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Can a photo copy of a document be restored

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  #1  
Old 10-22-2010, 12:42 PM
socrates2k1 socrates2k1 is offline
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Question Can a photo copy of a document be restored

Hi, I'm brand new to this forum, but thought I would jump right in, with my first Q?

I found this site, by doing a search for "restoring old documents"

I do genealogy, as a hobby, and have a particular document that I need very much to be able to restore the writing.
It's a very old document, written back in 1782, so I do not have the actual document itself, I have a photo copy of the document in question.

It's a Will, of one of my ancestors, written in ink, back in 1782.

What's confusing, is much of the ink has faded over time, only the bottom 1/3 of the Will is still readable (i.e. the ink didn't fade), why only this section remains, is not really clear.

The top 2/3 of the Will does remain, however is very faded, it remains, but is difficult to read.

Is it possible, using my scanner, to use software to possibly bring out the writing that has been lost?

I'm praying that the Will, can tell me something more, about the man and his family, perhaps even name, even one, of his children by specific name.

I do have the software Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 & 8.
Would either of these software programs be useful?

If not, is there a software program I might be able to find online (i.e. free software) that might be able to help?

My scanner is part of my HP6500 Series All-in-One, fyi.

Your thoughts and suggestions are requested.

Thank you for your time, consideration, and cooperation, I truly appreciate it.

Sincerely,

--Socrates2k1
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2010, 04:17 PM
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aartist aartist is offline
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Re: Can a photo copy of a document be restored

You may want to post the photo copy of will,
to let others have a looks and be in better position to give an opinion.
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Old 10-22-2010, 06:25 PM
socrates2k1 socrates2k1 is offline
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Question Re: Can a photo copy of a document be restored

The Will is a large document, how do I shrink it to only 100 kb?
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Old 10-22-2010, 07:35 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Can a photo copy of a document be restored

You could crop out just a small section which is representative of the problem, or you could upload the hi res document to a file sharing website and post a link to it in this thread.
Regards, Murray
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:34 PM
socrates2k1 socrates2k1 is offline
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Re: Can a photo copy of a document be restored

Here is a small part of the document in question.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg JacobsWill2010_edited-1.jpg (95.7 KB, 82 views)
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:35 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Can a photo copy of a document be restored

hi socrates,
and welcome to RP.

what i can make out is "[something] be himself to be an atonement" is the best i can do.

what you want is to use contrasting type tools like curves, tone mapping, fade correction, shadows/midtones/highlights, levels and anything else you can try. the problem is that the ink has faded while the noise has increased and they have about the same rgb value so you end up contrasting the paper between both those other things and you really only want to bring out the ink. you could try some noise reduction, but it's not going to do it all and if you do it too much you end up blurring the whole thing.

you could also try some hand work, painting on what you can see of the letters and erasing or painting white over the non-ink parts. the problem with that is you have to have a fair idea of what is ink and what is not and it's very easy to sort of dub in the wrong answers there.

but, it can be helped. i couldnt make out the first few letters well enough to make a guess, but i could read a fair amount of it. it didnt make complete sense to me, what i read, so i may have some of it wrong.

hang in there and some other folks will likely show up and work on this, too.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:21 AM
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aartist aartist is offline
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Re: Can a photo copy of a document be restored

I would like to see it posted in full to a file sharing website.
English writing was somewhat different back in those days too.
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Old 10-23-2010, 12:57 PM
TEastman TEastman is offline
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Re: Can a photo copy of a document be restored

I happen to be a genealogist too. I've found Photoshop very useful. As already mentioned, you will have to try different methods to see what works. A simple method I found was to simply invert the image (black where white goes and vice versa) and viewing the image closely on screen.

Todd
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:08 PM
freddie freddie is offline
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Re: Can a photo copy of a document be restored

It sounds a bit strange, and even counterproductive... but try adding just a bit of Gaussian blur to it. Around the 1.0 - 1.5 range. The eye is a very tricky thing.
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