so. In this case, all the requirements of the loop have been met, and consequently it is classified as such.
Figure 62 shows a ridge entering on one side of the impression, recurving, and passing beyond an imaginary line drawn from the delta to the core, although opposite from the pattern shown in figure 61. After passing the imaginary line, the recurving ridge does not terminate on the side of the impression from which it entered, but it has a tendency to do so, and the pattern is, therefore, a loop.
In figure 63, a ridge enters on one side of the impression and then recurves, containing two rods within it, each of which rises as high as the shoulder of the loop. From our study of cores, we know that the top of the rod more distant from the delta is the core, but the recurving ridge does not pass the imaginary line. For that reason the pattern is not classified as a loop, but is given the preferential classification of a tented arch due to the lack of one of the loop requisites. The proper location of the core and delta is of extreme importance, for an error in the location of either might cause this pattern to be classified as a loop.
Figure 64 reflects a similar condition.
In figure 65, there is a looping ridge A which enters on one side of the impression. The ridges B and C are the type lines. As determined by rules already stated, the location of the core and the location of the delta are shown, and if an imaginary line were placed on the core and delta, the recurving ridge A would cross it. This is another figure showing a ridge which does not terminate on the side of the impression from which it entered but tends to do so, and, therefore, is considered as a loop.
In figure 66, we have a print which is similar in many respects to the one described in the preceding paragraph, but here the recurving ridge A continues and tends to terminate on the opposite side of the impression from which it entered. For this reason the pattern is not a loop, but a tented arch. The recurving ridge must touch or pass the imaginary line between delta and core and at least tend to pass out toward the side from which it entered, so that a ridge count of at least one can be obtained.
Figure 67 shows a ridge which enters on one side of the impression and, after flowing toward the center, turns or loops on itself and terminates on the same side from whence it entered. This pattern would be classified as a loop. This pattern should be distinguished from the pattern appearing in figure 139. Careful study of the pattern in figure 67 reveals that the core is located at C and the delta D. The imaginary line between these points will be crossed by the ridge forming a loop. In figure 139, the core is located on the recurve and an imaginary line between the delta and the core does not cross a looping ridge. Figure 139 is thus classified as a tented arch, as will be seen later.
Figure 68 shows at the center of the print a ridge which forms a pocket. It will be noticed that ridge A does not begin on the edge of the print, but this is of no significance. The ridge A within the pattern area recurves or loops, passing the imaginary line between the delta and the core, and tends to terminate toward the same side of the impression from whence it entered. This is a loop pattern possessing all of the requirements.
In figures 69 and 70, it will be observed that there is a ridge entering on one side of the pattern which recurves and then turns back on itself. These patterns are different from any others which have been shown in this respect but are classified as loops. In each of the patterns the core and delta are marked "C" and "D". The reader should trace the type lines in order to ascertain why the delta is located at point D, and then apply the delta rule.
Figure 71 is an example of loops as they appear on the rolled impression portion of a fingerprint card.
Right Hand 1. Thumb 2. Index 3. Middle 4. Ring 5. Little finger finger finger finger Left Hand 6. Thumb 7. Index 8. Middle 9. Ring 10. Little finger finger finger finger
The number of ridges intervening between the delta and the core is known as the ridge count. The technical employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation count each ridge which crosses or touches an imaginary line drawn from the delta to the core. Neither delta nor core is counted. A red line upon the reticule of the fingerprint glass is used to insure absolute accuracy. In the event there is a bifurcation of a ridge exactly at the point where the imaginary line would be drawn, two ridges are counted. Where the line crosses an island, both sides are counted. Fragments and dots are counted as ridges only if they appear to be as thick and heavy as the other ridges in the immediate pattern. Variations in inking and pressure must, of course, be considered.
Figures 72 to 97 and figures 98 to 101 show various loop patterns. The reader should examine each one carefully in order to study the cores and deltas and to verify the count which has been placed below each pattern.
Figure 102 is a sketch reflecting the various types of ridges which the classifier will encounter when engaging in counting loop patterns.
In figure 103, the lighter lines are caused by the splitting or fraying of the ridges. Sometimes ingrained dirt will cause a similar condition between the ridges. These lines are not considered ridges and should not be counted.
In figure 104, the dot is not the delta because it is not as thick and heavy as the other ridges and might not be present if the finger were not perfectly inked and printed.
When the core is located on a spike which touches the inside of the innermost recurving ridge, the recurve is included in the ridge count only when the delta is located below a line drawn at right angles to the spike.
Figures 105 and 106 are examples of this rule.
If the delta is located in areas A, the recurving ridge is counted.
If the delta is located in areas B, the recurving ridge is not counted.
LOOP 25 RIDGE COUNTS
1. SHORT RIDGE 2. } 3. } BIFURCATION 4. } 5. } BIFURCATION 6. RIDGE 7. ENDING RIDGE 8. } 9. } BIFURCATION 10. RIDGE 11. ENDING RIDGE 12. RIDGE 13. SHORT RIDGE 14. } 15. } BIFURCATION 16. } 17. } ISLAND 18. } 19. } BIFURCATION 20. ENDING RIDGE 21. DOT 22. RIDGE 23. } 24. } ISLAND 25. ENDING RIDGE
Radial and ulnar loops
The terms "radial" and "ulnar" are derived from the radius and ulna bones of the forearm. Loops which flow in the direction of the ulna bone (toward the little finger) are called ulnar loops and those which flow in the direction of the radius bone are called radial loops.
