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Questioned Document Examination Reviewer

3rd Century A.D. - The earliest handwriting examination cases reported.

6th Century - the Roman Emperor Justinian dictated guidelines for the

use of handwriting comparisons in Roman courts.

1873 - the year in which the first commercially successful

typewriter was introduced.

Addition - inserting or modifying clause or sentence in a document

to alter its meaning.

Substitution - replacing original entries or writing with


Albert Sherman Osborn - became the pre-eminent American pioneer in

the field when he authored "Questioned Documents," a seminal work in

scientific document analysis that remains in print and in use. He

founded the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners in 1942.

Alfred Dreyfus - A French army officer, accused of treason through

letters found attempting to sell French secrets to Germany.

Later found that Dreyfus did not write the letters.

Alignment - relation of successive characters or letter of a word,

signature or line of writing to an actual or imaginary base line.

Alphabet - is a standard set of letters (basic written symbols or

graphemes) which is used to write one or more languages based on the

general principle that the letters represent phonemes (basic

significant sounds) of the spoken language.

Alteration - any change made on a document before, during, or after

its original execution.

Methods of Alteration

1. Mechanical

2. Chemical

Arrangement - habitual placing and positioning of letters and words.

Casting - was one method used to produce counterfeit coins in Britain

and America during the colonial period. Basically it consisted of

melting metal and then pouring the molten liquid into a mold having

a reservoir in the shape of a coin.

Class Characteristics - common to a group of people. Learned from

school or from an individual's parent or tutor.

Class Characteristics are similarities between individuals who learned

the same type of writing systems.

Individual Characteristics - highly personal or peculiar to a

particular writer. Influenced by habit, mindset, personal

preference. It identifies an individual from other writers.

Types of Individual Characteristics

1. Skill level - the way a writing looks.

2. Slant - is the angle of writing.

3. Form - is the way a writer makes a letter or movement of

letters. Most basic individual characteristic and is very

important to QDE.

4. Movement - is the way a pen moves in order to make a mark or

form a letter. This can help distinguish the difference in

form. 2 letters can be the same, but made in a different way.

5. Proportions - is the symmetry of an individual letter.

6. Height - is comparing the height of one letter to another.

Height, proportions are usually habits found in a

specific writer.

7. I Dot

8. t Crossing

9. Loops - are similar to proportions.

10.Pressure - is the difference in ink or pencil in width or

shade. Helps show direction of movement.

11.Baseline Alignment - The value of this show the questioned

writing in correlation to the baseline. Helps QDE examiners

determine whether the writing was altered or is consistent

with the rest of the writing or other examples.

12.Pen Lifts - Pen lifts are when the pen or pencil is lifted

from the paper and reapplied to finish a word or sentence.

13.Speed - The speed of a writer is a key indicator for QDE in

the examination process. Fast and slow speeds are difficult

to duplicate leaving behind inconsistencies in the writing.

14.Embellishments - decorate writing. Usually found in the

beginning of word, but can be seen other places.

15.Entry/Exit Strokes - is the way a writer begins certain

letter or words and can be very specific to an individual.

Also includes the idea of connecting stokes.

16.Retracing - is considered fixing a portion of writing that

is not readable or pleasing to the writer. In some cases,

this can indicate forgery but is very common in normal

handwriting to retrace letters or words.

17.Spelling - is an individual characteristic because of

education or habits and can be an easy fix to eliminate or

pin point suspects.

18.Spacing - is the area between letters or words and is usually

specific to the writer.

19.Format - is the habit in which a writer uses to depict simple

things like; Dates, numbers, abbreviations.

Example: The way people write checks

20.Case - is a characteristic of a writer who might use upper

case letters where a lower case should be present.

Coin Clipping - shaving off a small portion of a precious metal coin

for profit.

Coin Mutilation - cutting a portion of a coin.

Collected Standard - (Procured Standard)obtained from files executed

in the course of everyday routine.

Requested Standard - document requested by an investigator for

the purpose of comparative examination.

Color Shifting Ink - ink that changes color when viewed in different


Connections - links which connect a letter with the one following it.

Counterfeiting - imitate fraudulently for gain. To make a copy of,

usually with the intent to defraud; forge: counterfeits money.

Cuneiform - denoting or relating to the wedge-shaped characters used

in the ancient writing systems of Mesopotamia, Persia, and Ugarit,

surviving mainly on clay tablets.

Cutting - skillful cutting away of some portions and then inserting

new one to fill the gap.

