skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 202423 Find in a Library
Title: Name Is Just a Name -- Or Is It
Journal: Crime & Justice International  Volume:19  Issue:76  Dated:September/October 2003  Pages:29-32
Author(s): J. Phillip Boller Jr.
Date Published: September 2003
Page Count: 4
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Given the importance in law enforcement of the identification of persons through their names, this article discusses the formation of various proper names and offers suggestions to help police officers accurately identify individuals of cultures common in America, including Italians, Filipinos, Middle Eastern people, Nigerians, Russians and Ukrainians, Southwest Asians, Spanish-Americans, and Spanish-speaking individuals.
Abstract: For each culture, the article explains how names are constructed and may be changed or modified under various circumstances. Further, the English translation of a given name in another language may be significantly different when the person comes to live in the United States. Cultures also have different customs regarding changes in a woman's name due to marriage; for example, Italian women and most Arab women do not change their names after marriage or divorce. The concept of "maiden" and "married" names will probably be unknown to them, since they will keep their father's surname for life. In the case of Russians and Ukrainians, law enforcement officers should obtain the full and complete name, including the given name, patronymic, and surname. Also, subjects should be asked to write their names in the Cyrillic alphabet. If their name is similar to a name in question, further investigation may be warranted. A general recommendation for police officers in attempting to identify by name persons from other cultures is to have them write their entire proper name in their own handwriting. For individuals of certain cultures, it may be useful to use various combinations of the proper name when conducting inquiries. To be prepared to conduct investigative work in modern America, with its many diverse cultures-of-origin represented, law enforcement professionals must become familiar with the various customs of name identification in the ethnic groups that reside in their jurisdictions. 8 notes
Main Term(s): Police procedures training
Index Term(s): Asia; Cross-cultural analyses; Cross-cultural training; Cultural influences; Hispanic Americans; Investigative techniques; Italy; Middle East; Name identification; Nigeria; Philippines; Russian Federation; Ukraine
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.