For test purposes, fingers of the right hand may be placed on the corresponding print of the right hand appearing in figure 71, and it will be noticed that the side of each finger which is nearer to the thumb on the hand is also nearer to the thumb on the fingerprint card. Place the fingers of the left hand on the corresponding prints of the left hand shown in figure 71. It will be noticed that the arrangement of the prints on the card is the reverse of the arrangement of the fingers on the hand. The classification of loops is based on the way the loops flow on the hand (not the card), so that on the fingerprint card for the left hand, loops flowing toward the thumb impression are ulnar, and loops flowing toward the little finger impression are radial.
The plain arch
In plain arches the ridges enter on one side of the impression and flow or tend to flow out the other with a rise or wave in the center. The plain arch is the most simple of all fingerprint patterns, and it is easily distinguished. Figures 107 to 118 are examples of the plain arch. It will be noted that there may be various ridge formations such as ending ridges, bifurcations, dots and islands involved in this type of pattern, but they all tend to follow the general ridge contour; i.e., they enter on one side, make a rise or wave in the center, and flow or tend to flow out the other side.
Figures 119 and 120 are examples of plain arches which approximate tented arches. Also, figure 121 is a plain arch approximating a tented arch as the rising ridge cannot be considered an upthrust because it is a continuous, and not an ending, ridge. (See following explanation of the tented arch.)
The tented arch
In the tented arch, most of the ridges enter upon one side of the impression and flow or tend to flow out upon the other side, as in the plain arch type; however, the ridge or ridges at the center do not. There are three types of tented arches:
- The type in which ridges at the center form a definite angle; i.e., 90 deg. or less.
- The type in which one or more ridges at the center form an upthrust. An upthrust is an ending ridge of any length rising at a sufficient degree from the horizontal plane; i.e., 45 deg. or more.
- The type approaching the loop type, possessing two of the basic or essential characteristics of the loop, but lacking the third.
Figures 122 to 133 are examples of the tented arch.
Figures 122 to 124 are of the type possessing an angle.
Figures 125 to 129 reflect the type possessing an upthrust.
Figures 130 to 133 show the type approaching the loop but lacking one characteristic.
Tented arches and some forms of the loop are often confused. It should be remembered by the reader that the mere converging of two ridges does not form a recurve, without which there can be no loop. On the other hand, there are many patterns which at first sight resemble tented arches but which on close inspection are found to be loops, as where one looping ridge will be found in an almost vertical position within the pattern area, entirely free from and passing in front of the delta.
Figure 134 is a tented arch. The ridge marked "A—A" in the sketch enters on one side of the impression and flows to the other with an acute rise in the center. Ridge C strikes into A at point B and should not be considered as a bifurcating ridge. The ridges marked "D—D" would form a tented arch if the rest of the pattern were absent.
Figure 135 is a sketch of a pattern reflecting a ridge, A—B, entering on one side of the impression, recurving, and making its exit on the other side of the impression. The reader should study this sketch carefully. It should be borne in mind that there must be a ridge entering on one side of the impression and recurving in order to make its exit on the same side from which it entered, or having a tendency to make its exit on that side, before a pattern can be considered for possible classification as a loop. This pattern is a tented arch of the upthrust type. The upthrust is C. There is also an angle at E. D cannot be termed as a delta, as the ridge to the left of D cannot be considered a type line because it does not diverge from the ridge to the right of D but turns and goes in the same direction.
In connection with the types of tented arches, the reader is referred to the third type. This form of tented arch, the one which approaches the loop, may have any combination of two of the three basic loop characteristics, lacking the third. These three loop characteristics are, to repeat:
- A sufficient recurve.
- A delta.
- A ridge count across a looping ridge.
It must be remembered that a recurve must be free of any appendage abutting upon it at a right angle between the shoulders, and a true ridge count is obtained only by crossing a looping ridge freely, with a white space intervening between the delta and the ridge to be counted.
Figures 136 and 137 are tented arches having loop formations within the pattern area but with deltas upon the loops, by reason of which it is impossible to secure a ridge count. The type lines run parallel from the left in figures 136 and 137. These tented arches have two of the loop characteristics, recurve and delta, but lack the third, the ridge count.
In figure 138, the reader will note the similarity to the figures 136 and 137. The only difference is that in this figure the type lines are running parallel from the right. It will be noted from these three patterns that the spaces between the type lines at their divergence show nothing which could be considered as delta formations except the looping ridges. Such patterns are classified as tented arches because the ridge count necessary for a loop is lacking.
Figure 139 is an example of a tented arch. In this pattern, if the looping ridge approached the vertical it could possibly be a one-count loop. Once studied, however, the pattern presents no real difficulty. There are no ridges intervening between the delta, which is formed by a bifurcation, and the core. It will be noted that the core, in this case, is at the center of the recurve, unlike those loops which are broadside to the delta and in which the core is placed upon the shoulder. This pattern has a recurve and a separate delta, but it still lacks the ridge count necessary to make it a loop.
Figures 140 and 141 are examples of tented arches. These two figures are similar in many ways. Each of these prints has three abrupt ending ridges but lacks a recurve; however, in figure 141 a delta is present in addition to the three abrupt ending ridges. This condition does not exist in figure 140, where the lower ending ridge is the delta.