Disguised Writing - is any deliberate attempt to alter one's

handwriting to prevent recognition.

Document - any material that contains marks, symbols, or signs either

visible, partially visible or invisible that may present or ultimately

convey a meaning or message to someone.

Document May Be Questioned With Respect To Its

1. Authenticity

2. Identity

3. Origin

4. Relation among its parts

5. Relation to other things

Types of Document Examination

1. Handwriting Comparisons

2. Ink Examinations

3. Indented Writing

4. Alterations

5. Paper Analysis

6. Photocopy Analysis

7. Typewriting

Instrument Used In A Questioned Document QD Laboratory

1. Stereo Microscope - The stereo or stereoscopic or dissecting

microscope is an optical microscope variant designed for low

magnification observation of a sample, typically using light

reflected from the surface of an object rather than

transmitted through it.

2. Light Microscope - light microscope works like a refracting

telescope except that the object is very close to the

objective lens.

3. Video Spectral Comparator (VSC) - is an apparatus which can:

a. Analyse and compare inks: reveal alterations on a document;

b. Visualize security features printed into papers;

c. Use the spectrometer and various built-in light sources for

U.V., visible spectrum and I.R. examinations of ink and

documents to visualise fluorescence; examination with

transmitted light or low angle light, and recording/comparing

differences in reflectance, and absorption under variable

wavelengths of light and with various filters which will

discriminate between different inks.

4. Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA) - is an apparatus

which can:

a. Produce an evidential record of any indentations (writing

impressions) which are present upon a page, resulting from

previous pages of over-writing in a writing pad, notebook,

or upon a letter placed inside an envelope which was

then addressed.
b. Visualise and record any other transmitted impression, such

as from a machine postal stamp upon an envelope; or

visualise and record any paper edge impressions of a

page-portion that was torn from a page within a note-pad,

even if the page was removed some time later.

Erasure - the removal of writing, recorded material, or data.

EURion Constellation - is a pattern of symbols incorporated into a

number of banknote designs worldwide since about 1996. It is added

to help imaging software detect the presence of a banknote in a

digital image.

Exemplars - Handwriting used as a standard for comparison with the

document in question. Known authentic writing samples.

Two Types of Exemplars

1. Requested Writings - (Dictated) are writing samples taken

from someone for the purpose of comparison with a questioned


2. Non-Requested Writings - (Undictated)(Collected) these are

examples of the subject's writings that are taken in the

normal course of business or personal transactions.

Forensic Document Examination - the practice of the application of

document examination to the purposes of the law.

Graphology - is the study of handwriting to identify the writer's

personality traits.

Graphologist - Profiles character or personality by drawing conclusions

from certain types of characteristics in the handwriting sample.

Handwriting - refers to a person's writing created with a writing

utensil such as a pen or pencil.

Handwriting Comparison Characteristics

1. Spacing between letters

2. Spacing between words

3. Relative proportions between letters and within letters

4. Individual letter formations

5. Formations of letter combinations

6. The overall slant of the writing

7. Connecting strokes

8. Pen lifts

9. Beginning and ending strokes

10.Unusual flourishes

11.Pen pressure

Character of handwriting
1. No single handwriting characteristic can in itself be taken

as the basis for a positive comparison.

2. The final conclusion must be based on a sufficient number

of common characteristics between the known and questioned

writing samples.

3. There are no hard and fast rules for a sufficient number of

personal characteristics; it is a judgment call made by the

expert examiner in the context of each case.

Henry Mill - was an English inventor who patented the first typewriter

in 1714.

Hieroglyph - (Greek for "sacred writing") is a character of the ancient

Egyptian writing system. Logographic scripts that are pictographic in

form in a way reminiscent of ancient Egyptian are also sometimes

called "hieroglyphs".

Hologram - a three-dimensional image formed by the interference of

light beams from a laser or other coherent light source.

Indented Writing - (second page writing), is the impression from the

writing instrument captured on sheets of paper below the one that

contains the original writing.

Electrostatic Detection - indented writing may be recovered

using this method.

Ink - a coloured fluid or paste used for writing, drawing, printing,

or duplicating.

Microspectrophotometer - A nondestructive approach to comparing

ink lines. It is accomplished with a visible-light


Thin-layer chromatography is also suitable for ink comparisons.

Interlineation - insertion between lines or paragraphs.

Juxtaposition - an act or instance of placing close together or side

by side, especially for comparison or contrast.

Lindbergh Baby Case - a sensational case of kidnapping for ransom

resulting in murder of a baby where questioned document examination is

the center piece of the investigation and the reason for the arrest

of the perpetrator.

