# Secondary Classification of Fingerprints With Small Letter Grouping: Rules and Worksheet

Secondary Classification is a subset of Henry Fingerprint System where patterns on index fingers are assigned by capital letters. Their values are set after the primaries in the classification line. In some special cases, a special extension to secondary i.e. small-letter grouping is used.

Before jumping on how to calculate the value of a fingerprint’s secondary classification system, let’s take a look at the rules and secondary value system.

Later, I’ll show you how to calculate small letter grouping.

## Rules for Secondary Classification

• Numerator: Right Index (finger 2)
• Denominator: Left Index (finger 7)
• Position: placed immediately right to primary classification column.
• Patterns: All patterns (mostly 5 common patterns)
• Values: Capital Letter
• Using all common patterns, 25 possible combinations.

## Secondary Classification Values

Capital letters designation is used for all the commonly encountered patterns. These are listed in the following table.

## How to Calculate Secondary Classification Value?

Let’s calculate the value of a secondary classification number using the following example.

### Step 1: Identify Patterns

You can learn the rules for filling a 10-digit card while classifying fingerprints by following the link.

• Right Index finger: Left Slant loop (Radial loop)
• Left Index finger: Left Slant loop (Ulnar loop)

### Step 2: Assign Values

• Right Index finger: Radial loop= R
• Left Index finger: Ulnar loop= U

### Step 3: Representing in Henry Classification Line

• Numerator: Right Index= R
• Denominator: Left Index= U

This is how it looks in the henry classification system

## Secondary Small Letter Grouping

When it comes to small letter grouping, there is always confusion while categorizing them.

Many of the authors classified small lettered groups as a part of the secondary division while others considered it in the sub-secondary division of the Henry classification system of fingerprints.

Nonetheless, their values are always registered with the secondary classification number, regardless of the division in which they are classified.

### Highlighting Pointers

• Fingers Used: Other than the Index finger
• Patterns: Plain Arches, Tented Arches, and Radial loops
• Values: Small letter
• Numerator: Right hand
• Denominator: Left hand
• Position: With secondary division number

### When Small Letter Groups are Used?

They are majorly employed when a plain arch, tented arch, or radial loop is present in fingers other than index fingers. As per the FBI database, there 7 to 10% of patterns use small letter grouping.

Moreover, when classifying fingerprints with small letter grouping, both sub secondary classification and major division are omit-out.

But…Why sub secondary and major divisions not used with small letters grouping?

Because major and sub-secondary values depend on the ridge tracing and ridge counting of fingers. This can’t be possible with arches and tented arches. However, if all of them are loops, it may be possible to include them, but again it is extremely unlikely.

That is the reason why they completely (as a whole) omitted irrespective if there is a loop or not.

### Values of Small Letter Grouping Secondary Classification

In small lettered grouping, small letters are used which are given as:

• Arches= a
• Tented arches =t
• Absence of ‘a’, ‘r’, and ‘t’ = hyphen (-)

Note 1: In other words, the appearance of the ulnar loop and whorls is indicated by a hyphen (-).

#### Rules While Using Small Letter Fingerprint Grouping

There are four rules:

Rule 1: Values are assigned based on their occurrence

• While writing the small letter, the values are placed before and after the secondary values as per their occurrence.
• Before Secondary Value: Thumb values
• After Secondary Value: Middle, ring, and little finger values

Rule 2: Only 3 Types of patterns are used as small letters

• Arches= a
• Tented arches =t

Rule 3: Patterns Other than 3 common types

1. Hyphen (-) is used for the absence of ‘a’, ‘r’, or ‘t’.
2. In other words, a hyphen is assigned for in-between ulnar loops and whorls i.e. ulnar loops and whorls for the middle and ring finger.
3. Thumb and little fingers with ulnar loops and whorls are omitted.
4. If there are two consecutive ulnar loops or whorls on the middle and ring finger, they are only indicated by a single hyphen (-).
5. If there are no in-between loops and whorls, their values are omitted.

Rule 4: For more than one Consecutive a, t, r

If more than one plain arch, tented arch, or radial loop appears consecutively, instead of writing it double alphabetically, they are replaced by a number followed by a small letter. For more illustration, check practice set #2 (later in the post).

### Calculation for Small Letter Grouping

This is how small-lettered grouping is calculated in accordance with secondary classification.

