The edges of a document can often contain clues just as significant as those in the main body of a document. Clerks may squeeze in additional text for legal reasons, pastors may squeeze in parenthetical comments about a parishioner, etc.

Sometimes the edges themselves can be a clue.  Many times when documents are digitized or microfilmed, it may not be crystal clear which “front” goes with which “back.” That determination can be difficult when the documents are a variety of sizes, blank sides aren’t digitized, etc. And there are times when knowing which “front” goes with which “back” is essential to completely analyzing and interpreting the document.

This relinquishment from a homestead application in Nebraska was one of those documents. Comparing the edges made it clear that I had the front and the back of the same thing.  It may require a little creativity with a graphics package to place the edges to where you can compare them, but it may be worth the effort.
There are more details about this image in our “detailed edges” post.



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