Herschel, William James

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Herschel, William James Gender: M
born on 9 January 1833 at 06:00 (= 06:00 AM )
Place Slough, England, 51n31, 0w36
Timezone LMT m0w36 (is local mean time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_capcol.18.gif 18°49' s_mo.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 29°53 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 17°34'

William James Herschel


British Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer in India, who used fingerprints for identification on contracts. Herschel is thereby 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 1858, working as a British officer for the Indian Civil Service at Jangipur in the Bengal region of India, he started putting fingerprints on contracts.

He was 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 four children.

William James Herschel was knighted and styled 2nd Baronet. He died on 24 October 1917 at age 84.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • other kin relationship with Herschel, Caroline (born 16 March 1750). Notes: Great aunt/ nephew
  • other kin relationship with Herschel, William (born 15 November 1738). Notes: Grandkin


Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes father's diary as transcribed in Herschel at the Cape: Diaries and Correspondence of Sir John Herschel, 1834-1838 by David S. Evans, Terence J. Deeming, Betty Hall Evans, Stephen Goldfarb (University of Texas Press, 2014), page 4: "Wednesday, January 9, 1833 This morning at 6 aM our third child, a son born. M had a fine time & thank God is doing admirably well."


  • Family : Childhood : Advantaged
  • Family : Childhood : Family large (One of twelve children)
  • Family : Childhood : Order of birth (Third of twelve)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids more than 3 (Four)
  • Lifestyle : Home : Expatriate
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 84)
  • Vocation : Politics : Government employee (ICS officer)
  • Notable : Awards : Knighted
  • Notable : Famous : First in Field (Use of fingerprints)