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Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

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  • Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

    I'm trying to read the faded handwriting on this inside-front-cover scan from a very old family Bible. I've tried adjusting the color curves, but can't quite get it to a readable state. Any suggestions or attempts?

    Thank you very much!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

    Turn it this way
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

      Also, upload a high-quality version (preferrably 16-bpc scan in lossless quality) if possible and link it. That helps in cases like this.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

        The full-size full-resolution rotated-clockwise image can be downloaded at http://i.imgur.com/aTZcBH6.jpg

        It's so tempting...to be able to almost be able to read words but not quite!

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        • #5
          Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

          If you could scan it and save it to a lossless format (NEVER EVER JPEG! It damages the image.) then you could try this plugin:
          http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6...lugin/main.htm
          I don't have the full version so I haven't tested, but it might be helpful.

          Here I've tried to trace some of the lines I could see:
          http://i.imgur.com/0A5ZO1X.jpg
          http://i.imgur.com/xxMYmJX.png

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          • #6
            Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

            Tracing out the lines has been very helpful, Chain. Thank you for doing that.

            By switching quickly between the original and your version, probable extensions to your lines can be seen and I've been adding those. I still don't have many full words, unfortunately, just letters.
            Last edited by Restret; 05-26-2013, 04:28 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

              I don't know if this helps or not
              I tried duplicating the layer 2x with multiply blend, then hue/sat desaturating the red. then brightness contrast. I didn't try channel mixer but the green channel seemed to lighten the image the best - so could also be worth trying as well - different combinations seem to show up different letters
              A bit of a guess but I think the top line is
              Jessie ? (possibly)Margerite,
              ...................?
              and not a............
              Res........
              ........Pohi?.......R...?St....te
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

                .....call CSI

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                • #9
                  Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

                  Indeed, call in forensics!
                  Your best chance is to obtain a high quality scan: preferably a lossless compression PNG image. I also noticed parts of the image are out of focus.
                  Once you have that image feel free to post it and I will have a go at it with the color deconvolution plug-in from 4N6site.com. It is designed to separate colors, remove stains, crossed-out text, silvering, etc. Very useful in photorestoration and examination of faded writing.
                  It was mentioned above by Chain and it is permanently available via 4N6site.com.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

                    Thank you for the offer, 4N6site !
                    Here is a link to a 6MB PNG scan of the Bible page.
                    http://imgur.com/7FZccpp
                    Good luck!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

                      The link lead me to a 600kb JPG, not a 6Mb PNG, but I have tried anyway.
                      It did not work as well as usual. Apart from the image quality it seems that the shadow effects produce a color that in this case is so similar to the pencil markings that even the color deconvolution plug-in has a hard time separating them.
                      Still, check it out and make sure you get some knowledge about what could be there (family names etc), and do try tracing bit by bit as well.
                      Enjoy your forensic exploration!
                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

                        I did some more work on the full image with the color deconvolution plug-in, and it really is a bit better.
                        Knowing more about the history surrounding this item you should be able to make out some more text!
                        Attached Files

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                        • #13
                          BIG IMPROVEMENT: Unreadable Handwriting Old Bible

                          Thank you, 4N6site! The "color de-convolution" plug-in did make a substantial improvement in readability of the 6MB PNG file that I sent you. I don't know what the words mean, but I will send the image to the individual who owns the Bible and hope he understands them.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

                            Sorry I lost track of this thread.
                            Looked at it again and think I can read a bit more.
                            But I have not been able to get the 6MB .png file through the imgur link.
                            Is it just me or is there only a jpg file?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Unreadable Handwriting in Old Family Bible

                              OK, apparently I did work on that already. Just stared a bit more at it now. Keep in mind all of this could just be fantasy, and once I mention words you will start seeing them even if maybe they were never there:

                              Jesse Webb the father
                              ... ... ... ...
                              and not a much
                              Respected man he
                              ... John Jacob Astor

                              That last name is a very famous one, but up to John Jacob A... it seems to be pretty clear. Is it possible with the time this thing came from?
                              Would love to hear more about this!

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