New Papers Added from Arizona and Indiana!

In 1867, Tucson became the capital of the Arizona Territory and by 1870, census records showed the population had topped 3,000. If you have ancestors from Tucson or an interest in Arizona history, you’ll be thrilled to know that the Arizona Daily Star has added historic Tucson newspapers to their archive, and you can access them on Newspapers.com! We have The Weekly Arizonian (1869-1871); the Arizona Weekly Citizen (1870-1897); the Tucson Citizen (1879-2007); El Fronterizo (1882-1908); and the Tucson Daily Citizen (1941-1977).

Arizona Daily Citizen: May 4, 1898

Early editions of the Arizona Weekly Citizen were filled with accounts of skirmishes with Native Americans as westward expansion encroached upon Native American lands. Upset over Indian attacks, in 1870 the paper highlighted an offer by the Mexican government to pay a $300 bounty for each Apache scalp. The hostilities came to a head in the early morning hours of April 30, 1871, when a group of men from Tucson massacred more than 100 Apaches in the Camp Grant Massacre. Officials arrested the men but a court later acquitted them.  

The invention of air-conditioning to combat sweltering Arizona heat led to significant growth in Arizona’s population. During the 1930s, the first public buildings in Tucson got air conditioning, followed by homes in later decades. If you are tracing ancestors that lived in Tucson, search for marriage, death, and birth announcements. If you’re lucky, you just might find a biographical sketch of your ancestor like these for members of the 1883 Territorial Legislature.  

If you have ancestors from Jasper, Indiana, you’ll be excited to hear we’ve added The Dubois Herald and the Jasper Weekly Courier to our archives. The Dubois Herald began as The Jasper Herald, a weekly that started in 1895. In 1946, the paper, known then as The Dubois County Herald, started publishing six days a week. That tradition continues today, and The Dubois Herald has chronicled Jasper’s history for 124 years. Jasper has strong German roots and many of today’s residents can trace their heritage back to the mid-19th century when Father Joseph Kundek, a Catholic Priest, promoted Jasper to German immigrants. That heritage is celebrated annually during the Strassenfest celebration. If you have ancestors that lived in nearby townships like Cuzco, Ferdinand, or Ireland, the Correspondence Column included updates from citizens of those communities.

Spanish Flu Quarantine in Jasper – 1918

The Jasper Weekly Courier’s archives date back to 1858 when the paper was founded as an organ of the Democratic Party. Dubois County’s German immigrant population was flourishing and the first issue of the paper included a German announcement for those who couldn’t read English. The Weekly Courier reported on the Civil War and soldiers serving from Dubois County. It also participated in honoring surviving veterans and fallen soldiers after the war. The archives include reports of visitors in town, local accidents and injuries, and other life events like births, marriages, anniversaries and deaths.  

To explore these Arizona and Indiana newspapers, and newspapers from other locations, search Newspapers.com today!

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Using Historic Newspapers to Save Lives in a Tsunami: A Newspapers.com Success Story

On December 26, 2004, following a M9.2 earthquake that occurred off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, a massive tsunami ripped through southeast Asia that ultimately resulted in the deaths of some 230,000 people in 14 countries. Indonesia was particularly affected by both physical damage and human casualties.

At Newspapers.com, we occasionally highlight ways our users find success in our archives. One team of geologists from Brigham Young University utilized information found in 19th-century newspapers to refine computer models of historic tsunamis in Indonesia in hopes of identifying future area of risks and to prevent future tsunamis from producing the massive loss of life seen in 2004.

Graduate student Claire Ashcraft frequently travels to Indonesia to work with government officials, gather geologic data, and to work with local communities to improve tsunami awareness and preparation.

Analysis of geologic evidence, such as the dating of tsunami sand deposits, help show which islands have experienced tsunamis. Historical records are also invaluable to the team. By isolating quantitative information in the written records, the data is applied to complex digital models to produce more accurate results. However, a lack of available records hampers this work; few accounts of Indonesian tsunamis survive, and most were written by Dutch colonists who arrived in the early 17th century.

Of particular interest to Ashcraft and her team are two tsunamis which took place in Central and Eastern Indonesia, the former in 1820 and the latter in 1852.

The Leeds Intelligencer and Yorkshire General Advertiser – 1821

Recently, Ashcraft turned to Newspapers.com and was elated to find mentions of both events in historical papers. An 1821 clipping described the 1820 event (the news took months to arrive by ship), citing a Dutch newspaper article published in the Dutch East Indies in the city of Batavia (now Jakarta). With this lead, she was able to track down the original Dutch newspaper and find new quantitative information that had not yet seen.