When interpreting a pattern consisting of two ending ridges and a delta but lacking a recurve, do not confuse the ridge count of the tented arch with that of the ridge count for the loop. The ridge count of the tented arch is merely a convention of fingerprinting, a fiction designed to facilitate a scientific classification of tented arches, and has no connection with a loop. To obtain a true ridge count there must be a looping ridge which is crossed freely by an imaginary line drawn between the delta and the core. The ridge count referred to as such in connection with the tented arches possessing ending ridges and no recurve is obtained by imagining that the ending ridges are joined by a recurve only for the purpose of locating the core and obtaining a ridge count. If this point is secure in the mind of the classifier, little difficulty will be encountered.
Figures 140 and 141, then, are tented arches because they have two of the characteristics of a loop, delta and ridge count, but lack the third, the recurve.
Figure 142 is a loop formation connected with the delta but having no ridge count across a looping ridge. By drawing an imaginary line from the core, which is at the top of the rod in the center of the pattern, to the delta, it will be noted that there is no recurving ridge passing between this rod and the delta; and, therefore, no ridge count can result. This pattern is classified as a tented arch. There must be a white space between the delta and the first ridge counted, or it may not be counted. Figure 143 is also a tented arch because no ridge count across a looping ridge can be obtained, the bifurcations being connected to each other and to the loop in a straight line between delta and core. The looping ridge is not crossed freely. No white space intervenes between the delta and the loop. These patterns are tented arches because they possess two of the characteristics of a loop, a delta and a recurve, but lack the third, a ridge count across a looping ridge.
Figure 144 is a tented arch combining two of the types. There is an angle formed by ridge a abutting upon ridge b. There are also the elements of the type approaching a loop, as it has a delta and ridge count but lacks a recurve.
Figures 145 to 148 are tented arches because of the angles formed by the abutting ridges at the center of the patterns.
Figure 149 is a tented arch because of the upthrust present at the center of the pattern. The presence of the slightest upthrust at the center of the impression is enough to make a pattern a tented arch.
An upthrust must be an ending ridge. If continuous as in figure 150, no angle being present, the pattern is classified as a plain arch.
Figures 151 to 153 are plain arches. Figure 154 is a tented arch.
Figure 155 is a plain arch because it is readily seen that the apparent upthrust A is a continuation of the curving ridge B. Figure 156 is a tented arch because ridge A is an independent upthrust, and not a continuation of ridge B.
Figures 157 and 158 are plain arches. Figure 158 cannot be said to be a looping ridge, because by definition a loop must pass out or tend to pass out upon the side from which it entered. This apparent loop passes out upon the opposite side and cannot be said to tend to flow out upon the same side.
In figures 159 and 160, there are ending ridges rising at about the same degree from the horizontal plane.
Figure 159, however, is a plain arch, while 160 is a tented arch. This differentiation is necessary because, if the first pattern were printed crookedly upon the fingerprint card so that the ending ridge was nearer the horizontal plane, there would be no way to ascertain the true horizontal plane of the pattern (if the fissure of the finger did not appear). In other words, there would be no means of knowing that there was sufficient rise to be called an upthrust, so that it is safe to classify the print as a plain arch only. In figure 160, however, no matter how it is printed, the presence of a sufficient rise could always be ascertained because of the space intervening between the ending ridge and the ridge immediately beneath it, so that it is safe to classify such a pattern as a tented arch. The test is, if the ridges on both sides of the ending ridge follow its direction or flow trend, the print may be classified as a plain arch. If, however, the ridges on only one side follow its direction, the print is a tented arch.
An upthrust, then, must not only be an ending ridge rising at a sufficient degree from the horizontal plane, but there must also be a space between the ending ridge and the ridge immediately beneath it. This, however, is not necessary for a short upthrust or spike, or any upthrust which rises perpendicularly.
In connection with the proper classification to be assigned to those borderline loop-tented arch cases where an appendage or spike is thrusting out from the recurve, it is necessary to remember that an appendage or a spike abutting upon a recurve at right angles in the space between the shoulders of a loop on the outside is considered to spoil the recurve.
If the appending ridge flows off the looping ridge smoothly in such a way that it forms a bifurcation and not an abutment of two ridges at a right angle, the recurve is considered as remaining intact. The test is to trace the looping ridge toward the appendage, and if, when it is reached, the tracing may be continued as readily upon the appendage as upon the looping ridge, with no sudden, sharp change of direction, the recurve is sufficient. Figures 161 to 184 should be studied with this in mind.
Figures 185 to 190 show additional examples of tented arches.
The reason that figure 185 is given the classification of a tented arch is because of the presence of all the loop requirements with the exception of one, which is the recurve. In this pattern appear three ending ridges. The lowest ending ridge provides the delta, and the other two by the convention explained previously, provide the ridge count. It is a tented arch, then, of the type approaching the loop, with two of the characteristics, but lacking the third, a recurve. Figures 186 and 187 are tented arches of the same type. A close examination of these prints will reveal that when the imaginary line is drawn between delta and core no ridge count across a looping ridge can be obtained. It must be remembered that the core of a loop may not be placed below the shoulder line. Lacking one of the three characteristics of a loop, these patterns must be classified as tented arches. When figure 188 is examined, it will be noticed that the recurve is spoiled by the appendage abutting upon it between the shoulders at a right angle, so it must also be classified with the tented arches. In figure 189, the only possible delta must be placed upon the looping ridge, thus preventing a ridge count although delta and recurve are present. Figure 190 is assigned the classification of a tented arch. One of the requirements of a loop type is that the ridge enters on one side, recurves, and makes its exit on the side from which it entered. This, of course, makes it necessary that the ridge pass between the delta and the core. It will be noted from this figure that although this ridge passes between the delta and the core, it does not show any tendency to make its exit on the side from which it entered, and therefore the loop classification is precluded, and it is a tented arch.
