Down below is a perfect example where it won't be much longer and you wouldn't be able to read anything.
Fortunately between a high resolution scan I made where I could adjust the size, contrast, and brightness of the file to help show various letters and also using a magnifying glass and tilting the page at different angles, could I finally figure out all of the names.
It also helped that I knew the family names of that area northwest of Manning, which enabled me to "see" what the name was by various letters that were legible and the length of the name.
This is another reason why I keep after people to get their old scrapbooks and collections to me to scan. I'll probably be able to figure out who some of the people are because of
my decades work on Manning area history.
Unfortunately a lot of the unidentified pictures and examples where it is difficult to read the writing/IDs will simply get thrown away by the owners of those collections.
ALSO, there are generally non-family member pictures in those collections that won't interest the person who is working on their family genealogy, so they just throw those pictures away.
Even if those non-family member pictures are identified - more than likely the owners will have NO clue as to their background and connections to Manning, BUT because I work on ALL Manning family history, and have done so for over 45 years, many times I'll be able to make those Manning connections.
So PLEASE - do NOT throw away those old pictures in your family's collection!
PLEASE let me go through your collection to digitize and preserve that history.
I know lots of family historians and genealogists think they are properly and thoroughly documenting, scanning, and preserving their collections/pictures but MOST really are NOT!
It's not that I think I know more, but I've been digitizing longer than most people and early on I figured out that working on Manning's family history supersedes my own personal family history.
Also, because I learned how to build my own computers and network, I've learned how to properly back up all of that data...again, most people think they have this topic covered but they don't.
This isn't MY ego speaking, but based on the egos of other people who really don't know how to properly preserve their history digitally and even get mad if I suggest to them to
let me scan their stuff.
HOW can it hurt to have someone else, who has worked on Manning history for all these decades and been digitizing several decades, scan and then store their family pictures and history on another backup system?
Another concern I always have is even with names written on the front, on the back, or under the picture is are they written from left to right as you would be viewing the picture.
For the group picture above the names were written one on top of the other...I initially assumed that would be left to right as the names were written from top down.
this can be dangerous, so I always try to find other pictures I have of the same person that are easily identified.
BUT this can be dangerous too...I have compared lots of different pictures over the decades in an attempt to see if a person looks like a known identified picture - then I assumed I made a correct comparison, only to find out later on by a family member who told me I was wrong. So I also try to find family members, who are old enough and hopefully knew the person in the picture, to help with IDs.
Some people will just write the names of the people in the picture but because they know who each person is they weren't worried about Left to Right, so they didn't stop to think that someone in the future won't know the faces and just assume the names were written from left to right.
Another situation I see quite often is when they write the names on back, they do so as if you were "looking through" the picture from behind to the person on the front, so that ends up being written and identified as Right to Left.
So these are just some lessons I have learned from years of working on hundreds of family collections and tens of thousands of pictures.