The Ipswich Journal – 1853

Similarly, an 1853 clipping gave Ashcraft critical details. The article noted that a Dutch royal navy brig called “de Haai” experienced the tsunami and its captain made detailed observations throughout the day. After learning the name of this ship and its captain from Newspapers.com, Ashcraft took these names and began searching in Dutch East Indies nautical records for a connection. She quickly found a book which mentioned the brig in conjunction with key Dutch words she recognized, such as ‘aardbeving’ (earthquake) and ‘zeebeving’ (seaquake). After translating the record Ashcraft realized that it contained not only the full account of the navy brig, but a collection of seven other first-person records that provided a wealth of information previously unknown to the team.

Newspapers.com provided key details that allowed BYU researchers key data to improve computer models. The models will help the Indonesian government to identify areas affected by past tsunamis and prepare for future events.

Discover your success story by searching Newspapers.com today!

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7 Tips for Finding an Ancestor Beyond Their Hometown Newspaper

At Newspapers.com, we’re constantly adding newspapers to our archives to grow our coverage of locations around the United States, Canada, and beyond. In fact, we add millions of newspaper pages each month!

But growing our archives inevitably takes time. So what can you do if Newspapers.com doesn’t have a newspaper from your ancestor’s hometown yet? Or if Newspapers.com does have the paper, but not the years you need? Or what if your ancestor’s hometown didn’t even have a local newspaper in the first place?

Can you still use the papers on our site to learn about your ancestor? Yes! While hometown papers are the most likely place to find news about your ancestor, they’re far from the only place.

Read on to learn 7 of our top tips for doing family history research beyond your ancestor’s hometown newspaper.

Family reunion photo from 1919 Indiana (Muncie Morning Star, 09.27.1919)
Family reunion photo from 1919 Indiana (Muncie Morning Star, 09.27.1919)

1. Search your ancestor’s name in ALL the papers on the site.

This tip is only practical if your ancestor had a fairly uncommon name, but it’s worth mentioning up front. You never know exactly when or where your ancestor’s name might appear in a newspaper—and they can turn up in some pretty surprising places! Yes, your ancestor may have lived their entire life in a particular place, but a reprinted or syndicated story about them may pop up in newspapers in states they had no connection to at all!

But if your ancestor’s name isn’t particularly unique, you’ll need some ways to focus your search to avoid getting too many matches. That’s where our other tips come in!

2. Search for your ancestor in the newspapers of nearby towns and the county seat.

Apart from hometown papers, newspapers from the county seat or neighboring towns (even those across a state border!) are some of the most likely places you’ll find mentions of your ancestor.

Two ways Newspapers.com helps you with this are the County search and Map search functions. County search allows you to search all the papers in a county. Just start typing the county name into the “Paper Location” field of the Advanced Search options, and then select the county name. (If the county you type doesn’t appear on the list, then Newspapers.com doesn’t currently have papers from that county.)

The Map search (accessible by selecting “See papers by location” on the homepage) allows you to zoom in on our map to see (and then search!) the papers on our site from as big or small a geographical region as you want.

For example, you can zoom in on the map to see all the papers currently available from the entire state of Kansas, or you can zoom in even further to see all the papers available specifically from Cherokee County. This is especially helpful if your ancestor lived near a state border, since you can see which papers were being published in neighboring towns across the state line. So if your ancestor lived in Cherokee County, Kansas, the Newspapers Map will show you that we also have papers from nearby Jasper County, Missouri.

Example of the Newspapers.com Map zoomed in to show papers available in Cherokee County, KS, and Jasper County, MO
Example of the Newspapers.com Map zoomed in to show papers available in Cherokee County, KS, and Jasper County, MO

3. Search for your ancestor in every city they lived in or were associated with.

Outside your ancestor’s hometown, the towns where they were born or died are good places to check for newspaper mentions of them. But there are many more places you can search!

First, use vital and other genealogical records, family stories, newspaper clues, or whatever resources you have to compile a list of every place your ancestor lived or was associated with. Then search for them in papers from those locations.

This could be the city where they attended college, where they worked, where they were stationed in the military, where they landed after immigrating, or even where they traveled on an extended vacation. The possibilities are endless! Anywhere your ancestor spent time may have some sort of newspaper record of their time there, even if it’s simply a mention of them in a list of hotel guests or passengers who came in on the train.

4. Search for your ancestor in the areas where their family members lived.

Once you’ve tried searching for your ancestor in the places they were associated with, move on to their family members. Start with parents, children, and siblings, and work your way out to in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles, and other extended family. This will likely require you to do some digging into collateral (non-direct) lines on your family tree, but it may be worth the time.

