Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fingerprints and Family

This is a great gift idea. I found a store on Etsy called Lovli Day, where artist Jessie Steury creates posters with a bare tree trunk and branches and then customizes it with your name. She then sends it to you with a couple of ink pads for stamping family fingerprints. She even makes a version for celebrating events such as weddings, reunions, or birthdays, so you can capture the fingerprints of those who attend your special event. So, unless you're friends and family are in the mob or witness protection, this is a pretty cool idea. At your next holiday gathering, think about passing the stuffing and the ink pads and create your own handmade family tree. 

This fingerprint tree made me think about the history of fingerprinting. Presently, most children are fingerprinted for security reasons, with their prints held at their local police station. But do you think it was common practice that a family in the 1930's would be fingerprinted? I haven't been able to find references to that fact in my research, for it was mostly being used for criminals or the military back then. I don't think I've ever been fingerprinted. Footprints at birth, but not fingers, right?

In March, 1932, the Lindbergh baby was kidnapped from his home in New Jersey. In 1935, nine-year old George Weyerhaeuser (of paper company fame) was kidnapped in Washington state. Was America becoming obsessed with the possibility of kidnapping that people rushed out to fingerprint their families and children? In 1936, my grandfather had his whole family fingerprinted, as you can see below. Finding these prints made me wonder...why?

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