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Reading faint text

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Old 09-12-2017, 01:57 PM
lithicacid326 lithicacid326 is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3
Reading faint text

Hello all, I have viewed this site for quite some time with my projects and have just recently decided to join. Could I get some recommendations on how to read the text on the attached image? It is on the back of a photograph with unknown people on it, but I was able to make out several words on another section. Would I be able to use Photoshop to read this? I have played around extensively with Photoshop lately.

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File Type: png 555.png (96.3 KB, 37 views)
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:06 AM
mikemorrell mikemorrell is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 26
Re: Reading faint text


I've been unable to decipher anything from the image. This is my best attempt. Maybe you can (knowing the context). I couldn't figure out how to post an image so I posted a link instead.

The steps I took in Photoshop were:
1. Add a B&W filter
2. Add a Levels filter and adjust it to the real black and white values
3. Add a Curves filter (contrast) to increase the difference between black/grey (handwriting) and white (no handwriting).

For this kind of query, I recommend you join It's a genealogy forum with sub-forums for both photo restoration and handwriting recognition. I'm a member and I'm sure you'll find people who are as interested in old documents/photos as you are.


Last edited by mikemorrell; 09-15-2017 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 09-16-2017, 11:51 AM
John Wheeler
Posts: n/a
Re: Reading faint text

Hi lithicacid326
I think I made some decent progress on the words in your image. Here is my attempt. I could read several of the words. Knowing the context usually helps decipher the words.

Note - It would be much easier to a better result with a higher resolution image in TIFF 16 bit format and not compressed JPEG. I could give it a better try if you have a better starting image file and share it on an image sharing site (as this site limits the image to 100k unless a member). Just a suggestion

Hope that helps.

John Wheeler
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File Type: jpg enhance-writing-jkw.jpg (84.6 KB, 21 views)
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Old 09-17-2017, 12:42 AM
lithicacid326 lithicacid326 is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3
Re: Reading faint text

Hello and thank you all so much for working on my photo. I am so appreciative and amazed at what you were able to do to it! I have a 2.5 mb scan of the back of the photo and yes the file size limit on this website made it difficult!

Here is the full scan:

Thanks again for your assistance in this project. I tried to replicate what you (John Wheeler) did and was able to make more progress that I had in the past, but I cannot reveal the crossed out words as well as you could. One of the few words that I could make out was Muhlenberg KY. I believe that some of the names are Fogarty . Some distant relatives of mine from KY were Fogartys.
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