Pennsylvania newspaper photo of the Klinefelter Family, 1909. (Gazette-Times, 02.07.1909)
Pennsylvania newspaper photo of the Klinefelter Family, 1909. Note that the caption mentions the Thompsons are living in Nebraska! (Gazette-Times, 02.07.1909)

Family members’ obituaries can be a particularly rich source of information about your ancestor, but the possibilities don’t stop there. For instance, newspapers often published news about people who were visiting family members in town, whether it was for a vacation, wedding, funeral, or reunion. They also published updates on people who had moved away but still had family in town.

Keep in mind that newspapers didn’t always mention visitors by name, sometimes merely saying that so-and-so’s brother was in town for the week. But if you’re paying attention, you might catch that the nameless brother mentioned in the article is actually the ancestor you’ve been looking for!

You may be surprised how much information about your ancestor can appear in the newspapers where their family members lived. For example, one birth announcement for a baby born in Colorado was actually published in Pennsylvania, where the mother’s family lived. Even more surprising, the announcement wasn’t in the family’s hometown paper but in the paper from the county seat!

5. Search for your ancestor in newspapers of ethnic or religious communities they belonged to.

Example of a Catholic-focused newspaper serving Kansas and Oklahoma (Catholic Advance, 01.24.1914)
Example of a Catholic-focused newspaper serving Kansas and Oklahoma (Catholic Advance, 01.24.1914)

If your ancestor belonged to a particular ethnic or religious community, try looking for them in newspapers that catered to that community. These might include Jewish or Catholic newspapers, African American papers, or German-language papers. Newspapers that targeted a specific religious or ethnic community often shared news about people within that demographic even if they lived in a different state than where the paper was published. 

For instance, if your ancestor was African American, you may have luck searching for them in historically black papers, such as the Pittsburgh Courier or Kansas City Sun. These papers published news about African Americans from all over the United States, not just Pittsburgh or Kansas City.

6. Search for your ancestor in the years after their lifetime.

If the problem is that Newspapers.com has the hometown paper, just not the years you need, try searching for your ancestor in the years after their lifetime. They might be mentioned in their child’s obituary or in a piece spotlighting the pioneers of the town. Or they might crop up in a “this-day-in-history” feature in the newspaper or in an article about events of historical significance to the town. This Indiana town history piece  from 1939, for example, mentions people and events from more than a century earlier!

1939 newspaper piece that discusses century-old town history (Palladium-Item, 07.16.1939)
1939 newspaper piece that discusses century-old town history (Palladium-Item, 07.16.1939)

7. Check back!   

Since Newspapers.com frequently adds and updates papers, check back often to see if the hometown paper you want has been added to the site. A quick way to do this is on our New & Updated page.

There are also a couple ways to be automatically informed by email when certain newspaper content is added to the site. The first way is to save a search. This will notify you when we add a newspaper page that has results that match criteria you specify. To enable this feature, simply set up a search with the criteria you want (for example, “John Smith” in Kansas newspapers), then select the “Save/Notify” button on the search results page.

You can also choose to be automatically notified by email when we add pages to a specific newspaper title. This is a convenient option if you’re waiting for additional years to be added to a paper already on our site. Do it by selecting any newspaper title and clicking the “follow” button on the landing page.

Best of luck finding that ancestor!

Get started searching for your ancestors on Newspapers.com now! And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more articles like this!

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Hawaii Becomes A State: August 21, 1959

On the morning of August 21, 1959, nearly 100 people crammed into the Governor’s office in Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii. They arrived long before 10:00 a.m., the scheduled time for the anticipated phone call. Minutes ticked by and a nervous hush permeated the room. At 10:08, a string of firecrackers ignited within earshot of the palace, followed by the blaring of car horns – but the phone remained silent. Finally, at 10:15 a.m., the Governor’s phone rang, and the room let out a collective sigh of relief. The call from Washington relayed the news. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had just signed the proclamation making Hawaii the 50th state. Governor William F. Quinn made the announcement to the cheering crowd, “Ladies and gentlemen, Hawaii is now a state!” The announcement came from the same palace where 66 years earlier, Hawaii’s final monarch was ousted during a coup that led to Hawaii’s annexation as a US territory. 

Hawaii’s journey to statehood was long and bumpy. The Hawaiian Islands were originally settled by Polynesian voyagers centuries ago. In 1778, British explorer Capt. James Cook came upon the islands while searching for the Northwest Passage. He named his discovery the Sandwich Islands. He named his discovery the Sandwich Islands.

