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help with war record scans

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Old 08-24-2014, 10:55 AM
David H David H is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: West Coast of Scotland
Posts: 19
Exclamation help with war record scans

Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone has any tips or secret fixes for poor scans of old war records etc. Any help or tips you could give me would be most welcomed.

I have someone that I have been working for now on and off for several years as he researches his family tree.

Up until now it has all been prints and any records that he has asked to be copied improved etc. has been the actual genuine records but now he has asked me to “work my magic “ as he puts it on some new records but they are photocopies of the original war records and they are bad copies.

I am trying to get the most out of them that I can but some are proving more troublesome than others. I have attached a copy of one of the scans for you to see what I am trying to fix as he cannot get the originals.

Thanks in advance for any advice you may be able to send my way.


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File Type: jpg Scan10023 web copy.jpg (87.8 KB, 40 views)
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Old 08-24-2014, 06:19 PM
John Wheeler's Avatar
John Wheeler John Wheeler is offline
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 559
Re: help with war record scans

Hi David

For genealogy research improving a specific image is only one approach. Having the genealogy bug here are some suggestions for you or your client.

1) Those records are typically online which makes the job a lot simpler

2) Online there are examples of very similar documents where you can extract the wording of the text of the document quite easily. A 20 second search found this similar document where I could extract most of the wording of the text (not the exact same military form yet quite close):

3) Searches on with the simple information and wildcard searches help find the persons name (your client may already have this). Looks like this is Richard Noble Nesbitt which seems to match the writing.

4) I brought the image into Adobe ACR and adjusted exposure, contrast, clarity and several other sliders to maximize readability. Then on to Photoshop CC as image, enlarged by 2000% using nearest neighbor, made it into a Smart object, then applied Gaussian blur around 7 to 9 pixels again for maximum readability. With that image an the hints from #1 to #3 most of the writing could be deciphered including that he joined right after he turned 18 in 1905, went to WWI in the Expeditionary Forces in France in 1914 and returned in 2016 due to injuries no longer being bit for War Service.

Hope the above gives you an approach or two to use.
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:18 PM
David H David H is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: West Coast of Scotland
Posts: 19
Thumbs up Re: help with war record scans

thanks for your help in this matter.

I'm used to be able to get the original documents o at the very least descent photocopies but this was terrible photocopies.

I was amazed that they would consider theses copies to be good enough to post out to someone.

I'll give your suggestions a try regarding the blur etc and see where that gets me.

thanks again for your help in this matter.


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