Juan Vucetich was born on July 20, 1858 in Lessina, Croatia; and at the age of 24 emigrated to Argentina.
Juan Vucetich created the most flawless system of fingerprints classification. Fingerprints were discovered centuries ago and it was known that there does not exist two individuals with similar fingerprints; but at that moment, no system able to identify an individual had been implemented. Until 1890, the technology used for the people's individualization was the anthropometric method designed by French policeman Bertillion, based on the size of the bodies, heads and limbs and was used for investigations by the French police in 1882.
Argentine police considered necessary to create a
department that would take care of identifying individuals and commissioned doctor Augusto P. Drago to study the method in
the basis established by Bertillion. After
his studies and report, the Police of the City of Buenos Aires created a
division dedicated to anthropometric identification. It was within the Police of the Province of Buenos Aires where the
took place. While Drago was establishing the
anthropometric identification in Buenos Aires, Vucetich was investigating the
fingerprints in La
Vucetich's intense study using Francis Galton's research, led him to confirm that fingerprints could be classified by groups. While he was heading the Office of Anthropometric Identification, he was able to obtain a large number of fingerprints and in 1891 he created a method of identification by means of digital impressions. He also invented the necessary elements to obtain the best possible quality of fingerprints and implemented every resource to systematize the method.
The new recognition
procedure was called "Icnofalangometría" or "Galtonean Method",
and consisted of 101 types of fingerprints that Vucetich personally classified based
on Galton's incomplete taxonomy. On September 1, 1891, Vucetich's method began to be applied officially for the individualization of
The insight obtained by the police department through Vucetich's simple and efficient fingerprinting identification method encouraged the government to widen the filiations procedure and in 1900, the first identification cards were issued. The Argentine method was widely spread all over the world for being scientifically efficient and superior to the existing methods.
Every time he improved his methods and/or theories, Vucetich published a bulletin with all his findings, and eventually, his experimental works were translated in the book called "General Instructions for the Anthropometric System and Digital Impressions".
His work "Dactiloscopía Comparada" came out in 1904 and is considered to be his masterpiece that led him to receive awards and honors around the world.
His work and perseverance went beyond his commitment. He made investigational trips to India
and China trying to find out the origins of identification by
means of the fingerprints, he attended scientific congresses and
published numerous books based on his findings.
He donated his files and his library to the Faculty of Judicial and Social Sciences of the
National University of La Plata, which served to
create the museum that bears his name.
He died on January 25, 1925 in the city of Dolores, province of Buenos Aires.