Do Funeral Homes Usually Take and Keep Fingerprints?

People often use the fingerprints of their loved ones after they pass to make jewelry and keepsakes. This can help them feel closer to their loved ones even though they have passed on. If you have considered this, you may wonder where you can get your loved one’s fingerprints. 

Funeral homes usually take and keep the fingerprints of the deceased. They do this for the deceased’s family, allowing them to have access to the fingerprints in case they want to do anything with them. 

Let’s talk more about funeral homes taking fingerprints and how you can get your loved one’s fingerprints for jewelry and other keepsakes. 

Does Every Funeral Home Take and Keep Fingerprints?

Not every funeral home takes fingerprints of the deceased and keeps them on file. While it is common for them to do this, there is no law requiring funeral homes to take fingerprints. So, some places simply don’t offer this service. 

Though it may seem strange, taking and keeping fingerprints is not a universal custom for funeral homes. Rather it is a courtesy extended to the deceased’s family should they wish to use them later. So, make sure you check with the funeral home to ensure they take fingerprints. 

A funeral home is where decease people who have died are prepared for burial by embalming or cremation, some funeral homes also offer caskets, funeral planning, burial plots or crypts.

The first step to ensuring you have a copy of your loved one’s fingerprints is to ask the funeral home. Whether it is something they do or not, the chances are the funeral home has heard this request before. So, don’t be hesitant because you think the request is strange. 

If the funeral home does not offer fingerprinting services, they will be able to help you figure out how to get prints. Most of the time, the funeral home will collect fingerprints upon request. If they are unable to for whatever reason, the funeral director will be able to put you in contact with someone who can help. 

How Do You Get Your Deceased Loved One’s Fingerprints?

To get your deceased loved one’s fingerprints, contact the funeral home. The funeral director will let you know if they have them on file. If they don’t, there are some other options for you to get their fingerprints. 

So, let’s talk about how to get your deceased loved one’s fingerprints, whether the funeral home has them on file or not. 

Funeral Home

Start by calling the funeral home. If they have your loved one’s fingerprints, then that ends your search. Most funeral homes will require you to come in person and bring some form of ID showing you are related to the deceased. As long as you can prove your relation, the funeral home will give you a copy of the fingerprints to use as you please. 

If your loved one recently passed and you are planning the funeral, make sure you request for the funeral home to take their fingerprints. As long as you request this before the funeral service, they should be able to do it for you. 

Old Documents

You may already have something with your loved one’s fingerprint on it. Certain documents like passports and sometimes driver’s licenses require fingerprints. So, you may already have what you need if you search through their old documents. 

Some states take fingerprints when you get your driver’s license. Their local Department of Motor Vehicles may have your loved one’s fingerprints on file. Some states require a thumbprint to assign a driver’s license. So, depending on your state’s rules regarding collecting fingerprints, they may be able to help you out. 

Police Records

This may not be an ideal way of accessing your loved one’s fingerprints, but it can be effective. If your loved one has ever dealt with the police, they may have their fingerprints on file. So, you can check with local police to see if they still have their fingerprints on file and if they will share them with you. 

Relying on police records may not get you what you want because police should be getting rid of fingerprints of suspects proven innocent. Police should also remove the deceased fingerprints from the database after they die. However, these rules aren’t always closely followed. So, you may still be able to get the prints. 

Why Do Fingerprints Need To Be Taken Before the Funeral?

Fingerprints need to be taken before the funeral because the funeral director will seal the casket after the service, and decomposition prevents accurate collection after time. 

If there is no other way to get your loved one’s fingerprints, ensure that you get them before the funeral. Otherwise, you may not be able to get them. Let’s talk about why. 

Sealed Casket

Once the funeral director finishes the funeral, they move the body to the gravesite where they bury it. During this process, they seal the casket so that the body is safe during and after the burial. Even though the cemetery can reopen a sealed casket, it is not a simple process, and you should consider them for emergencies only. 

If you want to know more about the process of reopening a sealed casket, check out our article here. Based on that article, it is easy to see that collecting fingerprints after the funeral from a sealed casket will require a lot of effort from the cemetery and funeral director. 


Another reason that you need to collect fingerprints before the funeral is decomposition. Embalming slows down the process of decomposition, but it doesn’t stop the process altogether. The longer you wait to have a funeral or collect fingerprints, the more the body will decay.

Waiting too long to collect fingerprints can mean that you can’t collect them due to decomposition. Once the body decomposes beyond a certain point, you can no longer collect fingerprints. So, it is important to collect the fingerprints of your loved one before the funeral service and before decomposition gets too far. 

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Final Thoughts

Overall, there are funeral homes that take fingerprints, but it is not a universal action. If your loved one recently passed and you want to find their fingerprints, let the funeral director know before the funeral. 

Remember, sometimes funeral homes will keep fingerprints without alerting the family. So, always call the funeral home to check if they have your loved one’s fingerprints, as they may still have them on file. 


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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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