The Bobbed-Hair Bandit

Her crimes and her style made her an iconic figure in 1920s New York. Stop anyone in the street to ask them their thoughts and some might say she was a figurehead of women’s liberation. Others might say she was a prime example of the corrupted “modern woman.” All would say she was called the Bobbed-Hair Bandit.
Bobbed-Hair BanditIt seems Celia Cooney’s lawless career began rather simply. She and her husband, Ed Cooney, disenchanted with their meager circumstances, first began robbing stores with a misguided “get-rich-quick” kind of philosophy. Celia only ever wanted to be a proper housewife with her own home and furnishings and to take care of the child she was pregnant with at the time (who, sadly, passed away only days after birth). The Cooneys kept their crimes small and simple—no shots fired, no injured parties. Just hold ups and extra cash.
Bobbed-Hair Bandit SummarizedThe Cooney’s final robbery, described in part above, ended up being witnessed by enough people that the “Bobbed-Hair Bandit” was discovered. Her true name was revealed, along with that of her “tall companion,” and their three-month adventure in crime came to an end with long sentences in separate prisons. 
(Sensationalized) Account of their CaptureEd Cooney tried to help Celia by confessing that he was the reason for it all, but Celia denied this, saying, “if it had not been for me Edward would have gone straight. I was the cause of all the trouble.”
Not Much Romance to the Girl BanditAlienist (noun): former term for a psychiatrist.

Find more on Celia and Edward Cooney with a search on, or check out this great article on the topic by Atlas Obscura.

The Red Cross School for War Brides

In the years following WWII, many U.S. soldiers were stationed in Japan as the country came under Allied occupation. Despite differences in culture and resentment on both sides for atrocities committed during the war, thousands of romances blossomed between the G.I.s and Japanese women. To help numerous Japanese brides learn the customs of their husbands’ country before they moved to their new homes, organizations like the Red Cross created bride schools.
Red Cross brides' school

The schools focused primarily on teaching the “war brides,” as they were called, some fundamentals of American culture. Cooking, etiquette, homemaking, and fashion were the main focus, while history and politics—though present in the lessons—took up the rear due to prevailing gender roles of the time.

The schools’ ethnocentrism often came off a bit patronizing, especially in retrospect, but the American teachers did occasionally learn some things themselves.

brides' school

Instructed in American hair-dos

Occasionally the teaching went both ways

Find more on these schools for War Brides with a search on

“War Time” Daylight Saving Begins: February 9, 1942

U.S. Presidential Inauguration: January 20, 2017

On February 9, 1942, “War Time”—a year-round daylight saving time—began in the United States. Passed by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the year-round daylight saving time required that clocks be moved ahead one hour for the remainder of the war as a national defense measure to conserve energy.

Missouri votes on daylight saving time, 1947America first implemented a partial-year daylight saving time in March 1918, during World War I, and though there was popular support for the wartime measure, there was also disapproval, primarily from farmers and the railroads. The national daylight saving time was repealed after the war ended, but it continued on at the local level, especially in the North, East, and parts of the Midwest.

A national daylight saving time was again implemented during World War II, but this time, rather than lasting only part of the year, daylight saving time lasted all year. The purpose of “War Time,” as this form of daylight saving time was called, was to conserve power and provide extra daylight for war industries to increase production. As with World War I, after World War II ended, the national daylight saving time was quickly repealed, but it remained a local issue, with each state, city, and even business deciding whether it would adopt daylight saving time or not.

This patchwork form of daylight saving time caused much inconvenience and confusion, and in 1966 a national law was signed calling for daylight saving time to fall from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October, with the option for states to exempt themselves. The energy crisis of the 1970s once again prompted the adoption of a year-round daylight saving time beginning in January 1974, but it actually only lasted 10 months, as legislation was signed adjusting yet again the time period of daylight saving time.

Another bill was signed in 1986 that moved daylight saving time to the period from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday of October. This remained the law for many years until the most recent daylight saving legislation, implemented in 2007, set daylight saving time from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

Daylight saving time has remained a contentious issue in the United States ever since it was first implemented during World War I, as people debate its effect on energy, safety, farming, and much more. However, most of the United States now follows daylight saving time, with the exception of Arizona, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories.

Want to learn more about the history of daylight saving time? Start a search on!