The patterns to which numerical values are assigned in deriving the "primary" in the extension of the Henry System of fingerprint classification used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation are the whorl-type patterns, which occur in about 30 percent of all fingerprints.
The whorl is that type of pattern in which at least two deltas are present with a recurve in front in each. Figures 191 to 193 reflect the minimum requirements for the whorl.
It is important to note that the above definition is very general; however, this pattern may be subdivided for extension purposes in large groups where whorls are predominant. Even though this extension may be used, all types of whorls are grouped together under the general classification of "Whorl" and are designated by the letter "W".
The aforementioned subdivisions are as follows: The Plain Whorl, The Central Pocket Loop, The Double Loop, and The Accidental.
The plain whorl
The "plain whorl" consists of the simplest form of whorl construction and is the most common of the whorl subdivisions. It is designated by the symbol "W" for both general classification and extension purposes.
The plain whorl has two deltas and at least one ridge making a complete circuit, which may be spiral, oval, circular, or any variant of a circle. An imaginary line drawn between the two deltas must touch or cross at least one of the recurving ridges within the inner pattern area. A recurving ridge, however, which has an appendage connected with it in the line of flow cannot be construed as a circuit. An appendage connected at that point is considered to spoil the recurve on that side.
Figures 194 to 211 are typical examples of the plain whorl type. Figure 212 is, however, a loop, as the circuit is spoiled on one side by an appendage.
Central pocket loop
Within the whorl group, the subclassification type "central pocket loop" is used for extension purposes only. In general classification it is designated by the letter "W". Figures 213 to 236 are central pocket loops.
The central pocket loop type of whorl has two deltas and at least one ridge making a complete circuit, which may be spiral, oval, circular, or any variant of a circle. An imaginary line drawn between the two deltas must not touch or cross any of the recurving ridges within the inner pattern area. A recurving ridge, however, which has an appendage connected with it in the line of flow and on the delta side cannot be construed as a circuit. An appendage connected at that point is considered to spoil the recurve on that side.
In lieu of a recurve in front of the delta in the inner pattern area, an obstruction at right angles to the line of flow will suffice.
It is necessary that the inner line of flow be fixed artificially. The inner line of flow is determined by drawing an imaginary line between the inner delta and the center of the innermost recurve or looping ridge.
In the central pocket loop, one or more of the simple recurves of the plain loop type usually recurve a second time to form a pocket within the loop. The second recurve, however, need not be a continuation of—or even connected with—the first. It may be an independent ridge.
If no second recurve is present, an obstruction at right angles to the inner line of flow is acceptable in lieu of it. An obstruction may be either curved or straight. A dot, of course, may not be considered an obstruction.
The definition does not require a recurve to cross the line of flow at right angles. The angle test needs to be applied to obstructions only.
The recurve or obstruction of the central pocket loop, as that of the plain whorl, must be free of any appendage connected to it at the point crossed by the line of flow and on the delta side. An appendage at that point is considered to spoil the recurve or obstruction.
Figures 237 and 238 are also central pocket loops despite the appendages connected to the recurves, because they are not connected at the point crossed by the line of flow.
Figure 239, although possessing a recurve, is classified as a loop because the second delta is located on the only recurving ridge.
Figures 240 to 244, although possessing one delta and a delta formation, are classified as loops because the obstructions do not cross the line of flow at right angles.
Figures 245 to 254 have two deltas and one or more recurves, but they are classified as loops because each recurve is spoiled by an appendage connected to it at the point crossed by the line of flow.
Within the whorl group, the subclassification type "double loop" is used for extension purposes only. In general classification it is designated by the letter "W".
The double loop consists of two separate loop formations, with two separate and distinct sets of shoulders, and two deltas.
The word "separate," as used here, does not mean unconnected. The two loops may be connected by an appending ridge provided that it does not abut at right angles between the shoulders of the loop formation. The appendage rule for the loop applies also to the double loop. An appendage abutting upon a loop at right angles between the shoulders is considered to spoil the loop, while an appendage which flows off smoothly is considered to leave the recurve intact.
The fact that there must be two separate loop formations eliminates from consideration as a double loop the "S" type core, the interlocking type core, and the formation with one loop inside another.
The loops of a double loop do not have to conform to the requirements of the loop. In other words, no ridge count is necessary.
It is not essential that both sides of a loop be of equal length, nor that the two loops be of the same size. Neither is it material from which side the loops enter.
The distinction between twinned loops and lateral pocket loops made by Henry and adopted by other authors has been abandoned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation because of the difficulty in locating and tracing the loops. Both types have been consolidated under the classification "double loop."
Figures 255 to 266 are double loops.
Figure 267 is a plain whorl. It is not classified as a double loop as one side of one loop forms the side of the other. Figure 268 is a plain loop. It is not a double loop because all of the recurves of the loop on the right are spoiled by appendages.