The islands were originally comprised of warring factions, but united under a single monarchy in 1810 under King Kamehameha I. In 1818, Kamehameha was reportedly unhappy with the name Sandwich Islands, saying that each island should have its own name and the chain of islands should be known as the “Islands of the King of Hawaii.”

During the 1830s, the first sugar cane plantations were established in Hawaii bringing immigrants and trade. The rise of steamship travel in the 1840s opened the door to reliable transportation to the islands. With increased commerce, a group of white businessmen and landowners associated with sugar and pineapple plantations, and cattle ranches developed considerable power in the islands.

In 1887, they forced King David Kalakaua to sign the Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which limited the power of the monarchy. It became known as the Bayonet Constitution. After Kalakaua’s death in 1891, his sister Queen Liliuokalani became Hawaii’s last reigning monarch. Just two years after her accession and amid attempts to adopt a new constitution to restore power to the monarchy, she was overthrown in a coup at Iolani Palace. The coup was organized by powerful white residents with the help of US Marines.

Around the time of the Spanish-American War, the US realized the strategic military importance of Hawaii and established a military outpost that later became Pearl Harbor naval station. In 1898, Hawaii was annexed and became a US territory. Sanford B. Dole was named the president of the Provisional Government of Hawaii. The territory had no voice in the US government and rich plantation owners benefited by allowing plantation owners to import cheap labor and export products to the mainland with low tariffs.

For the next 60 years, there were many petitions for statehood. In June 1959, Hawaiians’ voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the Union. Months later, Eisenhower, who had advocated for Hawaii’s statehood during his campaign, signed the proclamation admitting Hawaii as the 50th state.

If you would like to learn more about Hawaii’s road to statehood, search Newspapers.com today!

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These 10 Cats Adopted Baby Animals and It’s Adorable

Literally just 10 vintage newspaper photos of cats being foster moms that will make your day better.

1922: This cat adopted a Boston bull terrier puppy, and the photo of them snuggling might be the cutest thing you’ll see all day. Read their story in the New York Daily News.

1922: Cat adopts Boston bull terrier puppySat, Dec 23, 1922 – 37 · Daily News (New York, New York) · Newspapers.com


1930: This tabby adopted a baby groundhog, proving looks don’t matter when it comes to a mother cat’s love, because that groundhog probably isn’t going to win a beauty contest anytime soon. Read their story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

1930: Cat adopts a baby groundhogSat, May 10, 1930 – Page 2 · Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com


1935: This cat adopted a baby rat. Read their story in the Detroit Free Press.

1935: Cat adopts a baby ratThu, Mar 14, 1935 – Page 26 · Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan) · Newspapers.com


1936: And this cat adopted a baby rat too. There must be something about rats. Read their story in the Tampa Times.

1936: Another cat adopts a baby ratSat, Jun 13, 1936 – 1 · The Tampa Times (Tampa, Florida) · Newspapers.com


1937: This cat’s owner adopted a puppy, then the cat took over! Read their story in the Atlanta Constitution.

1937: Cat adopts a puppyMon, Jun 28, 1937 – 8 · The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) · Newspapers.com


1938: When presented with 3 baby squirrels, this cat apparently took them on without a hitch. Read their story in the Decatur Herald.

1938: Cat adopts 3 baby squirrelsSat, Apr 2, 1938 – Page 3 · The Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois) · Newspapers.com


1939: More squirrels! This time 2 baby fox squirrels. Read the story in the News-Palladium.

1939: Cat adopts 2 baby fox squirrelsTue, Jun 20, 1939 – 8 · The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan) · Newspapers.com


1946: The relationship between this cat and 3 baby rabbits sounds like it had a bit of a rocky start, but maternal instinct prevailed! Read their story in the Courier-Journal.

1946: Cat adopts 3 baby rabbitsSun, Apr 7, 1946 – Page 17 · The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) · Newspapers.com


1946: This cat adopted a red fox cub. If you’ve never seen a red fox cub, check out this photo. They’re the cutest. Read the cat-fox adoption story in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

1946: Cat adopts a red fox cubWed, May 1, 1946 – Page 22 · The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) · Newspapers.com


1950: And finally, this cat adopted a baby field mouse, rising above the traditionally complicated relationship between the two species. Read their story in the Austin American-Statesman.

1950: Cat adopts baby field mouseTue, Aug 22, 1950 – 11 · Austin American-Statesman (Austin, Texas) · Newspapers.com


Whether it’s cat photos or something less feline-themed, search for what interests you on Newspapers.com! And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more interesting historical content like this!

