Encrypted Documents and Cipher Keys From the 18th and 19th Century in the Archives of Aristocratic Families in Slovakia


  • Eugen Antal
  • Pavol Marák
  • Pavol Zajac
  • Tünde Lengyelová
  • Diana Duchoňová




historical manuscripts, historical ciphers, nomenclator, Slovakia, aristocratic families, Amade-Üchtrit, Esterházy, Pálffy-Daun, 18th century, 19th century, HCPortal, transcription, machine learning, YOLOv7


In this article, we present encrypted documents and cipher keys from the 18th and 19th century, related to central-European aristocratic families Amade-Üchtritz, Esterházy, and Pálffy-Daun. In the first part of the article, we present an overview and analysis of the available documents from the archives with examples. We provide a short historical overview of the people related to the analyzed documents to provide a context for the research. In the second part of the article, we focus on the digital processing of these historical manuscripts. We developed new tools based on machine learning that can automate the transcription of encrypted parts of the documents, which contain only digits as cipher text alphabet. Our digit detection and segmentation are based on YOLOv7. YOLOv7 provided good detection precision and was able to cope with problems like noisy paper background and areas where digits collided with the text from the reverse side of the paper.