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Signature Database ?

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hucks216

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Being a paperwork collector one of the reasons I collect the citations is for the signatures on them and as such have to trawl through books, websites and personally compiled files to find examples to provide a comparison. From what I know there are currently 3 dedicated threads/sections to signatures on the web, those being the one on Axis History, one on Dokumentenforum and the third on World War Militaria. Unfortunately the last one is a quiet forum and as such has a very limited number of people adding their examples (but has still been viewed over 10,000 times) while the one on AHF does have a tendency to stagnate and as good as it is it isn't all encompassing.

With such things in mind what are the views of members here to setting up a Pinned thread in the German Third Reich Document Section for the posting of recognised German signatures to build up and provide a database of such like for current and future collectors and not just restricted to Divisional Commanders or Luftwaffe Aces, or just military for that matter? The signatures could be members of all the various paramilitary & civil organisations, members of the 'Valkyrie' plot, as well as officers down to the Kompanie level - basically an all encompassing thread. We have all types of collectors here: TN, Polizei, Feldgendarmerie, OT, HV etc so the potential for building up a great database covering all such signatures is there.

Signatures could be from award citations, soldbucher, wehrpasse, ausweis, war time letters etc although I would shy away from post-war letters and photos due to the change of signatures due to age and the difficulty in corroborating them - but that is just a personal opinion and if the majority view it differently then so be it. All I would stipulate are threefold:

1) the person posting the signature must be the owner of the item and definitely no scans from books.
2) the signature should be shown in context (i.e. an image of the whole document is shown or at least partially shown to enable a date, location &/or authorising unit to be seen, with the owner's watermark on it somewhere obviously)
3) items published are NOT up for discussion in the thread - the idea is to build up a database rather then a discussion. If members have doubts about any that are posted then a PM to the Moderator with their views can be passed and regulated that way (or maybe an entry via this blog).

Basically if you have a signature on some paperwork and know who it belongs to then post it with some amplifying information on the signer, however basic, to build up a comprehensive database.
So with that in mind, please let me have your views and opinions.

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I have only a couple very minor documents to contribute to such a project, but on the surface it sounds like a fantastic idea and I would suspect garner a lot of interest at GMIC.

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Hucks - I'm not sure that a blog is the best place to start this 'push' - however, if you can turn it into an interesting regular hunt and the things you have had to do to get signatures - then I think
you have great potential and members will be interested. I notice that the only Forums at present are for German material - however, under our British section we have a Documents
Forum which would be ideal. Best of luck - and keep the momentum going. Mervyn

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Irish Gunner - that is the beauty of such a database. Whether you have 1 or 100 contributions to make you could have signatures that other collectors might also have on a document but have drawn a blank trying to identify, Recently I saw a Totenkopf soldbuch that has a signature of a Kompanie Cdr called Franz Fillerbock. Now in terms of awards won he didn't win anything major that I can find out but he was KIA in 1944 and no doubt his signature appears in other soldbucher which other collectors might own but might not of been able to identify for one reason or another, and Wehrpasse & Soldbucher are great places to find the signatures of DKiG & RK winners.

Mervyn - I was unsure whether to post this question in a blog or in the actual forum but seeing as I hadn't started a blog before I thought I'd stick it here so to speak. As you say it could be an idea to start such signature databases in each relevant area, i.e. British Documents, Imperial German Documents, but as my area of collecting interest is Third Reich paperwork it isn't really my place to suggest something for someone elses area as I wouldn't want to tread on someone elses toes. But if that were to happen then it could be a great way to make GMIC the 'one stop shop' for signature databases in the world of forums. Again, if others have a view of such databases in other sections then please add your views - but again, when it comes to non-TR signature databases I don't wish to step on anyones toes as it would be others regulating them.

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Huck - I think one of our difficulties with GMIC is that we don't 'cross boundaries'. Obviously the knowledge aspect plays a big role in this - however, we are all fellow members and inter action
is important.

If I introduce signatures as a new subject on our Documents forum, would you be willing to give an introductory post on what members should be looking for and the importance of such a list ?
I expect we already have members who collect autographs.

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I'd be happy to help in any way I can but when it comes to Allied or Imperial German signatures I wouldn't know what is a forged signature and what isn't, but I'd certainly be happy to write an introduction - and if a similar section is set up in the TR Document section then links to the other signature section(s) could be added in the introductory posts.
I agree that a 'cross boundaries' section/thread would be a great idea but how many British collectors visit the TR Doc section and likewise for the TR collectors visiting the British section hence a signature section in each relevant Document section with a link to the other, unless such a signature database was set up in an all encompassing section of GMIC - GMIC Projects for example with seperate threads within that 'Signature Database' Project to cover each of the British, Allied, TR German etc arenas. Just a thought.

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I like the sound of what you are proposing. What we need to decide is how we search a database. Do we use names or pictures as the primary means to search. For example can we always get a name from a signature i.e. is there supporting plain text to support the name or are we relying on visuals to identify some signatures. For example an unknown signature which is indecipherable to one person with no supporting text to identify it which is recognised by someone else to be XYZ ?

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Well the way I was proposing was that the database is compiled of known signatures, so for instance I have a citation signed by General X and I know it is General X so the image of his signature (along with either the whole document or at least with the unit stamp and date) is posted with a little amplifying information along the lines of 'General X - RK 19/12/1942 - Commanding Officer 123 Div Jan to Feb 1943 / Commanding Officer AG Mitte Feb to Mar 1943 etc - KIA 01/01/1945' or something like that. So the search of the database is kept simple and done by name. Including the unit in the amplifying information in the post will also help people search if they locate another citation to that unit and within that timeframe and wish to compare what they have to what is in the database.
If it is possible then there is always an option of also having a thread for people that have a signature but can't decipher it to post it asking for help. If it is deciphered by a member and it isn't already in the database then it can be added (with the owners permission of course).

In the last few days since my first post the viewing figure for the signature database on the World War Militaria forum has increased from 10,470 to 10,813 - an increase of 343 which is some going considering that it isn't a well known forum. Viewing figures for the signature thread on AHF is currently at 49,139 so the very few signature databases out there do seem to be a well used resource.

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