The Children of John Vallely and Anna Lillian Moran

John J. Vallely (1861-1935), son of Michael Vallely and Mary Ryan, was born 21 January 1861, in Lanark Co., Ontario, Canada. He emigrated to Grand Forks, North Dakota about 1882.

Anna Lillian (“Lila”) Moran (1861-1915), daughter of Alexander (“Sandy”) Michael Moran and Mary Ann Leavy, was born 17 May 1861, at Huntley township, Carleton Co., Ontario, Canada. She emigrated to Grand Forks, North Dakota about 1888 (and here she joined several Moran siblings who already emigrated to Grand Forks).

On 28 November 1889, at Grand Forks, North Dakota, John Vallely married Lila Moran.

The couple had four known children:

  • Mary Lillilan Vallely (1896-1982)
  • Margaret Irene Vallely (1898-1970)
  • Alonzo Joseph (“Jack”) Vallely (1900-1983)
  • Michael Alexander Vallely (1903-1947)

And here, with permission from the owner of the photograph, are the four Vallely-Moran children. This photograph is not a casual snapshot: it is a highly stylized studio portrait. It was probably taken about 1905:

Children of John J. Vallely and Anna Lillian ("Lila") Moran

Children of John J. Vallely and Anna Lillian (“Lila”) Moran

Carleton Tavern history

Rosemary and John Moran in front of the Carleton Tavern

Rosemary and John Moran in front of the Carleton Tavern

I was very interested to read Dave Allston’s 80 years of history at the Carleton Tavern (Kitchissippi Times). The Moran family that he references is none other than my own:

The Morans immediately converted the house back into a grocery store. Thomas Moran and his family resided upstairs, while a series of shopkeepers operated the grocery store on the main floor. In 1922, the family constructed a house next door at 229 Armstrong (now the site of Holland’s Cake and Shake), into which–in 1927– the Moran’s moved their grocery store. 223 then became the location of other types of businesses, including fruit dealers and butchers. In 1930, Thomas Moran decided to open a confectionery of his own on the main floor of 223. However it was his next move which would prove to be most significant.

In 1935, after five years of operating the confectionery, 75-year-old Thomas Moran extensively renovated the house at 223 Armstrong, and opened that fall as the Carleton Hotel…

…On February 26 1941, Moran sold the Carleton Hotel to Harold Starr and Harry Viau, for the sale price of $10,500.

Thomas Moran was the brother of my great-grandfather Alexander Michael Moran. It was Thomas and his wife Bridget Mary McDermott who first opened and operated the tavern (then called the Carleton Hotel). Family lore has it that they sold the tavern and its license because they didn’t think there was a future in liquor sales!

My father spent his early childhood living next door to the Carleton Tavern, at 231 Armstrong Street. He and his family lived upstairs, while his grandparents, Alexander Michael Moran and Anna (Annie) Maria Benton, ran a small grocery store downstairs. That’s my dad (just his leg) and his sister Rosemary in the above photo. My dad always told me that the man in the background was Harold Starr, who purchased the tavern in 1941.

My dad was a true Ottawa native born and bred. And he was also the product of an earlier Catholic parish-neighbourhood system, around which RC familial and communal life was once organized. He knew the city like the back of his hand; and he seemed to know, or know of, or know something about, almost every Irish Catholic family in the region, and quite a few French-Canadian Catholic families too. We (my sisters and I) had only to mention a classmate (we attended the “separate,” Roman Catholic schools), and our father would have a memory or an anecdote about his or her father or grandmother or second cousin or something. I now sincerely regret that I didn’t conduct formal oral history interviews with my father when I had the chance, he was such a rich source of Ottawa local history and folklore. But you know how it is: you keep meaning to do it, and then it’s too late. (Note to family history researchers: Do those oral interviews that you keep meaning to do. Do them NOW).

Anyway, my father used to love to take us on Sunday afternoon drives around Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley. We didn’t always know where we were headed, and neither, I’m sure, did he. “Where are we going, Dad?” we’d ask. “It’s a mystery,” he’d reply. We’d end up in Carp, or Arnprior, or maybe, for a more urban experience, in Sandy Hill. Always there were great stories, along with a treat (ice cream, perhaps, or maybe some fries from a chip wagon). I learned a lot on those Sunday drives, though of course I didn’t realize it at the time. We called them “Johnny’s Mystery Tours.”

My dad especially loved to take us to Armstrong Street and the Parkdale Market. He would point out the house where he had lived as a child, and then relay a tale of boyhood mischief that made his past seem like such a realm of unbelievable childhood danger and freedom! How I thrilled, in my safe and boring suburban middle-class enclave, to the notion of living upstairs from a grocery and next door to a tavern. This was an Ottawa that is rarely, if ever, captured by most Canadians’ idea of Ottawa as a city of dull-but-efficient bureaucrats, a starched-underwear town, the city that fun forgot.

This was an Ottawa of decidedly rougher edges, and of a good deal more local colour. A city of working-class pride, of pick-up hockey games, of Friday night fish fries, of ethnic rivalries between the Irish and the French (the Anglo Protestants apparently didn’t even enter the lists), of mothers gossiping over laundry lines, of my father learning how to curse from the dairymen down the street and then having his mouth washed out with soap. At 231 Armstrong Street.

