The history of handwriting analysis, or graphology, dates back to over 2,000 years ago to when Aristotle noticed the correlation between handwriting and personality. Much later in 1622 an Italian professor published a book that said “It is obvious that all persons write in their own peculiar way…” providing the basis for modern day handwriting analysis. Then in 1882 a women named Mary Booth became very interested in the study of handwriting and started publishing books on the subject. Since the early 1900’s handwriting analysis has helped solve crime as well as studying someone’s character. There are two uses for handwriting analysis in forensic crimes. First to tell the personality of a criminal through their writing, or two, to compare a suspect’s handwriting to notes that could link the suspect to the crime. Besides the use of handwriting analysis it can also be used to determine if handwritten documents are real or fake based on if the handwriting matches up.
12 Handwriting Characteristics:
There are many handwriting characteristics that handwriting experts will look at when attempting to match up two different samples. These characteristics include:
- Line quality: Are the marks smooth and flowing, or are they shaky and wavering?
- Spacing of words and letters: Is the spacing consistent between each letter and word, or does it vary?
- Ratio of relative height, width, and size of letters: Is the ratio of the letters consistent, what is the ratio?
- Pen lifts and separations: Does the person stop to form new letters and begin words, are there dark spots where the pen may have rested? Forgeries of ten have lifts and pauses in strange places.
- Connecting strokes: Are the capitals connected to the lowercase letters, are there connecting strokes between lowercase letters and words?
- Beginning and ending strokes: How are the beginning and ending strokes curved, upwards, downward, long short, etc.?
- Unusual letter formation: Are any letters formed differently, such as backward letters or unusual capitals?
- Shading or pen pressure: Is the pressure on the upward or downward strokes?
- Slant: Which direction is the writing slanted, right, left vertical?
- Baseline habits: Is the writing above or below the line, do certain letters drop lower than the rest?
- Flourishes and embellishments: Are there any flourishes or embellishments, what are they?
- Diacritic placement: How are the t’s crossed, how are the j’s and i’s dotted, are they to the right or to left of the letter?
At first glance these two samples look almost identical, but look closer and you will notice several differences.
The g's have a different curve, one is wider and lower, the other is close together and come higher up
The y's also have differences, one is wider and less slanted, the other has a curve on the tail and is slanted to the left.
The u's in "daughter" are different to, one has more of a stem and is slanted, while the other has a very short stem and is vertical.
The pen pressure on the I's is different too, the top one the pressure is failry even, but looks more bottom to top. The bottom sample one is much thinner, and the pressure is bottom to top.
A Famous Forgery Case: