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The Radley Forensic Document Laboratory

dating documents forensics

There are no reliable methods of predicting from the writing whether the author was male or female, or right-handed or left-handed. An ink chemist can determine which of these chemical date tags, if any, are present in an ink and then consult a reference database to determine the year of production. Machines may acquire individualizing characteristics to varying degrees due to use or misuse, damage, and general wear. The location is always selected with an eye towards causing the least disturbance to any handwriting or other document evidence that may be present. His initial research, observations and publication gave rise to the current approach for testing ink age. Check writers, also known as check protectors, may be identified as to manufacturer by its mechanism and typeface design, and individualized by accidental characteristics resulting from damage and wear and tear. Our experienced fiber science team, led by Walter Rantanen, has developed an international reputation for paper and document forensics.

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What is Forensic Document Examination

dating documents forensics

In attempting to either disguise one's own writing or imitate that of another, the briefer the body of writing the easier it is to continue the disguise. If an ink is completely dry, it has been on the paper for more than three to four years. Qualifications of a Forensic Document Examiner A Forensic Document Examiner must have a sound basic education through the baccalaureate degree. LaPorte has published several scientific papers in the area of forensic document examination and authored three textbook chapters in the Forensic Chemistry Handbook Chemical Analysis Techniques Used in Forensic Document Examinations , The Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences Documents, Forgeries and Counterfeits , and Forensic Chemistry Fundamentals and Applications Chemical Analysis for the Scientific Examination of Questioned Documents. The reason for the date code is so that Southworth can tell what year the paper was made.

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Forensic Examination Services

dating documents forensics

During the natural ageing process of each sample, which had a known age, the research team analysed the evolution in the various volatile components. What is more, the new technique reduces the number of punctures needed to analyse the writing on a document to just one. Dating a Document through Watermarks By: Marvin H. There are various libraries of information available concerning when papers were produced but these rely very heavily on the presence of a watermark in the paper. Inks contain chemical solvents that evaporate and generally go through a drying process that can last up to 2 years.

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Dating A Document Through Watermarks, M. Dawson

dating documents forensics

It should be understood that questioned documents is a valid and legitimate field of study as a discipline in forensic examinations and identification. Definition of a Document A document may be broadly defined as anything that bears marks, signs, or symbols which have meaning or conveys a message to someone. The dynamic approach is very useful in determining if a pen ink was placed on a document on its purported date, i. Walter Rantanen has developed a large database of paper with known ages. This is due to the nature of handwriting in that, while the forger is attempting to imitate the writing habit of another person, the forger is, at the same time, suppressing his own writing habit, thereby disguising his own writing.

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Document Examination Expert Witnesses :: JurisPro :: Documents & Handwriting Experts & Consultants

dating documents forensics

Like must be compared to like: printing to printing and cursive to cursive, with comparable letters, letter combinations, words, and numerals. What is Forensic Document Examination? But this technique is also able to overcome other stumbling blocks relating to the amount of ink deposited when writing and the type of paper used, as these variables hamper the dating of a document by means of traditional methods. The types of pen, printers etc may be significant in assessing the date of a document and as with many of the dating techniques, the evidence is often more valuable or significant when an anachronism is established as opposed to compliance with other materials, papers etc which may have been available for a prolonged period of time. Forensic document examiners conduct examinations on a wide variety of evidence. These chemical tests, which will determine when an ink was placed on a document, have been particularly useful in assessing the timing of en- tries in medical records, billing documents. He has a degree in Chemistry from Michigan State University and deals primarily with the dating of documents and the dating of inks.

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The Radley Forensic Document Laboratory

dating documents forensics

Likewise, the team that has developed this new method has managed to obtain results using minimal amounts taken from the document. Once ink is placed on paper it takes three to four years for it to dry completely. Evidence that may not be visible to the naked eye can be destroyed by handling. A destructive technique is used for this examination, i. These are often very tricky questions to answer and frequently arise in judicial contexts.

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Document Examinations

dating documents forensics

Watermarks frequently establish the authenticity or spuriousness of the questioned document s , the genuineness of which may depend on the date of the watermark or more importantly the date mark on the watermark. More accurate, less invasive After observing this natural evolution and once the base guideline had been established, the next challenge to be overcome was to check the viability of the method using spontaneously written documents whose exact age was known, such as diaries, laboratory logs and judicial evidence from judicial processes that had been closed. The pinholes themselves are not typically easily visible unless the document is held up to light, and the testing has no negative effect on handwriting analysis. A new method that determines the age of a document in a less invasive way than other techniques and is also able to date documents up to five years old. Other aspects of documents relating to defects in features such on printed or typewritten document, the presence of trash marks or incidental marks on photocopies or laser prints etc may also yield valuable information concerning the dating of the document. Dating of Documents Comparative analysis of a particular document against other documents from the same source and the same period may be of assistance in determining the relative date of documents or may identify a particular time frame in which a particular organisation used a particular paper type, printer, fax machine etc. The ink chemist then compares these rates and ratios to those of known dated samples from an extensive library of known inks of various ages.


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Global Forensics

dating documents forensics

Classically, indented writing was identified and deciphered by means of low angle oblique light and photography. Documents bearing such entries may be single page documents or bound documents, such as journals, calendars or diaries. The document was submitted for probate in 2001. The newer the ink, the more accurately the date can be determined. Southworth has received numerous calls asking if we can determine when a particular sheet of our paper was made.

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Forensic Examination Services

dating documents forensics

Detection and Decipherment of Obliterations and Alterations: These examinations are performed in order to detect whether a portion of a document has been altered, some portion rendered not readily visible, or some text added. The typical raining period is two years of study and practical experience in an established questioned documents laboratory where the examiner trainee studies the basic literature, completes study projects, becomes familiar with the role of forensic sciences in general and questioned documents in particular as they relate to the legal system. Indented writing is very useful as a form of connecting evidence, such as tying a robbery note to a writing pad recovered from a suspect. The image is examined by viewing on a monitor, and digital image processing through a computer. With this method the forensic analysis determines the components in the ink, compares them against a library of standards and then allows an opinion regarding the first date that particular ink was manufactured commercially available.

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Document Examinations

dating documents forensics

A Forensic Science Practice Dealing Exclusively in the Forensic Examination of Signatures, Handwriting and the General Forensic Examination of Documents Our Practice is the longest established private independent laboratory in Great Britain dealing with the examination of questioned documents. It was especially profitable in those earlier times of general public illiteracy. Other disputed signatures include those which are genuine but which were disguised, or written in some illegible manner, by the writer for the purpose of later deniability; and signatures which, though genuine, the author either has no memory of executing or is unwilling to accept as genuine. Southworth has been using date codes on most of our watermarked grades since at least 1941. Many cases that come into the ink laboratory are related to suspected alterations or fabrications of records and journal entries.

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