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  • BUD YATES (deceased)
    Yates, Bud Bud Yates - Colorado Springs Gazette – August 20, 2006 - “Uncle" Bud Yates, Local business owner of Pikes Peak Tattoo, passed away August 14, 2006 after a tragic motorcycle accident in Roswe...
  • Lotteva Davis (1910 - 1993)
    Lotteva jumped onboard the family tradition of hand-poked tattoos and started tattooing when she was just nine years old. Lotteva is one of the few career tattooists to have completely bare skin; her m...
  • August Wagner (1872 - 1941)
    GUS WAGNER "World's Champion Hand Tattoo Artist and Tattooed Man," was one of the most exuberant figures in the history of American popular culture. As tattooist and showman, he adorned thousands of cu...
  • Maud Wagner (1877 - 1961)
    Wagner was an aerialist and contortionist, working in numerous traveling circuses. She met Gus Wagner—a tattoo artist who described himself as "the most artistically marked up man in America" while tra...
  • Kat Von D.
    Kat Von D is an American tattoo artist and television personality. She was born as Katherine von Drachenberg in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Mexico on 8 March 1982.Parents: René Drachenberg, of German descent, ...

History of tattooing

Tattooing has been practiced across the globe since at least Neolithic times, as evidenced by mummified preserved skin, ancient art, and the archaeological record. The oldest discovery of tattooed human skin was found on the upper lip of a Chinchorro culture mummy from South America, dating to approximately 6000 BC, while the oldest direct evidence for tattooing in Europe is the body of Ötzi the Iceman, dating from the late 4th millennium BC. Other mummies bearing tattoos and dating from the end of the 2nd millennium BC have been discovered, such as the Mummy of Amunet from ancient Egypt and the mummies from the Pazyryk culture of Russia.

Pre-Christian Germanic, Celtic and other central and northern European tribes were often heavily tattooed, according to surviving accounts. The Picts may have been tattooed (or scarified) with elaborate, war-inspired black or dark blue woad (or possibly copper for the blue tone) designs. Julius Caesar described these tattoos in Book V of his Gallic Wars (54 BC). Nevertheless, these may have been painted markings rather than tattoos.

Various other cultures have had their own tattoo traditions, ranging from rubbing cuts and other wounds with ashes, to hand-pricking the skin to insert dyes.

It is a myth that the modern revival of tattooing stems from Captain James Cook's three voyages to the South Pacific in the late 1700s. Certainly, Cook's voyages and the dissemination of the texts and images from them brought more awareness about tattooing (and, as noted above, imported the word "tattow" into Western languages), but Europeans have gotten tattooed throughout history. On Cook's first voyage in 1768, his science officer and expedition botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, as well as artist Sydney Parkinson and many others of the crew, returned to England with tattoos, although many of these men would have had pre-existing tattoos. Banks was a highly regarded member of the English aristocracy and had acquired his position with Cook by putting up what was at the time the princely sum of some ten thousand pounds in the expedition. In turn, Cook brought back with him a tattooed Raiatean man, Omai, whom he presented to King George and the English Court. On subsequent voyages other crew members, from officers, such as American John Ledyard to ordinary seamen, got tattooed.


In the late 1800's the art of tattooing was being practiced by very few professionals in the UK. The first known British professional was D.W. Purdy, who had a shop in North London around 1870. The 1901 English Census lists two Professional Tattoo Artists, Sutherland MacDonald and Tom Riley. Based in London, England, both are considered by many to be the 'Fathers of Tattooing'. They popularised the art and made it fashionable amongst the upper-classes and even Royalty, tattooing among others King Edward VII.

George Burchett was also a leading tattoo artist in the first part of the 1900's starting his profession at the age of 12 and working at it for over 55 years. Among his clients were Kings, Queens, judges, admirals, a bishop and tens of thousands ordinary men and women. Before his death in 1953, at the age of 80, Burchett had prepared notes for a book of his memoirs. This book is a rare publication and a must for any serious tattoo enthusiast.

As most tattoos in the U.S. were done by Polynesian and Japanese amateurs, tattoo artists were in great demand in port cities all over the world, especially by European and American sailors. The first recorded professional tattoo artist in the United States was a German immigrant, Martin Hildebrandt.

He opened a shop in New York City in 1846 and quickly became popular during the American Civil War among soldiers and sailors of both Union and Confederate militaries. Hildebrandt began traveling from camp to camp to tattoo soldiers, making his popularity increase, and also giving birth to the tradition of getting tattoos while being an American serviceman. Soon after the Civil War, tattoos became fashionable among upper-class young adults. This trend lasted until the beginning of WWI.

The invention of the electric tattoo machine caused popularity of tattoos among the wealthy to drop off. The machine made the tattooing procedure both easier and cheaper, thus, eliminating the status symbol tattoos previously held, as they were now affordable for all socioeconomic classes. The status symbol of a tattoo shifted from a representation of wealth, to a mark typically seen on rebels and criminals. Despite this change, tattoos remained popular among military servicemen, and the tradition continues today. Over time tattoos have become increasingly popular in the U.S., and according to a study in 2006; nearly 25 percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and fifty have one or more tattoos.

Scope of Project

This is the place for tattoo artists of all types and from around the world.


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