For example: let’s say, if the fingerprint has the following patterns:

Identifying Fingerprint Patterns

Right Hand

• Thumb= Plain Arch
• Index*= Whorl
• Middle= Tented Arch
• Ring= Ulnar Loop
• Little= Ulnar Loop

Left Hand

• Thumb= Ulnar loop
• Index*= Ulnar loop
• Middle= Ulnar loop
• Ring= Plain arch
• Little= Ulnar loop

#### Step 1: Writing Small Letters

Right Hand

• Thumb= Plain Arch =a
• Index*= Whorl = W (Secondary no.)
• Middle= Tented Arch= t
• Ring= omitted (rule #3.5)
• Little= omitted (rule #3.5)

Left Hand

• Thumb= omitted (rule #3.3)
• Index*= Ular= U (Secondary no.)
• Middle= Ulnar loop = – (hyphen for in-between ulnar loops and whorls)
• Ring= Plain arch= a
• Little= omitted (rule #3.3)

#### Step 2: Representing with Secondary Number

• Numerator= aWt
• Denominator= U-a

The following is the small lettered grouping with secondary division in Henry classification number:

## Secondary With Small Letter Group in Amputated and Scarred Fingers

### A. Scarred Fingerprints

The following table is only used for secondary and small letter grouping in case of scarred fingerprints.

Note 2: If fingers are bandaged, prints are taken after healing. If healing leads to scars, the values are given by the above-scarred rules.

### B. Amputated Fingers

Following table is strictly for secondary and small letter classification of fingerprints for amputated fingers.

## Worksheet for Secondary & Small Letter Groups

### Practice Set #1: More than one ‘a’, ’r’, or ‘t’

Following is data extracted from a 10-digit card. Check the dedicated article on what are the rules for fill a 10-digit card.

Step 1: Writing Small Lettered Grouping

Step 2: Representing them with Secondary Number

Here, except for the index finger, there is more than one small letter arch next to each other. So, instead of writing ‘tt’, ‘2t’ is registered.

• Numerator: aW2t
• Denominator: U-a

This is how Henry’s fingerprint number would be represented.

Note 3: If small letter grouping in the secondary is there, both sub secondary and major division is omit-out.

### Practice Set #2

Following is the extracted data from the 10 digit card.

Step 1: Writing Small Lettered Values

Right Hand

• Thumb= Whorl = Not included (whorl and ulnar loop of thumb are omitted)
• Index*= Radial loop = R (Secondary no.)
• Middle & Ring = Whorl= – (single hyphen for both whorls)
• Little= Plain arch= a

Note 4: If in the above case, little finger also has a whorl or ulnar loop, no hyphen is substituted because there is no ‘a’, ‘r’, or ‘t’ in between them.

Left Hand

• Thumb= Plain arch = a
• Index*= Ular= U (Secondary no.)
• Middle= Ulnar loop = – (hyphen for in between ulnar loops and whorls)
• Ring= Plain arch= a
• Little= Whorl= Not included  (whorl and ulnar loop of thumb are omitted)

Step 2: Representing them with Secondary Number

• Numerator: R-a
• Denominator: aU-a

### Practice Set #3

Following are the values extracted from the 10 digit card.

Step 1: Writing Small Lettered Grouping

Step 2: Representing them with Secondary Number

• Numerator: aW-t
• Denominator: Ur-t

### Practice Set #4

Following are the values extracted from the 10 digit card.

Step 1: Writing Small Lettered Grouping

Step 2: Representing them with Secondary Number

• Numerator: tUart
• Denominator: rUta

1. What fingers are involved in secondary classification?

In secondary classification, two fingers are involved, namely finger numbers 2 and 7. They are also known as the right and left index fingers.

2. What fingers are used in small letter grouping?

All fingers except index fingers. So, fingers number 1,3,4,5,6,8,9, and 10 are used for small lettered grouping with secondary classification.

3. Where do the values of the secondary classification fall in the henry classification number?

The value of secondary classification is placed immediately after the primary classification. Additionally, small lettered values are also conjoined with secondary division.

4. What patterns are included in secondary classification?

All patterns are included here. Some common patterns such as plain arch (A), tented arch (T), ulnar loop (U), radial loop (R), and whorl (W). Uncommon patterns such as double loop (D), central pocket loop whorl (C), and accidental loops(X) are also included.

5. What patterns are included in small lettered grouping in secondary classification?

Patterns such as plain arch (a), tented arch (t), radial loop (r) are used for small lettered grouping. In addition, for in-between whorls and ulnar loop (on middle and ring finger), hyphen (-) is used.