Within the whorl group the subdivision type "accidental" is used for extension purposes only. In general classification it is designated by the letter "W" and for extension purposes by the letter "X".
The accidental whorl is a pattern consisting of a combination of two different types of pattern, with the exception of the plain arch, with two or more deltas; or a pattern which possesses some of the requirements for two or more different types; or a pattern which conforms to none of the definitions. It may be a combination of loop and tented arch, loop and whorl, loop and central pocket loop, double loop and central pocket loop, or other such combinations. The plain arch is excluded as it is rather the absence of pattern than a pattern. Underneath every pattern there are ridges running from one side to the other, so that if it were not excluded every pattern but the plain arch would be an accidental whorl.
This subclassification also includes those exceedingly unusual patterns which may not be placed by definition into any other classes.
Figures 269 to 271 are accidentals combining a loop with a tented arch. Figures 272 to 276 combine a loop and a plain whorl or central pocket loop. Figure 277 combines a loop and a double loop. Figure 278 combines a loop and a plain arch, so it is classified as a loop. Figure 279 combines a loop and a tented arch.
Some whorls may be found which contain ridges conforming to more than one of the whorl subdivisions described. In such cases, the order of preference (if any practical distinction need be made) should be: (1) accidental, (2) double loop, (3) central pocket loop, (4) plain whorl.
The technique of whorl tracing depends upon the establishment of the focal points—the deltas. Every whorl has two or more. When the deltas have been located, the ridge emanating from the lower side or point of the extreme left delta is traced until the point nearest or opposite the extreme right delta is reached. The number of ridges intervening between the tracing ridge and the right delta are then counted. If the ridge traced passes inside of (above) the right delta, and three or more ridges intervene between the tracing ridge and the delta, the tracing is designated as an "inner"—I (fig. 280). If the ridge traced passes outside (below) the right delta, and three or more ridges intervene between the tracing ridge and the right delta, the tracing is designated as an "outer"—O (fig. 281). All other tracings are designated as "meeting"—M (figs. 282 to 287).
Tracing begins from the left delta. In no instance is a tracing to begin on a type line. In figure 288, tracing begins at the short ridge which is the left delta. It is true that inasmuch as the short ridge ends immediately the type line is next followed, but this is only because the type line is the next lower ridge. Its status as a type line is independent and has no bearing on the fact that it is being traced. This point is illustrated further in figure 289. This pattern shows an inner tracing. It will be noted that the delta is at the point on the first recurve nearest to the center of the divergence of the type lines. It will be further noted that tracing begins at the point of delta on the left and continues toward the right, passing inside of the right delta, with three ridges intervening between the tracing ridge and the right delta. This shows the tracing to be an inner tracing. If, in this case, the type line were traced (which would be the incorrect procedure), only two ridges would intervene between the tracing ridge and the right delta, resulting in an erroneous meeting tracing. Figure 290 is another example of the application of this rule. This illustration is also an inner whorl.
When the ridge traced ends abruptly, and it is determined that the ridge definitely ends, the tracing drops down to the point on the next lower ridge immediately beneath the point where the ridge above ends, continuing from there. Figure 291, therefore, is an outer whorl.
In this connection it should be noted that the rule for dropping to the next lower line applies only when the ridge definitely ends. Short breaks in a ridge which may be due to improper inking, the presence of foreign matter on the ridges, enlarged pores, disease, or worn ridges should not be considered as definite ridge endings. The determination of what constitutes a definite ending will depend, of course, upon the good judgment of the classifier. When the question arises as to whether a break encountered in the ridge tracing is a definite ending, or whether there has been interference with a natural impression, the whole pattern should be examined to ascertain whether such breaks are general throughout the pattern. If they are found to be common, consideration should then be given to the possibility that the break is not a definite ridge ending. Appropriate reference tracing should be done in all such cases.
Whenever the ridge traced bifurcates, the rule for tracing requires that the lower limb or branch proceeding from the bifurcation be followed. This is illustrated in 292.
Accidentals often possess three or more deltas. In tracing them only the extreme deltas are considered, the tracing beginning at the extreme left delta and proceeding toward the extreme right delta, as illustrated in figure 293.
In a double loop or accidental the problem of where to stop tracing is sometimes presented. The rule is, when the tracing passes inside of the right delta, stop at the nearest point to the right delta on the upward trend, as in figure 294. If no upward trend is present, continue tracing until a point opposite the right delta, or the delta itself, is reached (figs. 295 and 296).
No matter how definite fingerprint rules and pattern definitions are made, there will always be patterns concerning which there is doubt as to the classification they should be given. The primary reason for this is the fact that probably no two fingerprints will ever appear which are exactly alike. Other reasons are differences in the degree of judgment and interpretation of the individual classifying fingerprints, the difference in the amount of pressure used by the person taking the prints, and the amount or kind of ink used. Nothing can be done about faulty inking or pressure once the prints are taken. The patterns which are questionable merely because they seem to have characteristics of two or more types can be classified by strict adherence to the definitions in deducing a preference. The following section is devoted to such patterns with an explanation of each.
