Often when I am clutching at straws to determine the relationship between individuals or families, I will compare signatures from the relevant documents. There is an inherent bias in my interpretation of this evidence – am I seeing what I want to see? How reliable is signature comparison as a form of genealogical evidence, and how can I make my interpretation more objective?
I will give two examples below which you may refer to in your answer:
- Thomas Bourne signatures:
- Ralph Hanshaw/Hanshall signatures:
I have reason to believe each of these examples may be signatures of the same man, but I have no definitive evidence one way or the other. Note there was a number of years between the signatures in each case. How might one objectively interpret these?