about me


My name is Rebecca Fenning, and when I was in high school, I wanted to be a homicide detective.

I became a librarian instead.

But that compulsion to find answers, to bring justice and above all a voice to those silenced by death and forgetfulness manifests itself here, in the genealogical compulsion that has haunted me since the first grade, when a simple homework assignment spun out of control.  At least, I think it was a homework assignment.  All I remember is painting a family tree that was literally a tree - branches and leaves with my name and the names of my cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles on it. 

And somehow, the compulsion to unbury the dead began from there, a result of my inborn love for categorizing and organizing information, for finding things out, my personal mania for the gathering and accumulation of data.  I used to catalogue my collections (coins, stamps, rocks, books) for fun, but somehow, the thrill that that offered was limited because once everything was catalogued, then what was left to do? 

Generations, on the other hand, and the sideways spreading branches of brothers and sisters, those things are infinite.  There is always something new to seek out, some new morsel of fact to tuck away safely.  There is always someone else’s mother or sister or brother to find.  The impossibility of tracing oneself conclusively back to Adam and then forward again, through the radiating branches of cousins shooting outward to encompass the whole world – this impossibility insures an eternal occupation, a task that will never have an end.


i do lots of other things, like


whales and bunnies

color collecting

saving face, monthly at shades of the departed

questions or comments?

email me

hello, relatives!

send me pictures!

© 2007-2010,

Rebecca Fenning.

home         why         connect         past faces