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New Pennsylvania Papers Added!

Our Pennsylvania archives are expanding! If you have ancestors from Pennsylvania or are interested in the history of the area, we’ve added papers from Pottsville, Hazleton, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton.

Republican Herald: The Republican Herald was founded in Pottsville in 1884 as The Daily Republican. We have issues from the Pottsville Republicanand the Republican and Herald in our archives. Pottsville is located in Pennsylvania’s coal region where America’s oldest brewery, D.G. Yuengling & Son, made beer for thirsty coal miners. When Congress passed the National Prohibition Act it meant big changes for the company. The brewery created three near beers and even branched into ice cream production to keep the business running until the 18th Amendment was repealed. If you are researching ancestors from Pottsville, check birth announcements, obituaries, and even the Society Page

The Lattimer Massacre, 1897

Standard-Speaker: Based in Hazleton, the Standard-Speaker is a daily that traces its history back to the Hazleton Sentinel which merged with the Plain Speaker to become the Standard-Speaker.  Our archives date back to 1879. The coal industry in Hazleton attracted immigrants from a variety of countries. They often lived in “patch towns,” or small towns owned by the mining company. This part of Hazleton’s heritage is celebrated annually during Patch Down Days. In 1897, harsh conditions and reduced pay led local miners to strike. Rising tensions evolved into a confrontation referred to as the Lattimer massacre where 19 unarmed strikers were shot and killed, and dozens wounded by a sheriff’s posse. If you have ancestors from Hazleton, the archive contains community columns, birth announcements, obituaries, wedding notices, and more.

Citizens’ Voice: The Citizens’ Voice in Wilkes-Barre was founded in 1978 by striking employees of the Wilkes-Barre Publishing Company. Angry employees learned their paper, the Times Leader, was being sold. They banded together and with help from the community and unions, started the Citizens’ Voice. The Voice soon became a strong competitor to the Times Leader and has advocated for the local citizens of Wilkes-Barre. The Citizens’ Voice has covered natural disasters, like the September 2011 flooding along the Susquehanna River. When the river finally crested, it strained levees and forced evacuations.

The Times-Tribune: Scranton is home to the Times-Tribune and our archive includes these additional titles: the Scranton Tribune, The Tribune, Scranton Weekly Republican, Scrantonian Tribune, and The Weekly Scranton Times. The earliest paper in this collection dates back to 1866! Scranton’s namesake, brothers George and Seldon Scranton, arrived in the area in the mid-1800s and later developed the Lackawanna Steel Company. Steel, coal, textile mills, and other industrialization fueled Scranton’s growth which brought immigrant workers to the area. The Scranton Lace Company was a premiere producer of Nottingham lace for over 100 years until the company shut down in 2002. If you have ancestors from Scranton, search family reunion notices for a genealogical gold mine!

Start searching these and other Pennsylvania papers today at Newspapers.com!

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Horse and Buggy: The Primary Means of Transportation in the 19th Century

Today’s high-performance cars can have upwards of 700 horsepower. But in the 1800s, typical horse and buggy transportation consisted of one or two horsepower – literally! Horses and other animals including oxen and donkeys provided the primary means of transportation all over the world through the nineteenth century. A single horse could pull a wheeled vehicle and contents weighing as much as a ton.

Transporting people and goods was a costly venture in the 19th century. Animals required large quantities of food and water. Roads usually consisted of two dirt paths with a grassy strip in the middle and they were rough and bumpy. Wagon wheels formed deep ruts that in some places are still visible today, and those same dirt paths turned into a muddy mess when wet.

To meet transportation needs, a variety of types of wagons were available. Some were simple farm wagons, others elegant private carriages. Stagecoaches provided public transportation. Let’s take a look at some of the options our ancestors used for travel in the 1800s.

Buckboard Wagon

Buckboard Wagon: The no-frills buckboard wagon was commonly used by farmers and ranchers in the 1800s. It was made with simple construction. The front board served as both a footrest and offered protection from the horse’s hooves should they buck.

Gig Carriage: A gig was a small, lightweight, two-wheeled, cart that seated one or two people. It was usually pulled by a single horse and was known for speed and convenience. It was a common vehicle on the road.

Gig Carriage
Concord Coach

Concord Coach: American made Concord coaches were tall and wide and incorporated leather straps for suspension that made the ride smoother than steel spring suspension. They were also extravagant, costing $1000 or more at a time when workers were paid about a dollar a day. Wells, Fargo & Co. was one of the largest buyers of the Concord coach. Today the company still displays its original Concord Coaches in parades and for publicity.

