These are the eight presidents from yesterday’s indexing illustration:
How’d you do before knowing something about the names?
How'd you do once you knew they were presidents?
The point is that context makes it easier to read names.
For us less experienced genealogists, the context is usually information known for several family members: names, genders, probable birth states, and estimated birth years. Once you have matched lots of known information with what is written legibly, you start to approach the illegible names with some confidence. You match expected letter forms against what you see. Pretty much without thinking about the complex brain gyrations, you "read" names that cold indexers can not.
For more experienced genealogists, you build up a name probability dictionary in your head for particular times and places. You pull from it to compare names against letter forms, allowing you to "read" names that others can not.
I conclude that cold indexers will never outperform someone with more context.
What do you think?