Figure 297 has two loop formations. The one on the left, however, has an appendage abutting upon the shoulders of its recurve at a right angle. The left portion of the impression, therefore, is of the tented arch type. The combination of two different types of patterns would be classified in the whorl group (accidental), but this impression has only the one delta. The right portion of the pattern detail contains a true loop which fulfills all the loop requirements, i.e., a sufficient recurve, a delta, and a ridge count across a looping ridge. In the choice existing between a tented arch and a loop, preference is given to the loop classification and this impression would be classified as a loop.
Figure 298, at a glance, seems to fulfill the requirements of a whorl (two deltas and a ridge making a complete circuit). The part of the circuit in front of the right delta, however, cannot be construed as a recurving ridge because of the appendage abutting upon it in the line of flow. This pattern, therefore, is a one-count loop.
Figure 299 is a very difficult and unusual pattern. It has characteristics of three types, the whorl, the loop, and the tented arch. It is given the preference of an accidental type of whorl (loop over a tented arch). This pattern should be referenced both as a loop and as a tented arch.
Figure 300 is shown for the purpose of explaining that in the whorl, as this print is, appendages at the top of the recurve will not spoil or affect the recurve. Hence, the impression is a good whorl of the central pocket loop type and needs no reference.
Figure 301 is classified as a whorl of the double loop type. There are present two distinct loops and two deltas (the right delta is not present as the impression was not rolled sufficiently). The pattern is unusual because the loops are side by side and flowing in the same direction. The tracing is an inner tracing.
Figure 302 should present no difficulty. It is classified as a plain arch for its ridge construction follows the rule of a plain arch, i.e., "enter one side and flow or tend to flow to the other."
Figure 303 is a plain arch. The dot at the center is not elongated enough to be considered an upthrust. A dot, even though as thick and heavy as the surrounding ridges, is not considered for any purpose but ridge counting or fixing a delta.
Figure 304 is a pattern somewhat similar to the previous illustration. As indicated before, dots are considered as ridges only in ridge counting and fixing a delta. This pattern, therefore, must be classified as a plain arch, rather than a tented arch with two ending ridges and a delta formation.
Figure 305, although showing an appendage upon each recurve on the left side, is classified as a whorl of the central pocket loop type, with two deltas and a recurve in front of each. To spoil the recurve of a whorl the appendage must be connected to the recurve at the point of contact with the line of flow.
In figure 306, the impression has two equally good loop formations. As it has but one delta, it cannot be classified as a whorl of the double loop type nor as a loop since it would be difficult to make a preferential choice between the two looping ridges. It is arbitrarily given the classification of a tented arch.
In figure 307, the difficulty lies in locating the delta. The only ridges answering the definition of type lines (ridges running parallel and then diverging to enclose the pattern area) have three ending ridges between them. The type lines, the delta, and the core are located as indicated. The pattern is classified as a six-count loop.
Figure 308 is classified as a tented arch, although it appears at first glance to be a loop. Closer inspection shows that the looping ridge does not tend to go out the side from which it entered but rather seems to proceed downward ending in an abutment forming a definite angle of 90 deg..
In figure 309, an impression is shown which at first appears to be a loop. Closer inspection will show that one of the elements of the loop type is missing, namely, a ridge count across a looping ridge; for it is to be borne in mind that the recurve of the innermost loop should be free of appendages abutting between the shoulders at right angles. The core, in this illustration, therefore, is placed where the appendage of the innermost loop touches the next ridge which is a good recurve. If an imaginary line is placed between delta and core, it will be seen that there are no intervening ridges; hence, there is no ridge count.
Figure 310 is a pattern which contains two elements of a loop but lacks the third. It is classified as a tented arch. Thus an impression having a delta and a recurve, but not having a ridge count across a looping ridge, falls into this classification.
It will be noticed that although this pattern has the resemblance of a plain arch, the center of the impression actually contains a partially formed loop. A recurving ridge enters from the right side and exits in the same direction. A delta also appears just below the recurve. In attempting to obtain a ridge count, it is seen that the imaginary line drawn between the delta and the core runs directly along the ridge emanating from the former and which is joined onto the side of the recurving ridge. For this reason, no ridge count is possible.
Figure 311 is a tented arch. There are three loop formations, each one of which is spoiled by an appendage abutting upon its recurve between the shoulders at a right angle. It cannot be classified as an accidental as the patterns are all of the same type, i.e., tented arches. An accidental type of whorl is a combination of two or more different types of patterns exclusive of the plain arch.
Figure 312 is a loop. It cannot be classified as a whorl of the double loop type because the formation above the lower loop is too pointed and it also has an appendage abutting upon it at a right angle.
Figure 313 at first glance appears to be a whorl of the double loop type. Upon closer inspection, however, it will be noticed that there are no delta formations other than on the recurves. There are, then, two tented arch formations. As two patterns of the same type cannot form an accidental whorl, the impression must be classified as a tented arch.
Figure 314 is an accidental whorl, combining a loop and a tented arch. The tented arch is directly beneath the innermost loop, and is of the upthrust type.
Figure 315 consists of a loop over a dot with an apparent second delta. This pattern must be classified as a loop, as a dot may not be considered an upthrust unless elongated vertically.
Even though a dot may be as thick and heavy as the surrounding ridges, it may be considered only in ridge counting or fixing a delta.
Figure 316 at first glance appears to be an accidental whorl, but on closer inspection it proves to be a loop. Although there are three delta formations present, it should be observed that recurving ridges appear in front of only one (D-1).
