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Document + Print.

It has been years since I began this passage through time. Traversing the pages of history books, annoying local librarians, wandering the halls of courthouses and old neighborhoods, trying to find any bread crumbs left behind. Fully relying on instinct and guidance from those who have gone before me. When feeling the pull to research a certain area or person pertaining to my genealogy, I try not to question it and just follow my gut. Almost every time I am rewarded with a story, a picture, or some kind of written account of their lives.

I am convinced that they want to be found. Their stories told. Connecting the past with the present; closing that gap. It’s an addiction, this connective feeling. I can sense the bubbly excitement rising from within me when I find that morsel or clue. My heart begins to race as my eyes quickly scan the document looking for the immediate treasure that this ancestor is revealing to me. I’m like a balloon being filled with air that can no longer hold it in and so I POP! And the pressure is released, and where it goes lies within these pages.

Sometimes I feel like I live in both worlds of past and present.

The only drawback is that while I may have a gazillion documented facts about their lives, I have nothing that can document personalities or mannerisms, (which I find runs strong in the Rievley family). I can only make guesses about their character from facts about them. Even if I had a picture, it could not tell me such things. Being a photographer, I am well aware of how a picture can hide wounds, scars, and can portray happiness even when it’s not there. I cannot see their hopes and dreams, or failures and heartbreaks. I will never know what they thought about at night while lying in their beds -what they dreamt about. I will never know if their smile made their eyes squint to almost closing, like my brother’s do, or if they were clumsy like most Rievley’s are. Could they do the arching of the one eyebrow at at time thing like all the Rievley’s do when they get mad? Were they free spirited or disciplined? At times I feels so close to them- I know some very intimate details about their lives, yet at the same time I feel very distant, because I don’t know who they were as a human being since I have yet to find such things in my research.

This is why I document the mundane everyday offerings of right now.

This is why I print instead of keeping it all digitally.

We need written accounts of our inner thoughts and lives so that we can become known, even after our time here on earth has come and gone.

Write it out in spiral notebooks.

Document with pictures + doodles or poems + songs.

Whatever medium you want to use, just do it.

And don't forget to print.print.print!

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