The Amazons, the Bodyguard…the Suffragettes

When you think of the original suffragettes, what comes to mind? Pinned up hair and modest dresses? Marches and lifted signs? Jiu-jitsu?
She Teaches Jiu Jitsu to the SuffragettesA woman named Edith Margaret Garrud, having previously learned the art of jiu-jitsu from instructors Edward William Barton-Wright (the first jiu-jitsu teacher in Europe) and Sadakazu Uyenishi, used her knowledge to teach classes of her own for the Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK. The object of “suffrajitsu,” as it was called by journalists, was to help suffragettes resist police interference in meetings and protect against arrests and rearrests.
Jiu-Jitsu for the SuffragettesThe article above does not exaggerate. This particular group of suffragettes were themselves quite militant, breaking windows and setting fires. This led to some rough handling by the police trying to arrest them despite desperate resistance. Once jailed, many of the women engaged in hunger strikes and were force fed through tubes. Later, introduction of the Cat and Mouse Act allowed for suffragette leaders to be released from jail so they would eat again, only to be rearrested for the same crimes once they’d regained their health. These sorts of rearrests were just one of the things fought against by “the Bodyguard” or “the Amazons”—the women who learned jiu-jitsu and used it to defend Suffrage leaders.
They surprised their World War I slowed the movement significantly, but Garrud’s jiu-jitsu and self-defense classes continued until her retirement in the mid-20s. She lived another 50 years and died at the age of 99. Speaks well for the practice of martial arts, don’t you think?

Find more on Garrud and her jiu-jitsu suffragettes with a search on, or try browsing through at your leisure for clippings of interest to you.







The Greatest Lawman in the Old West

U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves is the subject of today’s blog post, and a worthy subject he is. He was one of the first black deputy marshals west of the Mississippi, and thus had the authority to arrest any and all who deserved it, regardless of race or gender. Tough, fearless, and practically invincible during his 32-year career, he was the absolute best at what he did.
Bass ReevesReeves was a clever and honorable man who was unfailing in his devotion to his duty. Once a warrant found its way into his hands, he was tireless in his efforts to see the criminal brought to justice. And Bass Reeves always got his man. Stealth and disguise were his companions in many of his arrests:
Disguise and Deception: Bass ReevesHe claimed to have brought some 3,000 felons to justice during his work in Arkansas and the Oklahoma territory. Though he was responsible for the deaths of fourteen men, he was said to have only ever killed in defense of his own life (despite finding himself in many dangerous situations):
Close calls, but he never shot a man if he could help itOne instance that perhaps best demonstrates Reeves’ convictions was the arrest of his own son, Bennie Reeves, for murder:
Arrested his son for murderIllness led to Reeves’ retirement in 1907. He died three years later from nephritis at the impressive age of 72, having never been wounded in the line of duty.
True American HeroFind more on this fascinating character of Old West history with a search on He was also a primary character in the most recent episode of Timeless, “The Murder of Jesse James”. Though the show claims the Lone Ranger was based off of Reeves, there is no evidence to solidify this link. Still, it can confidently be said that Bass Reeves was about as close to a real-life Lone Ranger as a person can get.














800+ Newspapers Added in 2016!

2016 was a great year for We added over 800 new papers to our site, which adds up to an additional 100 million+ pages of new content! Can you believe it? That means now has upwards of 4,400 papers, with more coming in 2017. Finding your ancestors in the newspaper has never been easier!

With so many titles added to our site in 2016, some of them may have escaped your notice. So here’s a look at four major papers added to last year:

The Los Angeles Times. Explore 135 years of Southern California history! Established in 1881, the Los Angeles Times has been the leading paper in the City of Angels since the 1940s, winning 42 Pulitzer Prizes to date. has issues from 1881–2016.

Sample The Los Angeles Times front page

The Philadelphia Inquirer. One of the oldest surviving papers in the United States, the Philadelphia Inquirer gained its reputation during the Civil War, when it became one of the best-regarded papers for accurate war news. One of the nation’s most prominent papers, the Inquirer focused on comprehensive news coverage for much of its history, making it a particularly valuable source for learning about the events and issues prevalent in your ancestors’ day. has issues from 1860–2016.

Sample The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Arizona Republic. When the paper began publishing in 1890, there were already two papers in Phoenix, but by 1915 the Arizona Republic had become the largest paper in the state. The Republic boasted full coverage of the Associated Press wires, as well as coverage of news from the city of Phoenix and the rest of Arizona. has issues from 1890–2016.

