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Ancestry SR unreadable - is FMP any better ???????


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MERLINV12

I have dowloaded a Service Record from Ancestry, and 90% of it is unreadable, even after tweaking in Photoshop.

 

Could someone with a FMP subscription please have a look at the quality for me please, previously things have been found to be unreadable on Ancestry, but clear on FMP.

 

Rather not pay out for a FMP subscription, only to find it is just as bad.

 

Soldier: James Thomas Griffiths. KRRC  S/N: A/1333 or 1333  DOB: 1895

 

TIA.

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voltaire60

  Unreadability is a hazard.    With the service records, it is usually because they literally are "the burnt documents".  I have had many occasions when the smudges from smoke and ash damage have translated alll to well to microfilm or digitisation- the blackness comes across particularly well!!. One wonders what on earth went on  in 1939-1941, before the Arnside Street fire, that destroyed so much- such a casual attitude to storage matched by what must have been a monumental effort to sort out the remaining burnt bits back into some sort of order.

   The problem of unreadabilitty extends far elsewhere- war diaries seem to be a particular hazard. Written in pencil, then many of them were photographed with too much light-thus, the picture is too weak to read. At least with these-as I can get to Kew- TNA will dig out the original diary from a salt mine in Cheshire and make it available at Kew.

    A further hazard is that successive technologies mean that one is looking at a copy of a copy-say, something microfilmed decades ago, where the old microfilm has been digitised rather than the uneconomic task of re-digitising the lot. Others must speak as to whether FMP are better on some things. But often there is only one source holding-that owned by TNA and licensed out- so go where you want but you will still be looking at the same scans. Both FMP and Ancestry are much better on some things as the more recent stuff has been digitised by more recent technology,with corresponding better results. AS FMP is the comparative "newbie" on the block, then  more of it's records will be of the higher quality.

   A good example of the differences in technologies across the decades is Pre-1914 Army Enlistment Records on FMP-which seem to be in high res. digital copy-and also in COLOUR.  Then compare that with the "burnt documents"-which were done in black and white-  Many a surviving service record has stuff written in pencil which does not come out well- colour would be a great aid but the cost of the exercise is prohibitive. Similarly, cesnus records in black and white copy are hindered by the enumerator's blue pencil,when the statistical sorters and markers went through the original returns. Reproduction in colour would largely overcome this. But it aint gonna happen.

    

 

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The record is damaged but I‘ve seen worse, the majority of it all seems readable to me

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Hi MERLINV12,

 

It's a bit faint in places, but pretty much of a muchness. Though I think that FMP is slightly better. For example:

 

FMP

image.png.1f68b7946af25cb8740d25707526c75a.png

 

Ancestry (Enhanced images off)

image.png.920a92a8dec3e2a0872194d36b9b1f6c.png

 

Ancestry (Enhanced images on)

image.png.d46a3d282eec5b7d828bd9fe9b53ad19.png

 

Edit:

 

FMP zooms in better

image.png.36325e2c209a5795b76c0da34692221b.png

 

image.png.96241a34a46a1f791ed2d48779d3b9f8.png

 

image.png.a5d331262e16b18f399ee55f2bd77d6f.png

 

Regards

Chris

 

 

Edited by clk
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voltaire60

Chris-exactly the page of the service records I had in mind-Very often obscure on the postings sheet,as entries all to often in pencil. Here, colour might well be a great help-the contrast against a yellow-(ish) background might make a real difference. I remember that in the interwar years a study of what colour blackboards should be in schools recommended that they should be black chalk and the boards should be yellow-as this would most closely resemble the reading of a page in a book. The brain is trained for this through life and automatically refines for "perception". Black and white confuses-well, it does for my brain at least. I have asked for a war diary to be fetched from Cheshire before and the sight of it in colour  has jerked my brain into perceiving what was on the pages I wanted.

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MERLINV12

Thanks everyone, especially Chris, looks like I need to do some more with Photoshop to see what I can reveal :)

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as well as your photo editing programme (paintshop pro fan here :-)- very old technology) try tracing over the letters. i find that for indeciferable squiggles if you follow it yourself with a pencil then sometimes the mud becomes slightly less muddy as you work out how the letters must have been formed

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