27 April 2013

Is It What You Think It Is?

This image that appears below purports to be part of an affidavit signed by Focke J. Goldenstein and was included as an illustration in a blog post made yesterday. The green line was obviously not on the original document, but other modifications to the image were made before it was used as a blog illustration.

It is clear that the top portion of the document is missing, but what might not be so clear is that there is more missing than just the top portion. 

There was more to the affidavit that Goldenstein's statement about his name. There was additional discussion about the witness and then Goldenstein's signature appeared. The discussion about the witness was removed and Goldenstein's signature "moved." 

The omission was done to make the image smaller, and because the discussion of the witness was not germane to the posting about Focke's first name. Document extracts also leave out portions of documents that are not considered relevant to the discussion at hand.


Would you have realized that there was material after "that is his name." and before his signature if it had not been mentioned in this post?

I'm not saying that individuals intentionally publish modified images of records on their blogs. But it would not be difficult to remove something "unsavory" from a document image before posting the image to a personal blog or website.

This is one reason why a citation to an image should include the actual website where it was located in addition to the location of the original document (if known).

And this is why if I ever decide again to "edit" a document image, I'll make notations of some type on the actual image itself.

Note: this affidavit was made out by Focke J. Goldenstein in the completion of his 1880 era homestead claim in Dawson County, Nebraska. The original was obtained at the National Archives.

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