Sample Arizona Republic front page

The Des Moines Register. A daily morning paper for much of its history, the Des Moines Register grew to become the most influential newspaper in Iowa and an important regional paper. If you have ancestors from Iowa, the Des Moines Register is a great place to look for them, as the paper historically had strong local and statewide coverage and also published numerous photographs of locals. has issues from 1871–2016.

Sample The Des Moines Register front page

To stay up-to-date with’s newest additions, check out the New & Updated page.

*With a Basic subscription, you can see issues of these papers through 1922; or, with a Publisher Extra subscription, access those early years and additional issues from 1923 onward.

The Murder Castle

Herman Mudgett is the worst man you have probably never heard of, unless you happen to be familiar with his alias, H. H. Holmes.

Holmes made an appearance on Timeless this week as the show gave us a peek into the history of the World’s Fair Hotel—or as it would later be known, the Murder Castle. No spoilers about the show here, but you can probably guess from the morbidly straightforward nickname that this story isn’t going to be pretty.
Murder CastleThe Murder Castle was originally just your usual impressive, 3-story hotel. It was built by Holmes in Chicago as lodging for visitors to the Chicago World’s Fair, scheduled to take place a handful of years after construction. But—and this is where things get weird—Holmes filled his hotel with stairs that went nowhere, soundproof and airtight bedrooms, and doors that opened onto walls, among other oddities. He was constantly firing the construction workers and hiring new ones so that no one would know the full scope of his bizarre plans. Once the hotel was built he did the same with his employees, making sure they were in constant rotation to prevent anyone learning about the alarms that tracked guests’ movements, the gas lines in the bedrooms, the sealed up brick room that was only accessible through a trapdoor in the ceiling, or what he called the “secret hanging chamber,” which needs no further explanation.

H. H. HolmesAs you might expect, Holmes used his nightmarish fun house to murder people through hanging, asphyxiation, or sometimes starvation or thirst. Unbelievably, the basement of the hotel was his own personal post-murder medical chamber complete with large furnaces, lime pits and acid baths. He sold his victim’s organs to medical professionals and disposed of the remains, and somehow managed to not get caught doing any of this, for years. The World’s Fair came and went, and still he was not discovered.

He was finally arrested in Boston for another murder that was unrelated to the hotel, and authorities followed his trail back to Chicago. They discovered the Murder Castle, with its horrific rooms and secret chutes, and found human and animal bones and bloody women’s clothes inside.
Holmes's Secrets Coming to LightHolmes was connected to nine murders and confessed to several others. He was hanged for these crimes in May 1896, but it’s possible that during his time as a con man and murderer he may have killed up to 200 people in total. We will never know for sure. Holmes was one of the first documented serial killers, before the term serial killer even existed. And he was entirely unapologetic about it, even until the end.

Holmes' words

Holmes's QuoteIf you’re interested in this bit of history, give it a closer look. The details only get more and more unbelievable. Search for Holmes or his murder hotel on for contemporary or modern accounts.


The Luckiest Day of the Month?

Happy Friday the 13th, everybody!

Today is perhaps the most unlucky of days, the bane of the superstitious. The number 13 is avidly avoided by many in the world, and when combined with a Friday? No thank you.

However, a search on regarding the unluckiness of Friday the 13th brings up a surprising trend of results: people who insist it’s quite the opposite. Here are just a few:

13 Unlucky? Opposite For Some.
Friday the 13th a perfect day for Jerry Myrup
Nothing especially unlucky about Friday the 13th

So go forth and make today whatever you’d like it to be. And good luck!

Find more on Friday the 13th history, opinions and more on



Find: Ads through the Ages

Since about the 1830s, newspapers have relied on advertising to pay for part of their operating costs. This meant that the more ads they ran, the more money they made. As a result, for a long time, newspapers were the main source people used to find out about new products and learn about sales at local business.

Listerine ad, 1957These ads make for interesting reading today, as they give us a glimpse into the products and services our ancestors and more recent family members may have used in years past. And some of those products might be surprisingly familiar, since some things we still use today have been around longer than we may have realized. For example, Coca-Cola has been around since 1886, Cream of Wheat since 1893, Arm & Hammer baking soda since 1867, Jell-o since 1897, Oreos since 1912, Cracker Jack since 1896, and Listerine since 1879.

Take a look at some of these ads from decades past found on Your ancestors may have used these ads to buy the same products you enjoy today!

Find many more ads from throughout history on, either by searching for specific products or browsing through the pages of a particular paper. You might even want to try looking at ads in newspapers from the areas where your ancestors lived to get an even better idea of what types of products they may have used!