Posted by pplotkin on October 22, 2018 in News, This Week in History

This Week in History is Ancestry’s look back at notable events from the past. Every week, we feature three moments in history from our archives – anything from important anniversaries, to tragic occurrences, interesting tidbits to entertaining factoids, This Week in History is our way of remembering what came before us.

During the week of October 22, the United Nations was born, the New York Subway opened, and the National Prohibition Act was passed.

The United Nations was established on October 24th, 1945 after the end of World War II. It was created with the aim of preventing another world conflict, and at its start, had 51 member states. Today, there are 193 members in the Nobel Peace Prize winning organization, which exists to maintain international peace and security, promote human rights, foster social and economic development, protect the environment, and provide humanitarian aid in the events of natural disasters and other circumstances.

Read more about the birth of the United Nations via The Dayton Herald

What’s the fastest way to get around New York City? Why, the Subway of course. This rapid transit system opened on October 27th, 1904 with a fare of $.05. Pretty ideal! On the opening day, only the main line from City Hall to Broadway was open to the public and additional lines opened weeks later. The New York Subway is one of the world’s oldest public transit systems, has the most stations, and offers service 24 hours a day. Running throughout the New York boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, the New York Subway system currently has 472 operating stations.

Read more about the opening of the Subway via the New-York Tribune


On October 28th, 1919, Congress passed the National Prohibition Act which consisted of a nationwide ban on the production, transportation, importation, and sale of alcohol. However, the consumption of alcoholic beverages during this time was not illegal, so many folks would make their own beer or wine at home or smuggle alcohol from neighboring countries. The goal of Prohibition was to reduce crime, solve social problems, and improve the health and hygiene in the country. People found their way around the law – drug stores were able to continue to sell alcohol for medicinal purposes, speakeasies opened up by the hundreds, and those who had hoarded alcohol before the bill was passed were able to drink in the privacy of their homes. The 18th Amendment was repealed in 1933 after thousands of people died from Prohibition-related violence and drinking unregulated alcoholic beverages.

Read more about the passing of 18th Amendment via The Chattanooga News


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  1. Shawn J Murphy

    Does anyone have a suggestion? My late grandfather claimed to have been born (probably into a family of destitution) in the Louisville, Kt. area giving a birthdate of 12/31/1884. Later if true he lied about his age telling his children all deceased that he was in Navy between 1898 – 1906 then going to sea possibly running aground or on a ship that sank in Alaska. Then he supposedly stayed to mine for a few years. Could he have been in the Navy or Navy Militia connected to a National Guard? Thus far have been unable to find records. Can only find with any factual information in Tacoma, Wa. in 1918 through 1952 when he died and nothing before. He claimed his father was from Ireland by the name of Logan Michael or Michael Logan Murphy with a wife named Sarah listed as unknown maiden name or another time Liggins.
    In retirement with medical issues I’m doing this research hoping to catch a break looking for him before 1918 with verifiable certainty.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!
    Shawn Murphy

    • Danset Waller

      Have you tried Canadian navy. Many people were heading to British Columbia from the US at that time.

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