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Our Family Tree: Introduction

Welcome! Our Family Tree is a full-featured, free, and online genealogy collaboration website intended both for people browsing, and a tool for researchers to maintain their trees and collaborate on their research efforts.

When browsing different websites it is inefficient for many people to be researching some of the same ancestors, all stored in separate parallel systems, rather than everyone contributing directly to the same system. This website hopefully encourages people to collaborate and work together on common ancestors, and eliminate duplicates copies of each person. Down the line somewhere we're all in the same family, so why not work in the same tree?

As much as possible the website also seeks to integrate family with history, highlighting biographical details, more about the places they lived, where and with whom they worked, and how they contributed to all who followed them.

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Spotlight: Lee-Fendall House — Alexandria, VA

Lee-Fendall House
 
Revolutionary War hero Henry (Light Horse Harry) Lee, father of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, purchased several lots on North Washington Street in Alexandria soon after the War for Independence. He lived with his family in a house on Cameron Street, and later sold a lot at the corner of Oronoco Street, four blocks north, to his cousin Philip Richard Fendall. From 1785 until 1903, the large residence Fendall built on the lot served as home to 37 members of the Lee family. This period of residency was interrupted during the Civil War in 1863, when the Union Army seized the property for use as a hospital for its wounded soldiers. The first known successful blood transfusion in America took place at this site.

In 1903, Robert Downham, a prominent Alexandria haberdasher and liquor purveyor, resided with his family in the house for 31 years, selling it in 1937 to John L. Lewis. As President of the United Mine Workers and the founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, Lewis was one of the most powerful and controversial labor leaders in American history. He lived this house during the height of his power, and until his death in 1969. The restored Lee-Fendall House and Garden is a period house museum that is open to the public.