Sometimes we forget how good we have it today. Take the simple idea of wearing identification in name badge holders, for example. It wasn't always so easy. In ancient times, some cultures used a rather drastic and permanent method for proof of identity -- tattooing.
Tattoos may be trendy today, as fashion or as allegiance reminders, but in early history, they were used for more mundane business. Tattoos have been found on mummies dating to as early as 2,000 B.C. These markings not only reveal an individual's name but status as well (for palace women not of noble blood). Did those women wander to the local tattoo parlor for their identification? No, they got them from the local smith, who used iron needles wedged in wooden handles, the tip dipped in some mysterious black pigment.
The ancient Egyptians were not the only culture to use tattoos for identification. Tattoos also can be found in many cultures across the world, at some point or another. The Romans employed tattooing to identify and prevent desertion of hired mercenaries in their ranks. Other civilizations mostly used them to brand criminals or, on the other hand, to distinguish their warrior-heroes. It varied from culture to culture, but it was widespread.
On a side note, the idea of just fingerprinting individuals is something that didn't happen until around a century ago. Nobody noticed until then that no set of fingerprints was the same. I'm betting the Egyptian women and Roman mercenaries might have chosen that instead of permanent ink. It certainly would have been less painful!
So it's always good to be grateful for such basic concepts as a written name in name badge holders. Unless you really, really like tattoos. To each their own, but I’ll take I.D. over ink any day.