Figure 317 has the general appearance of a loop. The looping ridge A, at the center, has an appendage B abutting upon its recurve. The abutment is at right angles and therefore spoils the recurve. The pattern is a tented arch.
Figure 318 is a tented arch which approaches both the loop and the whorl type patterns. It cannot be considered a whorl, however, as the recurve on the left is spoiled by an appendage (figs. 58 and 59). Nor can it be a loop because there is no ridge count across a looping ridge. The pattern, then, is a tented arch of the type possessing two of the basic characteristics of the loop and lacking the third. The delta and the sufficient recurve are present but the ridge count is missing.
Figure 319 seems at first glance to be a double loop. It will be noted, however, that the inner delta formation would be located upon the only looping ridge of the upper loop formation. Since the delta would be located on the only recurve, this recurving ridge is eliminated from consideration. The pattern is classified as a loop.
Figure 320 is a loop of two counts, with the delta at B. There is a ridge making a complete circuit present, but point A cannot be used as a delta because it answers the definition of a type line. It should be considered a delta only if it presented an angular formation. Placing the delta upon the recurve would spoil that recurve.
Figure 321 shows two separate looping ridge formations appearing side by side and upon the same side of the delta. The core in such case is placed upon the nearer shoulder of the farther looping ridge from the delta, the two looping ridges being considered as one loop with two rods rising as high as the shoulder. The ridge count would be four (fig. 49).
Figure 322 is an accidental whorl. It is classified thus because it contains elements of three different patterns, the loop, the double loop, and the accidental. In such case the order of preference governs. The delta at the left is point A. The delta at the right is point C. This point becomes the delta since it is the point nearest the center of the divergence of the type lines. Point B is eliminated from consideration as a delta since type lines may not proceed from a bifurcation unless they flow parallel after the bifurcation and before diverging.
Figure 323 is a loop. There are two delta formations but the dots cannot be considered as obstructions crossing the line of flow at right angles. This precludes the classification of the central pocket loop type of whorl.
Figure 324 is a loop, the two recurving ridges have appendages and are considered spoiled. The pattern cannot, therefore, be a whorl even though two delta formations are present.
Figure 325 is classified as a tented arch. If examined closely the pattern will be seen to have an appendage abutting at a right angle between the shoulders of each possible recurve. Thus no sufficient recurve is present.
Figure 326 is a plain arch. There is present no angle which approaches a right angle. Points A, B, and X are merely bifurcations rather than an abutment of two ridges at an angle.
Figure 327 is a tented arch, not because of the dot, however, as it cannot be considered an upthrust. The tented arch is formed by the angle made when the curving ridge above the dot abuts upon the ridge immediately under and to the left of the dot.
Figure 328 consists of two separate looping ridge formations in juxtaposition upon the same side of a common delta. This pattern cannot be called a double loop as there is no second delta formation. In order to locate the core, the two looping ridges should be treated as one loop with two rods in the center. The core is thus placed on the far rod (actually on the left shoulder of the far loop), resulting in a ridge count of four (fig. 49).
Figure 329 is a loop of three counts. It cannot be classified as a whorl as the only recurve is spoiled by the appendage abutting upon it at the point of contact with the line of flow.
Figure 330 is a plain arch as there is no upthrust (an upthrust must be an ending ridge), no backward looping turn, and no two ridges abutting upon each other at a sufficient angle.
Figure 331 is a plain arch. The ending ridge at the center does not rise at a sufficient angle to be considered an upthrust, and it does not quite meet the ridge toward which it is flowing and therefore forms no angle.
Figure 332 is a plain arch. There are two ending ridges, but no separate delta formation is present.
Figure 333 is a plain arch. The rising ridge at the center is curved at the top forming no angle, and does not constitute an upthrust because it is not an ending ridge.
Figure 334 is a whorl of the double loop type. Two loops and two deltas are present. It is unusual because the loops are juxtaposed instead of one flowing over the other, and one delta is almost directly over the other. The tracing is a meeting tracing.
Figure 335 is a tented arch. Although there is a looping ridge, no ridge count can be obtained. The core is placed upon the end of the ridge abutting upon the inside of the loop, and so the imaginary line crosses no looping ridge, which is necessary.
Figure 336 is a plain arch. The ending ridge at the center cannot be considered an upthrust because it does not deviate from the general direction of flow of the ridges on either side. No angle is present as the ending ridge does not abut upon the curving ridge which envelopes it.
Figure 337 is a plain arch because the dot cannot be considered a delta as it is not as thick and heavy as the surrounding ridges.
Figure 338 is a tented arch consisting of two ending ridges and a delta. The short ending ridge is considered a ridge because it is slightly elongated and not a mere dot.
In figure 339, the only question involved is where to stop tracing. The rule is: when tracing on a ridge with an upward trend, stop at the point on the upward trend which is nearest to the right delta. X is the point in this pattern.
In figure 340, the question involved is also one of tracing. In this pattern, the tracing is not on a ridge with an upward trend. The tracing, therefore, is continued until a point nearest to the right delta, or the right delta itself, is reached. This tracing is a meeting tracing.
There are a few constantly recurring patterns which, though not questionable or doubtful as they appear, present a peculiarly difficult problem in classifying. The patterns referred to are usually double loops, though accidental whorls and loops sometimes present the same problems. The difficulty arises when a loop is so elongated that the recurve does not appear until near the edge of a fully rolled impression or an impression that is rolled unusually far, as in figures 341 to 344.