Manuscript - is any document written by hand, as opposed to being printed

or reproduced in some other way.

Microprinting - is one of many anti-counterfeiting techniques used

most often on currency and bank checks, as well as various other

items of value. Microprinting involves printing very small text,

usually too small to read with the naked eye, onto the note or item.

Obliteration - obscuring a document by a series of x-types, haphazard,

lines, blots, and smears.

Offset printing - or web offset printing is a commonly used printing

technique in which the inked image is transferred (or "offset") from

a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface.

Letterpress printing - is a technique of relief printing using a

printing press. A worker composes and locks movable type into the

bed of a press, inks it, and presses paper against it to transfer

the ink from the type which creates an impression on the paper.

Pellegrino Turri - an Italian inventor, invented a mechanical typing

machine, one of the first typewriters in 1801 for his blind lover

Countess Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzano. He also invented carbon

paper to provide the ink for his machine.

Pen Lift - is the practice of lifting the tip of a pen from a writing

surface. It comes in the form of a disconnection between letters and

letter combinations.
Pen Pressure - the proportions of strokes to each other in width as

affected by shading and by unconscious emphasis.

Penmanship - is the technique of writing with the hand using a

writing instrument. The art or practice of writing with the pen.

Pictograph - a pictorial symbol for a word or phrase. Pictographs

were used as the earliest known form of writing, examples having been

discovered in Egypt and Mesopotamia from before 3000 BC.

Questioned Document - is any signature, handwriting, typewriting, or

other mark whose source or authenticity is in dispute or doubtful.

Most Common Questioned Document

1. Letters

2. Checks

3. Drivers License

4. Contracts

5. Wills

6. Voters Registration

7. Passports

8. Petitions

9. Threatening Letters

10.Suicide Notes

11.Lottery Tickets
Rules in Collecting Questioned Documents

1. Original Document Preferred

2. QDE must mark all evidence - initial and date.

If document cannot be marked it should be placed in enveloped

and sealed with initial and date.

3. Maintain chain of custody.

Questioned Document Examination - The scientific methods of

identification and examination of questionable documents, handwriting

examination, detection of forgery, falsification and counterfeiting of

documents which stress the procedures of restoring and deciphering

erasures and obliteration's; examination of documents by means of

visible light, ultra-violet light and ultra-red radiation and colored

powders; recognition and selection of standards; and examination of

questionable typewriting, computerized documents and other forms of

modern printing.

Retracing - any writing stroke which goes back over another writing


Rhythm - the balanced quality of movement, producing a natural result

not constrained nor artificial.

Rubric and Embellishment - the additional and unnecessary stroke

incorporated in writing for decorative or ornamental purposes.

Samuel Willard Soul - (January 25,1830-July 12,1875) along with

Christopher Sholes and Carlos Glidden invented the first practical

typewriter at a machine shop located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,

in 1869.

Security fibers - are embedded in the paper during manufacture and

are non-reproducible.

Security Thread - is a security feature of many banknotes to protect

against counterfeiting, consisting of a thin ribbon that is threaded

through the note's paper.

Shading and Pen Position - the increase in width of stroke brought by

variations in writing pressure.

Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer - the first commercially successful


Signature - a person's name written in a distinctive way as a form of

identification in authorizing a cheque or document or concluding

a letter. From the latin word "signare" which means "to sign".

Kinds of Signature
1. Formal Signature - signature used on official documents such

as will or deed of sale.

2. Informal Signature - signature used in routine correspondence

such as personal letters and other documents where you want

the reader to recognize the signature but the exact spelling

of the name isnt important.

3. Stylistic Signature - signature used in signing checks, credit

card receipts, etc. This is also like the famous physicians

signature on a prescription. It is often highly stylistic

and looks like a scribble with little that would be

recognizable as a signature.

Signature Forgery - refers to the act of falsely replicating the

signature of another person.

Popular Methods of Forging Signature

1. Freehand Method - whereby the forger, after careful practice,

replicates the signature by freehand. Although a difficult

method to perfect, this often produces the most convincing results.

2. Trace-Over Method - the sheet of paper containing the genuine

signature is placed on top of the paper where the forgery is

required. The signature is traced over, appearing as a faint

indentation on the sheet of paper underneath. This indentation

can then be used as a guide for a signature.

Methods of Signature Tracing

1. Carbon Outline Method - carbon paper inserted between

original and false document.

