John Doe in other countries and languages... How do you name unidentified corpses?

(A poll with a GQ flavor, or a GQ with a poll flavor)

In the U.S., it is customary for hospitals, police, and coroners to refer to unknown dead bodies as “John Doe” or “Jane Doe”. In a big city, they often number them: “John Doe #57

How is this done in other countries and other languages?

Jean D’eau?

Jean Val Jean?

Russians traditionally use “Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov.”

John Deere?

As far as I know, they aren’t named here.

I recall from somewhere that in Vietnam it’s “Nguyen Van Nguyen”.

I’m not aware of any official nomenclature in the UK. However, well-known or long-standing cases often ‘acquire’ a name - example of a child’s torso named ‘Adam’. These tend to be names initially used unofficially within the police investigation.

I’m also not certain, so please correct me if I’m wrong…
I remember a professor mentioning that in Mexico, ‘Juan Diego’ is analogous to John Doe - as an anonymous, nonspecific name only though; I have no idea if the name has any official uses. (It was mentioned in discussion of the Virgen of Guadalupe - the native that spoke to her was named Juan Diego.)

To project a bit of uncalled for topicality into the discussion… :slight_smile:
If we’re talking about a serious situation (such as a dead person would certainly be), then, in Hebrew, it would porbably be “Almoni” (“nameless” - אלמוני )

[ In slightly “lighter” situation – such as made-up scenarios (you know – “So John Doe just got himself a new car…”), it’s often “Yisrael Yisraeli” (ישראל ישראלי ) ]


I read somewhere that the Russian nickname for the Devil is Ivan Ivanovich. I think that’s interesting.

A question for the OP - do corpses really get labelled ‘John Doe #22’ etc? Or is this just a CSI convention?

I’m not the OP but I know that in my county at least, they are numbered. Luckily we rarely get into double digits.

Is there really anyone with the last name Doe, I wonder? Archives!

I know I’ve met at least one. Why would there not be such a surname? It certainly would have established itself long before modern corpse identification!

I think that they really do. I only watch the non-fiction types of crime shows, and they frequently make references to names like “John Doe #22 for 2004 in Los Angeles County”, often showing documents on screen that certainly look official and bear the numbered Doe moniker.

Noone Special, I actually did intend to focus more on the unnamed body aspect. A couple of years ago I posted a thread asking how one says “Tom, Dick, and Harry” in other languages.

Yes, it is. Of course “Ivan Ivanovich” translates to “John, son of John.”

I don’t know about the morgue but the last name Doe is used in some hospital ERs for patients that come in unconscious and without identification. The last one I worked at we had on hand patient IDs for Does with first names starting A-Z. You have to be able to distinguish various unidentified patients so you just work your way through the alphabet. It was fairly routine to have an accident victim come in as a Doe and then have hospital ID changed to their real name as it became available.