Barouche

Barouche: A barouche was a fancy, four-wheeled open carriage with two seats facing each other and a front seat for the driver. There was a collapsible hood over the back. It was a popular choice in the first half of the 19th century and was used by the wealthy. It was often pulled by four horses. This barouche carriage carried Abraham Lincoln to the theater on the night of his assassination.

Victoria Carriage: The Victoria carriage was named for Queen Victoria and renowned for its elegance. It was a low, open carriage with four wheels that seated two people. It had an elevated seat for the coachman.

Victoria Carriage

Phaeton: The Phaeton was a sporty four-wheel carriage with front wheels that were smaller than the rear wheels. The sides were open and that exposed a gentleman’s trousers or a lady’s skirt to flying mud. The seat was quite high and required a ladder to access. Phaetons were fast, but also high-centered leaving them vulnerable to tipping. They were pulled by two or four horses.

Phaeton Carriage

Landau Carriage: The Landau carriage was considered a luxury city carriage that seated four. It had two folding hoods and was uniquely designed to allow its occupants to be seen. It was popular in the first half of the nineteenth century. Pictured here is Queen Elizabeth in a Landau carriage.

Landau Carriage

Brougham Carriage: Designed by England’s Lord Brougham, the Brougham carriage was lightweight, four-wheeled carriage with an enclosed carriage. It was popular because passengers sat in a forward-facing seat making it easy to see out. It was also lower to the ground and easier for passengers to climb in and out of the carriage. The Brougham was driven by a coachman sitting on an elevated seat or perch outside of the passenger compartment.

Brougham Carriage

Rockaway Carriage: The Rockaway originated on Long Island. It was a popular vehicle with the middle class and the wealthy. One distinguishing feature of the Rockaway was a roof that extended over the driver, while the passengers were in an enclosed cabin.

Rockaway Carriage
Conestoga Wagon

Conestoga Wagon: The Conestoga wagon was large and heavy and built to haul loads up to six tons. The floor of the wagon was curved upward to prevent the contents from shifting during travel. The Conestoga was used to haul freight before rail service was available and as a means to transport goods. Conestoga wagons were pulled by eight horses or a dozen oxen and were not meant to travel long distances. The Conestoga wagon is credited for the reason we drive on the right side of the road. While operating the wagon, the driver sat on the left-hand side of the wagon. This freed his right hand to operate the brake lever mounted on the left side. Sitting on the left also allowed the driver to see the opposite side of the road better.

Prairie Schooner

Prairie Schooner: As families moved west, a prairie schooner pulled by teams of mules or oxen was a common choice. It was like the Conestoga wagons, but much lighter with a flat body and lower sides. They were typically covered with white cloth and from a distance resembled a ship. Travelers in prairie schooners often traveled in convoys and covered up to 20 miles a day which meant an overland trip could take 5 months.

Stagecoach: The stagecoach was a public vehicle where passengers paid to ride long distances. Stagecoaches ran on a schedule and were typically pulled by four horses. Periodically, horses were changed out for a fresh team.

Stagecoach

To learn more about these types of carriages and others, search Newspapers.com today.

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What Old Newspapers Reveal about the Last of the Czars

If you were living in 1918 and saw a newspaper story about the murder of the Romanovs, would you have known who they were? How would you have felt about the news if you read it when it first broke?

Thanks to numerous books, plays, movies, and mini-series, most people today are familiar with the story of the Romanovs, the Russian royal family headed by Czar Nicholas II who were brutally executed in 1918, ending the country’s monarchy.

But that’s today. What about back then?

We headed to the historical newspapers on Newspapers.com to help us find out how people living in the United States and Canada at the time of the Romanov executions would have experienced the news of their deaths.

Would people living in the U.S. and Canada have known who the Romanovs were?

While we can’t speak for everyone living in those countries at the time, it’s pretty safe to say that if you were a newspaper reader, you would have known who the Romanovs were.

Since Russia was a world power, its monarch naturally drew the attention of newspapers. People could read about Nicholas II’s personal life, from his marriage, to the births of his children, to his visits to foreign royalty. And they likewise could read about Russian politics under his rule, from the Russo-Japanese War, to civil unrest and revolution, to World War I.

Newspaper headlines announce Nicholas II's abdication as czar (The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 03.17.1917)
Newspaper headlines announce Nicholas II’s abdication as czar (The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 03.17.1917)

There was fairly consistent newspaper coverage of the Romanovs throughout the years of Nicholas II’s reign, with the exception of a few years that had major spikes in coverage. The first was 1905, an eventful year in Russian politics headlined by a revolution attempt and Nicholas’s issuing of the October Manifesto (which promised an elected parliament).