2. Indentation Process - original document is placed over

false one under it, to be traced later using a pen or


3. Transmitted Light Process - a light source is placed

under a light, the original document is placed under the

false one. The light source will illuminate both

documents so that the writings on the original document

will be seen and traceable on the false one.

Characteristics That May Suggest Presence of Forgery

1. Shaky handwriting

2. Pen lifts

3. Signs of retouching

4. Letter proportions

5. Very close similarity between two or more signatures

Kinds of Forgery of Signatures

1. Simple Forgery - (spurious forgery) signing of a document in

his own or in a modified handwriting. Easy to detect once

standards of genuine signatures are obtained.

2. Simulated Forgery - (freehand forgery) the copying or imitation

of a signature.
Indicators of Forgery

1. Blunt starts and stops

2. Pen lifts and hesitations

3. Tremor

4. Speed and Pressure

5. Patching

Slant - slope of writing in relation to the base line.

Spacing - is a blank area devoid of content, serving to separate words,

letters, numbers, and punctuation.

Striking - (stamping) making an impression of a coin on a metal blank

by pressure using steel dies.

Superimposition - placing or laying of one document over another

in a way that it appears as a single image. The placement of an

image or video on top of an already-existing image or video, usually

to add to the overall image effect, but also sometimes to

conceal something.

Terminal - The end of a writing stroke.

Initial Stroke - the beginning of a writing stroke.

Tremor - deviation from uniform stroke brought about by lack of


Kinds of Tremors

1. Genuine Tremors - caused by age, illiteracy, weakness.

2. Tremor of Fraud

Typebar - one of the bars on a typewriter that bears type for printing.

Typewriter - is a mechanical or electro-mechanical machine for writing

in characters similar to those produced by printer's movable type

by means of keyboard-operated types striking a ribbon to transfer

ink or carbon impressions onto the paper.

Carriage Return - referred to a mechanism or lever on a typewriter.

It was used after typing a line of text and caused the assembly

holding the paper (the carriage) to return to the right so that

the machine was ready to type again on the left-hand side of

the paper (assuming a left-to-right language).

Typeface - the printing surface of the type block. The most

popular type are pica and elite.

Pica - 10 characters per inch

Elite - 12 characters per inch

Types of Typewriters

1. Keyboard typewriter - is the simplest kind of typewriter,

functioning from the QWERTY formation of letters and having

a type (a metallic cast with letters molded into it) that's

attached by a bar or rod.

2. Single-element typewriter - enable the user to print data in

different languages or fonts. Instead of using a bar mold for

the type (called a type bar), single-element typewriters use

type wheels, type sleeves or type shuttles for molds. The

most popular single-element was the Hammond type-shuttle

typewriter produced in 1884.

3. Type-bar typewriters, as the name suggests, use type bars,

or molds of iron shaped like bars, for their types. Type bars

are the most common kind of typewriter and the original

invented by Sholes, Glidden and Soule was a type-bar


4. Index typewriters - were far less costly in the pre-modern

era, but also less useful. An index typewriter required that

users first input what key they would like, and then perform

another action (usually pressing a lever) to print the letter

to a page. Usually these didn't use type bars, but instead

type wheels, type shuttles, type plates and even more novel
types. Examples of the index typewriter are the American

Visible, first manufactured in 1901, and the French Virotyp

of 1914.

5. Teletype Typewriters - (Teleprinters) came on the scene in

the mid-1950s and peaked in popularity in the 1960s. They

were used mostly for communicating information from point

to point, much as modern fax machines are used. Most non-IBM

computers had teletype terminals. Teletypes were completely

mechanical and thus required regular lubrication; they didn't

have type bars in the strictest sense and instead used

plastic gears to print messages.

6. Electric Typewriters - The most modern typewriter, still

used today, is the electric typewriter, most notably IBM

models such as the Selectric. The electric typewriter

minimized the force necessary to print out a message by

using a motor and type ball to print letters on paper.

Vignette - a small illustration or portrait photograph which fades

into its background without a definite border.

Watermark - a faint design made in some paper during manufacture that

is visible when held against the light and typically identifies

the maker.

Writing - is a medium of communication that represents language

through the inscription of signs and symbols.

Cursive Writing - also known as script, joined-up writing,

joint writing, running writing, or handwriting is any style of

penmanship in which the symbols of the language are written in

a conjoined and/or flowing manner, generally for the purpose of

making writing faster.

Writing Speed - Classified Into 4 Divisions

1. Slow and Drawn

2. Deliberate

3. Average

4. Rapid

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