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About Fingerprint America

WHY Fingerprint America?

We are the original and most trusted source for Child Identification and safety products in the United States. Since 1996 we have worked with thousands of law enforcement agencies who continue to use our products over and over again.

Our kits were designed with the help from New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and have become the number one choice for Law Enforcement Nationwide! These kits are linked to a company loyal to the safety and values of our families. We understand that the children are the future of the world. What better way to protect our future then to provide your community with trusted and reliable products that have been distributed for over 20 years.

Fingerprint America History

1996 Fingerprint America was founded after creating the first ever custom imprinted Child Identification Fingerprinting Kit.

2000 Fingerprint America launched its website and introduced the WHALE (We Have a Little Emergency) Car Seat Safety Kit. NBC’s Albany, New York local affiliate WNYT News Channel 13 featured Fingerprint America during “Smart Money” segment as a successful, locally based company that was “making its mark” on a national level.

2002 Fingerprint America launched a new look to our current products and introduced proprietary GenetiKid DNA Kits and ID Complete (fingerprinting and DNA combo) Kits.

2004 Distribution opened in Spain & Columbia.

2005 Distribution was opened in Australia. Fingerprint America brought the best DNA isolation Technology to the public through our relationship with Whatman Technologies. As Whatman Technologies began its roots making parchment paper which eventually the constitution of the United States was drafted on.

2006 Distribution was opened in South Africa.

2016 Fingerprint America celebrates 20 years of serving law enforcement agencies with our signature Child Identification and forensic quality DNA products.

2017 Fingerprint America introduces customized BULLYFREE Kits to campaign anti-bullying across the world. Fingerprint America once again provides a cost effective and comprehensive BULLYFREE program. The Anti-bully program coaches kids how to prevent bullies from the dangers posed to them. Remember, no one likes a Bully!!!


DNA being screened and placed on top of a bright table

DNA - A Historical Perspective

470 to 322 B.C.: In their writings, Greek philosophers Hippocrates, Aristotle, and Plato describe their observation that certain human traits appear to be dominant and passed from parent to child.

1665: The groundwork for the development of Cell theory, the basis for understanding DNA, is laid by scientist Robert Hooke when he microscopically observes honeycomb-shaped structures within a piece of cork. He calls these structures cells.

1830’s: Another scientist, Robert Brown, observes a small, dark sphere inside plant cells. He begins to refer to these spheres the nucleus. It was also during this period that another pair of scientists, Theodor Schwann and Mathias Schleiden, conduct studies which conclude that the nucleus plays an important role in the growth and development of cells.

1856-1863: Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk who is considered by many as the “father of genetics”, conducts experiments using peapods to explain the patterns of trait inheritance.

1869: Swiss scientist Johann Friedrich Miescher notes the presence of a substance within the nucleus of cells that has different properties from the protein contained within the cells’ remaining areas. He refers to this substance, which today is known as nucleic acid, as “nuclein’”

1912: Father & son physicists Sir William Henry Bragg & Sir William Lawrence Bragg discover that they can deduce the atomic structure of crystals from their X-ray diffraction patterns. This work earns them a Nobel Prize in Physics, but more importantly, it represents the first step in enabling scientists to determine the molecular structure of a compound.

1928: Franklin Griffith, a British medical officer, discovers the existence of a process now referred to transformation – the transfer of genetic information from heat-killed bacteria cells to living cells. This discovery provides the first indication that genetic material is a heat-stable chemical.

1944: The transforming agent observed by Griffith in 1928 is identified as DNA. This discovery, which was made by Oswald Avery, and his colleagues Maclyn McCarty and Colin MacLeod, is at first dismissed by many scientists who believe that DNA’s molecular structure is far too simple to be genetic material.

1949: Results of studies performed by biochemist Erwin Chargaff indicate that the composition of DNA appears to be species-specific; that is, that the amount of DNA and its nitrogenous bases varies from one species to another. Chargaff also finds that in the DNA of every species, the amount of adenine equals the amount of thymine, and the amount of guanine equals the amount of cytosine.

1950’s: Scientists Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin, Francis H. C. Crick of Britain and American James D. Watson discover the chemical structure of DNA. This discovery leads to the study of a new branch of science – molecular biology.

1953: James Watson and Francis Crick discover the molecular structure of DNA.

1962: Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins receive the Nobel Prize for determining the molecular structure of DNA.

1977: Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP), a method for identifying individuals from their DNA is discovered by Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys of Leicester University in England. Jeffreys refers to his discovery as “DNA Fingerprinting”.

1986: American chemist Kary Mullis develops a process for making copies of specific DNA strands. He refers to this process as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This discovery is important because it allows DNA to be replicated accurately and efficiently.

1988: In the UK, police use DNA profiling in the celebrated Pitchfork murder case to identify the man ultimately found guilty of brutally raping and murdering two young girls. In the same case, DNA profiling is also used to a seventeen year old suspect.

1987: Also in the UK, Robert Melias becomes the first person in history to be convicted of a crime based on DNA evidence. Not long after, Tommy Lee Andres of Florida becomes the first person in the U.S. to be convicted based on DNA evidence.

1989: Gary Dotson becomes the first person to have a conviction overturned on the basis of DNA evidence. At the time his conviction was overturned, Dotson had already served 8 years of a 25 - 50 year sentence for rape.

1989: Australia's has its first court case involving DNA evidence. After Desmond Applebee is convicted of three counts of sexual assault, he changes his defense from "I wasn't there" to "the woman consented" when a blood sample matches him to DNA extracted from blood and semen on the victim's clothes.

1989: In Melbourne, Victoria Australia, George Kaufman confesses to raping sixteen women over a four year period after he is confronted with DNA evidence.

1989: Recognizing the far-reaching implications of the continued use of DNA evidence, the United States Federal Government and several States and Canadian Territories begin to develop regulatory standards for DNA collection and handling procedures.

1992: Recognizing the need to implement standards of their own, the National Institute of Forensic Science is established in Australia. The agency’s primary roles are to sponsor and support research in forensic science, Advise on and assist with the development and co-ordination of forensic science services, gather and exchange forensic information, support, co-ordinate and conduct training programs in forensic science and conduct relevant quality assurance programs.

1995: Following amendments to the Police & Criminal Evidence Act of 1984 by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1984, The National DNA Database (NDNAD), an intelligence database, it set up. These amendments allow samples such as mouth scrapes and hair samples to be obtained for DNA analysis under the same circumstances which fingerprints are obtained. The information derived from these samples can then be searched against records held by or on behalf of the police.

1996: Mitochondrial DNA (mDNA – genetic material important for cell metabolism) evidence is used for the first time in a U.S. court. Paul Ware is convicted of the rape and murder of a four year old girl after mitochondrial DNA profiling matches him to a hair found on the body of the child.

1998: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sets up the National DNA Index System which enables city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies to electronically compare DNA profiles. In Australia, forensic laboratories agree to a common national standard for use in obtaining DNA profiles.

2000: In the UK, the Forensic Science Service discloses that the number of DNA profiles of suspects and convicted criminals on the national DNA database has reached one million. This represents approximately one third of the estimated criminally active population. Additionally, the CrimTrac Agency, a national law enforcement support initiative developed to give police ready access to information needed to solve crimes, is established in Australia. A central element to this initiative is the development of a national DNA database.

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 match.

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 Latin America.

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 Investigation.

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 efforts.

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 the world.

1999 - The FBI phases out the use of paper fingerprint cards with their new Integrated AFIS (IAFIS) site at Clarksburg, West Virginia. IAFIS will start 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, West Virginia.