Sir William Herschel, 2nd Baronet: British forensic scientist (1833 - 1917) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Sir William Herschel, 2nd Baronet
British forensic scientist

Sir William Herschel, 2nd Baronet

Sir William Herschel, 2nd Baronet
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro British forensic scientist
A.K.A. William James Herschel, Sir William James Herschel, 2nd Baronet
Was Magistrate Biologist Scientist Physiologist
From United Kingdom
Field Biology Law Science
Gender male
Birth 9 January 1833, Slough, United Kingdom
Death 24 October 1917, Hawkhurst, United Kingdom (aged 84 years)
Star sign Capricorn
Mother: Lady Margaret Brodie Stewart
Father: John Herschel
Siblings: Alexander Stewart Herschel
Children: Margaret Eliza Emma HerschelEmma Dorothea HerschelSir John Charles William HerschelArthur Edward Hardcastle Herschel
Sir William Herschel, 2nd Baronet
The details (from wikipedia)


Sir William James Herschel, 2nd Baronet (9 January 1833 – 24 October 1917) was a British ICS officer in India who used fingerprints for identification on contracts.

Personal life

He was born in Slough in Buckinghamshire (now Berkshire), the third child (of twelve) and the eldest son (of three) of the astronomer, John Herschel. His younger brothers were Alexander Stewart Herschel and John Herschel the Younger.

On 19 May 1864 he married (Anne) Emma Haldane, youngest daughter of Alfred Hardcastle of Hatcham House, Surrey. She died at the birth of their second son, having borne him 4 children:

  • Margaret Eliza Emma Herschel (1865-1880)
  • Emma Dorothea Herschel (1867-1954)
  • Reverend Sir John Charles William Herschel, 3rd Baronet (1869 - 1950)
  • Arthur Edward Hardcastle Herschel (1873-1924)

He lived at Warfield in Berkshire. Upon his death the baronetcy passed to his son.


Fingerprints taken by Herschel 1859/60

Herschel is credited with being the first European to note the value of fingerprints for identification. He recognized that fingerprints were unique and permanent. Herschel documented his own fingerprints over his lifetime to prove permanence. He was also credited with being the first person to use fingerprints in a practical manner. As early as the 1850s, working as a British officer for the Indian Civil Service in the Bengal region of India, he started putting fingerprints on contracts.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 15 Apr 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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