The other two years that saw spikes in newspaper coverage of the Romanovs were 1917, when Nicholas II abdicated and was exiled, and 1918, when the family was executed. The abundance of newspaper coverage about the executions is probably self-explanatory, but the Romanovs’ lives in exile prior to their deaths seemed to fascinate newspapers almost as much.

How did Americans and Canadians back then feel about the Romanovs?

Nicholas II and Alexandra (The Pittsburgh Post, 11.26.1905
Nicholas II and Alexandra (The Pittsburgh Post, 11.26.1905)

Most people likely formed their opinions about the Romanovs based on newspaper stories—the main source of news at the time. So a look at how newspapers were portraying the Romanovs can help us understand how they would have been seen by the general public in the U.S. and Canada.

Nicholas was often portrayed by the American and Canadian press as an inept, weak ruler who was easily influenced by those around him. The more negative portrayals showed him as an arrogant, superstitious despot who cared nothing for the people he ruled, overly dependent on his wife and on incompetent advisors. The more positive portrayals, however, often wrote about him as a quiet family man who had the misfortune of being born into a role he wasn’t suited for.

As for his wife, Alexandra, the more flattering depictions portrayed her as an intelligent and spiritually-minded woman who was a loving wife and mother. The negative newspaper accounts tended to show her as a pro-German sympathizer who controlled her husband and was unhealthily obsessed with mysticism. 

As for the children—4 daughters and a son—newspapers paid the most attention to Alexei (Alexis), the long-awaited male heir. Although the royal family tried to keep Alexei’s hemophilia a secret, rumors of the boy’s poor health still made it into the American and Canadian media. This in turn led to articles predicting that Alexei’s likely early death would spell the end for the Romanov dynasty.

Did people know about Rasputin?

Newspaper interpretation of Rasputin and Czar Nicholas II (The Shreveport Times, 08.16.1914)
Rasputin and Nicholas II (The Shreveport Times, 08.16.1914)

Yes. Rasputin was a controversial, scandalous figure, and controversies and scandals have always been popular news items. News about Rasputin seemed to have taken a few years to reach the U.S. and Canada (he joined the Russian court around 1905, yet didn’t begin appearing in Western newspapers until about 1911). But once he became known in North America, he was a figure of fascination, and his mystical power over Alexandra and Nicholas was widely written about both before and after his murder in 1916. 

How much did people in 1918 know about the deaths of the Romanovs?

Not much—at least, not much accurate information. Because so much was kept secret by the Bolsheviks, news of the Romanovs’ deaths left Russia slowly, and the details that were reported were often far from what we now understand to have happened. This lack of concrete news opened the gates for a flood of rumors and unsubstantiated news.

Article incorrectly reports Romanov family is safe (The Morning Leader, 07.29.1918)
Article incorrectly reports Romanov family is safe (The Morning Leader, 07.29.1918)

Most initial reports indicated that while Nicholas had been killed, his family was still alive—which we now know was not true. Another oft-published item from around that time claimed that Alexei had died from exposure a few days after Nicholas’s murder—also incorrect. Fictitious accounts of Nicholas’s execution also circulated widely in newspapers, as did a plethora of tell-all articles of dubious veracity written by people claiming to have been connected to the royal family. To top it off, every few months articles would crop up claiming that there was a chance Nicholas was still alive.

There were so many conflicting accounts about what happened that even when a somewhat accurate account was published, there was no way for newspaper readers to be able to discern that this particular article was any more or less true than the numerous others.

The mystery of what really happened to the Romanovs lasted for decades, until the discovery of their bodies was made public in 1989. Even today, there are still things we don’t know about the Romanovs’ deaths, but one thing’s for certain: We know much, much more than people did in 1918.

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The 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing: July 20, 1969

On July 20, 1969, the world collectively held its breath as astronaut Neil A. Armstrong slowly backed out of the Lunar Module Eagle and cautiously climbed down a nine-rung ladder before stepping foot on the surface of the moon. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” were Armstrong’s now immortalized words.

Just four decades earlier, Charles Lindbergh made history when he flew the Spirit of St. Louis 3,600 miles across the Atlantic. Stunning advances in aviation technology followed. In 1962, amidst the Cold War and Space Race, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed, “We choose to go to the moon!”

