Signing the Same Way On the Same Day….or not?

Sometimes the confirmation of an identity hinges on the comparison of signatures. That’s a good analytical tool, but one doesn’t necessarily want to use different signatures to conclude that two people are different. Even the same person can sign their name in slightly different ways even on the same document.


Edward Neill signed an accounting in his father’s estate in April of 1913 for a Hancock County, Illinois, court. While the signatures are very similar, it’s worth a quick note that there are differences:

  • the initial “E” is connected to the “d” in the first signature, but not the second
  • the “w” in Edward is made differently
  • the “e” in Neill is made differently
  • the “i” in the second Neill is much taller
  • the last “l” in Neill has been made with a slightly different flourish in the second rendering

This is not to say that different people signed this document or that something suspicious is going on. I have no doubt that the same person signed the document. There’s a number of reasons why the signatures could look slightly different even if they were made at approximately the same time on the same document.

We will see why in a future post.



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