1841 Norfolk Census
Not to show the good pages!
This is a series of samples to show the WORST

The impossible ones! - But which can be made readable using good scanning techniques.


Below: A sample from one of the very worst of the 1841 census pages. Incredibly faded pencil handwriting, and scanned from films that were virtually clear plastic!

Sally Cutler wrote:

"I wish you luck if your film copy isn’t much better than the copy I looked at in Kings Lynn. A lot of these we only managed to work out with the help of the PRs."

Rod Neep replied:

My film isn't better at all! It is the same, as there was only one filming of the 1841 census. I see what you mean when you say that it is almost clear  film ;-)  I wouldn't dream of trying to do what you did and read them from the film.... that's *difficult* .... However..... from my scans of the film (with the image enhancement) it is much easier. It also helps a *huge* amount to be able to zoom right in to see detail.

The lines and the printed words are perfectly readable, but the faded pencil is hardly visible at all on the film.... but it is on the scans. Feint... yes... but readable, when you zoom right in... definitely!

And this is what the Archive CD Books Norfolk 1841 census on CD will be like on those very worst pages.

Note the entry for "William Humphrey" - it doesn't come much worse than this! Really feint pencil writing.
HO107/770/ 6 Folio 10 (page 15)

Is it possible to read this on microfiche or film? Or on CDs from other publishers?
It IS possible on the Archive CD Books CDs of the 1841 census to read these feint pages!
(If it still appears light on your monitor, then turn down the brightness a little)

Note that as part of the scanning and image enhancement process, the background has been made grey. This is intentional, as the shade of grey of the pencil (being so light) is actually close to the grey of the paper.

The 1841 census is hard to scan. It is hard to read! But the sample above shows that it is not impossible to produce very good and readable scanned images from the poor census films.

First a little background.... take a £45,000 film scanner... and then do some experiments with a £4,000 add on widget to the film scanner to try to overcome that problem, plus extra image enhancement techniques. It worked. ;-)

That is what Archive CD Books did.


Sally wrote asking if it was possible to read what she could only guess at on the original films:

HO107 / 770 / 7 folio 4 (page 4)

>FRITTLE? Elizabeth 55 Ind
>ABLESON? Ellen ?

As you can see from the scan below - it is pretty clear!

Elizabeth TUTTLE 55
Ellen ALLEN 11

If it still appears light on your monitor, then turn down the brightness a little.

We tried to find the worst pages from that Norfolk film. Here is a part of the scan of one of those pages, reproduced at smaller than the actual scan size (the size that Archive CD Books use on their CDs  is larger - so you can zoom in to read the really difficult ones in detail. Normally you wouldn't need to view it at this size).


Can you read it?
It is a scan by Archive CD Books. Compare it with others that you have seen.

Where would you purchase your 1841 census CDs from?

If you would like a preview of the results from the WORST pages, two full pages from the Norfolk 1841 census,
HO107 / 770 / 6 folio 10 pages 15/16 (Tilney All Saints)
HO107 / 770 / 7 folio 4 pages 3/4
the full pages, to compare them with any other scanning system then :

  • Right click on the link below to download the file

  • From the drop down menu, select "Save Target As...."

  • Select a place on your hard disk to download the file.

  • Then when the download is complete, simply view the file 1841nfk1.pdf using Adobe Acrobat Reader in the normal way. REMEMBER TO ZOOM RIGHT IN TO VIEW THE DETAIL

REMEMBER : WE ARE NOT SHOWING OFF THE BEST PAGES HERE
WE ARE SHOWING OFF THE VERY WORST PAGES

Please note: if you simply click on the link with the left mouse button, the file will try to display in a window live. This may not work for many people, therefore follow the instructions above to right click on the link and select to save the file instead.

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Copyright ©2000, 2004 Rodney K P Neep. All rights reserved.
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