Many journals, registers, and ledgers maintained in local records offices have an index to the main individuals mentioned in those records. Is it possible that the handwriting for the name in the index is easier to read than the handwriting for the name in the record?
Census enumerations were sometimes reviewed and corrected after the enumerator had submitted their clean copy. This 1900 census enumeration contains a corrected age–the “2” in “29” does not look like other “2”s on the same page.  Apparently in this case the census taker didn’t take the census date and the month of birth into account as there are numerous corrections on his enumerations. 
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