Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The sifting through old documents continues. I have mounds of paper all around me.

As I'm going through the stacks of old family documents that I've gathered I've been scanning them into PDF files and adding a few notes wherever I can decipher what the document contains. Because so many of the papers are badly faded I've resorted to using Photoshop rather than Adobe Acrobat. Photoshop allows me to make adjustments that make the document easier to read. It all takes time.

Yesterday I worked with an old German newspaper clipping (October 1948) that my mother had found recently. The article was clipped from a publication of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover. I learned something new! I discovered that the publisher had to get a permit number from the military government in order to be able to release this newspaper. Hanover was in the British Occupation Zone at the time. (The permit number was on the front page under the name of the publication).

Translating the title of the article was a very difficult task. I had never heard of the first word in the title. I used several online translators which spewed the word back at me without a translation. I called my mother. She had never heard of the word either but said she'd look it up. It didn't take long until she called back saying she she couldn't find anything about the word. Then she asked me the context the word had been used in. I told her it was the first word in the title whereupon she told me I had read the word incorrectly and gave me the correction. I returned to the clipping and took a much closer look. The typeset used to print the paper had a flaw in it which made the letter 'f' appear as the letter 'l'. What a difference - now the title and the article made sense.

This little episode taught me that I need to examine these documents much more closely. I know my eyesight has deteriorated a bit and I'm beginning to have difficulty with small print. I'll have to either find a magnifier to go over these papers or scan them first and then enlarge it on the computer screen in the hope of making the task of reading the documents a little easier. (Unfortunately, using Photoshop is not an option with the small print in some of my books).

 I'll be busy for a while.

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