That goal became a reality when on July 16, 1969, Armstrong and fellow astronauts Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. and Michael Collins strapped into Apollo 11 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Apollo 11 was a 363-foot tall Saturn V rocket containing the Command Module Columbia that housed the astronauts; a Service Module; and the Lunar Module Eagle. At 9:32 a.m. the rocket blasted off for a 240,000-mile journey that would bring them into a lunar orbit by July 19th. On July 20th, Armstrong and Aldrin transferred to the Eagle and descended to the surface of the moon. Collins remained in lunar orbit manning Columbia.

The Eagle has landed,” proclaimed Armstrong as an estimated worldwide audience of 500 million watched the landing. The call sign for Eagle immediately changed to Tranquility Baseonce the lunar module touched down.

Armstrong was first to the lunar surface, joined by Aldrin a short time later. The astronauts spent about two hours accomplishing a series of tasks including collecting samples, taking photographs and planting an American flag before entering back into the lunar module to sleep. After a rest period, and more than 21 hours on the surface of the moon, they returned to Columbia for the journey home.

With all three astronauts safely reunited in Columbia, the crew maneuvered into a trajectory that would return them to earth. On July 24, 1969, the USS Hornet which had been practicing recovery efforts for weeks off the coast of Hawaii moved into position to recover the crew of Apollo 11 after splashdown in the Pacific. On board the Hornet, all eyes scanned the horizon anxiously. Just before 7:00 a.m. (Hawaii time), Columbia splashed down in relatively calm seas. A smoking marine marker was dropped to mark the location and Navy swimmers jumped from a helicopter to attach inflatable flotation collars to the capsule. The astronauts were loaded in a raft, transferred to a basket, and hoisted up to the helicopter. The astronauts and crew members donned clean biological isolation garments in case the astronauts were contaminated with biological hazards.

Back on the Hornet, a cheering crowd that included President Richard Nixon, greeted the returning astronauts. They were ushered into a mobile quarantine facility where President Nixon congratulated them through a window as the three smiling astronauts peered out from behind the glass. Where were you the day men walked on the moon? If you would like to see more of the headlines and stories from the historic Apollo 11 mission, search Newspapers.com today!

For more on the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, see our Newspapers.com topic page.

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The New York Daily News Turns 100!

The New York Daily News, officially titled the Daily News, was founded in 1919 and initially known as the Illustrated Daily News. The paper attracted readers by pioneering the tabloid format and the liberal use of photography. For more than seven decades, its slogan was “New York’s Picture Newspaper.” The archives of the Daily News provide a stunning visual history of the 20th century and beyond and include coverage of city news, scandal, crime and violence, cartoons, and entertainment.

The first issue of the Daily News was printed in June 1919, not long after the end of WWI. The paper reported on the triumphant return of Gen. John J. Pershing and his American Expeditionary Forces in a parade through the city. Marching alongside the soldiers were women who served in the war in capacities like field secretary and canteen service.

The end of WWI brought a flood of new immigrants to the country. The archives of the Daily News provide a glimpse into the conditions they faced upon arrival. In 1920, the Daily News reported 3,319 immigrant arrivals at Ellis Island with accommodations for just 1500. Officials were overwhelmed and immigrants described horrible conditions. By 1921, officials addressed the complaints and conditions overall improved.  

The Daily News archives are full of sensational crimes like a 1964 jewel heist. Jack “Murf the Smurf” Murphy and accomplices cased the J.P. Morgan Hall of Gems inside the American Museum of Natural History. They found lax security and entered the museum at night through a window. They made off with 22 rare and priceless gems including the 563-carat Star of India sapphire and the 100-carat DeLong Star Ruby. The thieves were arrested days later and most of the gems recovered.

In addition to coverage of high-profile New Yorkers, the pages of the Daily News are filled with glimpses into the lives of everyday citizens. For example, in 1923 a young girl named Milly Terzian was visiting relatives in New York and became lost when the subway doors closed locking her aunt and uncle on the platform as the train whisked the child away. She later reunited with her father and uncle at a police station. In 1934, the Madison Square Boys’ Club was a place for boys to gather and learn new hobbies; a record snowstorm in 1947 didn’t sideline wedding plans for a young couple who exchanged vows in the Municipal Building; and this 1970 photo shows two young New Yorkers decorating the office Christmas tree in the newly opened World Trade Center.

Search the Daily News for the death notices, obituaries, and wedding announcements of your New York ancestors.

The pages of the Daily News provide a fascinating glimpse into history. Whether you have ancestors from New York; immigrant ancestors that arrived in New York; or an interest in history – start searching the Daily News today!

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