Google Your Grandparents

Google News Archive

I can’t find the specific page at the moment, but I know that I first read about Google News Archive at Al Lewis’s Bytown or Bust, an absolutely indispensable resource for those researching Ottawa Valley ancestors. An online archive of historical newspapers sounded promising to me, so I googled my grandfather.
My paternal grandfather Allan Jerome Moran (1897-1978) was born and raised in Ottawa, and lived in the Ottawa area all of his life (mostly in the city of Ottawa, though he also spent a few years in the Gatineau region of Québec). So when I searched for him in the Google News Archive, I little expected to find him in a Pittsburgh newspaper (or in any American paper, for that matter). And yet I didfind several items in American papers, which had to do with his early career as a hockey player.


Photograph of Al (Allan Jerome) Moran, “Al Moran a Hockey Speeder,” Pittsburgh Press, 6 December 1916.

 


Most intriguingly, I discovered an article in the Pittsburgh Press which described him as “one of the speediest players” on “one of the fastest teams ever developed in the Dominion of Canada.” That team was the “Russell Hockey club,” which name was new to me. Also new to me was the fact that my grandfather had played on a team which travelled to the States to play against some teams which apparently took hockey a little bit seriously. I mean, this wasn’t the NHL or anything, but then again, it wasn’t just some guys throwing a puck around a rink in the backyard, either. So I’m now trying to find out a little more about the history of hockey in the Ottawa area, about which, I realize, I actually know very little.

Google your grandparents! And also your parents and your great-grandparents, and so on and so forth and etc. You never know what you might find, or where it might lead you.
A couple of suggestions:
1. Try nicknames and diminutives. A search for “Allan Moran” turned up a few items of the “married or buried” variety (which is good stuff, too, and well worth noting), but it’s “Al Moran” as search phrase which led me to the hockey stuff. Likewise, my paternal grandmother Mary Catherine Lahey (wife of Allan ["Al"] Jerome Moran) was known as a child as Katie May, which nickname got shortened in adulthood to “Mae.” It’s “Mae Lahey” and “Mae Moran” who appears in a few items in the local newspaper (mostly to do with membership in the CWL and related organizations, and that’s good stuff too, and well worth noting).
2. Try searching beyond the expected, local papers. I first limited my search of “Allan Moran” and “Al Moran” to the Ottawa Citizen, which led me to a few items, but it was an unlimited search of “Al Moran” which turned up a photograph of my grandfather in a 1916 Pittsburgh newspaper.