Figure 341, if classified as it appears, would be an accidental whorl. Figures 342 and 343 would be double loops, and illustration 344, a loop. It will be observed that these prints are rolled more fully than normal. If, however, the next time the prints are taken, they are not rolled quite so far, the patterns would require a very different classification, and would show no indication of any need for referencing to their true classification. The result would be a failure to establish an identification with the original prints. The only way in which such an error may be avoided is to classify such impressions as they would appear if not so fully rolled, and to conduct a reference search in the classification which would be given to the prints when rolled to the fullest extent. Applying this rule, illustration 341 is a tented arch, referenced to a whorl. Figures 342 and 343 are loops, referenced to whorls. Figure 344 is a plain arch, referenced to a loop.
No set rule can possibly be devised to enable a classifier to know with certainty where to draw the line when it is doubtful which classification should be given such a print. Individual judgment is the only standard. The test is: if the pattern, in the opinion of the classifier, is rolled to only a normal width, it should be classified as it appears. If it seems to be rolled to a width beyond the normal degree, it should be classified as if rolled only to the normal degree. Age, weight, size of fingers (as seen in the plain impressions), heaviness of the ridges, and experience of the technician in taking fingerprints are all factors in arriving at the correct conclusion. The necessity for exercising the utmost care in dealing with this type of pattern cannot be too highly emphasized.
The patterns in figures 345 and 346 also have a second loop near the edge of the impression. In these two patterns, however, the second loop is very near the delta and consequently will almost invariably appear even though not rolled to the fullest extent. The foregoing rule is not applied to this type of impression. Both are classified as a whorl and referenced to a loop to take care of the rare contingency of nonappearance.
The Classification Formula and Extensions
The classification formula
At this point it is necessary to mention that when prints are classified, markings are indicated at the bottom of each finger block to reflect the type. The following symbols are used:
- Under the index fingers the appropriate capital letters should be placed for every pattern except the ulnar loop.
- Under all other fingers, the appropriate small letter should be placed for every pattern except the ulnar loop and the whorl as follows:
Arch a Tented Arch t Radial Loop r
- Ulnar loops in any finger are designated by a diagonal line slanting in the direction of the loop.
- Whorls in any finger are designated by the letter "W". The classification formula may be composed of the following divisions:
1. Primary 2. Secondary 3. Subsecondary 4. Major 5. Final 6. Key
The positions in the classification line for these divisions when completely applied are as illustrated:
Key Major Primary Secondary Subsecondary Final ————————————————————————————————————— Divisions Classification Classification Classification
20 M 1 U IOI 10 ————————————————————————————————————— L 1 U IOI
Second subsecondary classification Key Major Primary Secondary Subsecondary Final ————————————————————————————————————— Divisions Classification Classification Classification
SLM —- MMS 4 O 5 U IOI 10 ————————————————————————————————————— I 17 U IOI
THE PRIMARY CLASSIFICATION: For the purpose of obtaining the primary classification, numerical values are assigned to each of the ten finger spaces as shown in figure 347. Wherever a whorl appears it assumes the value of the space in which it is found. Spaces in which types of patterns other than whorls are present are disregarded in computing the primary.
The values are assigned as follows:
Fingers No. 1 and No. 2 16
Fingers No. 3 and No. 4 8
Fingers No. 5 and No. 6 4
Fingers No. 7 and No. 8 2
Fingers No. 9 and No. 10 1
LEAVE THIS SPACE BLANK SEX + + __ FBI No. RACE + + LAST NAME FIRST NAME MIDDLE NAME - + SIGNATURE OF PERSON CONTRIBUTOR ALIASES HT. WT. FINGERPRINTED AND ADDRESS (IN.) __ _ DATE OF - BIRTH RESIDENCE OF PERSON __ FINGERPRINTED HAIR EYES - - OCCUPATION ARREST NUMBER LEAVE THIS SPACE BLANK - - SCARS AND MARKS PLACE OF BIRTH 29 - CLASS_____ - CITIZENSHIP 19 SIGNATURE OF OFFICIAL DATE _ TAKING FINGERPRINTS _ CHECK IF NO CRIMINAL REF._____ RECORD IS DESIRED - 1. RIGHT THUMB 2. RIGHT INDEX 3. RIGHT 4. RIGHT RING 5. RIGHT LITTLE MIDDLE N 16 N 8 D 16 D 8 D 4 - W W W - 1. LEFT THUMB 2. LEFT INDEX 3. LEFT 4. LEFT RING 5. LEFT LITTLE N 4 MIDDLE N 2 N 1 D 2 D 1 - W W / / / -
In figure 347, it will be observed that the odd fingers (Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9) contain the letter D, and the even fingers (Nos. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10) contain the letter N. The D indicates that the values of these fingers relate to the denominator, the N that they relate to the numerator. The summation of the numerical values of the whorl type patterns, if any, appearing in fingers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, plus one, is the denominator of the primary. The summation of the values of the whorls, if any, in fingers 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, plus one, is the numerator of the primary. Where no whorl appears in a set of impressions, the primary, therefore, would be 1 over 1. The 1 that is assigned to the numerator and the denominator when no whorls appear is also added, for consistency, to the value of the whorls when they do appear. It will be understood why it was originally assigned to the no-whorl group when it is considered how easily a zero might be confused with an O, which is the symbol used for an outer whorl tracing.