Scrapbook page HERE.

Notre Dame Basilica, Ottawa

Coming up: some search tips for the parish register of Notre Dame Basilica, Ottawa. An unwieldy parish register (full of perils and pitfalls, and hence the need for tips and tricks), but also a very important parish register for anyone searching for Catholic ancestors in the Bytown/Ottawa area and beyond.

Below: my high school graduation photo, taken in front of Notre Dame Basilica, Ottawa.

mc notre dame ottawa high school grad

John Killeen (about 1828-1906)

I found this photograph attached to a family tree at, and contacted the owner for permission to post at my site. The owner kindly granted my request.

This is John Killeen, son of Denis Killeen and Mary Ahearn.

John Killeen (1828-1906)

John Killeen (1828-1906)

John Killeen was born about 1828 in March Township, Carleton Co., Ontario.

On 20 December 1852, he married Margaret Fahey, daughter of John Fahey and Margaret Lahey. I believe he was the first in his family to marry a Lahey, but he certainly wasn’t the last. On 12 January 1858, John Killeen’s youngest sister Margaret Jane Killeen married John Lahey, son of James Lahey and Ann Armstrong, and first cousin of Margaret Fahey. And in the next generation, John James Lahey, son of John Lahey and Margaret Jane Killeen, married his cousin Bridget Loretto Killeen, daughter of Patrick Killeen and Bridget Galligan. Said Patrick was also a son of Denis Killeen and Mary Ahearn, and therefore a brother of John Killeen and of Margaret Jane Killeen. Confusing? Yes. You really need visual aids to figure out the Killeen-Lahey connections.

And then there are the Galligan connections. As mentioned above, Patrick Killeen, son of Denis Killeen and Mary Ahearn, married Bridget Galligan (1835-1861), daughter of Patrick Galligan and Mary Cullen. Meanwhile Denis B. Killeen, son of John Killeen and Margaret Fahey, married Bridget Galligan (1858-1938), daughter of John Galligan and Ellen McGee, and a cousin of Patrick Killeen’s wife Bridget Galligan.

John Killeen and Margaret Fahey lived first in March Township and then in Torbolton Township, Carleton Co., Ontario, where they raised a family of ten known children, at least four of whom emigrated to Minnesota. Margaret Fahey died on 5 November 1899; and John Killeen died on 6 November 1906. They are buried at St. Isidore Roman Catholic Cemetery in Kanata (formerly March Township).

Patrick Ryan (1842-1920)

I found this photograph attached to a family tree at, and contacted the owner for permission to post at my site. The owner, who must be a distant cousin of mine, kindly granted my request.

This is Patrick Ryan, with perhaps one of his daughters, Bridget (“Jette”), Catherine (“Cate”), or Honora (“Annie”). The photograph was probably taken at their home, outside Killaloe Station, Renfrew Co., Ontario.

Patrick Ryan (1842-1920)

Patrick Ryan (1842-1920)

Patrick Ryan was born in 1842 at Curraghafoil, Doon,1 Co. Limerick, Ireland, the son of Michael Ryan and Bridget Lahey, and the brother of my 2x-great-grandmother Honora (“Annie”) Ryan, who married Thomas Benton. I am not sure when Patrick Ryan emigrated to Canada. His parents and sisters were in Canada by 1856; and his youngest sibling Hannah, born about 1854, may have been born in the United States (perhaps Ogdensburg, New York?), which would suggest an early 1850s Ireland-to-North-America emigration for Michael Ryan and Bridget Lahey and their daughters. But Patrick and his brother John Ryan may have come later (late-1860s?).2 In any case, Patrick Ryan was in Canada by 1871, as was his brother John.

On 17 August 1874, Patrick Ryan married Bridget Devine, daughter of Michael Devine and of Catherine (maiden name unknown to me). The couple had nine known children, six sons and three daughters. Bridget Devine died on 24 April 1891, and the cause of her death, as recorded in her Ontario civil death registration, indicates a ghastly death from childbirth complications: she apparently died, at the age of 38, of “Haemorrhage of the womb. 2 days’ duration.”3

On 13 November 1893, the widower Patrick Ryan married Ellen Harrington, daughter of John Harrington and Julia Sullivan (of Co. Cork, Ireland? I have not looked into the records here, but my first guess would be Co. Cork). The couple had four known children, all sons. Their third son, the Rev. Stephen Joseph Ryan, was a Catholic priest who died in New York City in 1930.

Patrick Ryan died on 14 August 1920, and is buried at St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Killaloe, Renfrew Co., Ontario. His headstone identifies him as a “Native of Co. Limerick Ireland.”

  1. Doon is the civil parish. The Roman Catholic parish is that of Kilcommon, a North Tipperary RC parish which extended into Co. Limerick.
  2. The 1901 and 1911 Canadian census returns, along with their Ontario civil death registrations, suggest that Patrick Ryan and John Ryan did not come to Canada until the mid- to late-1860s. While their parents and sisters were certainly in Canada by the 1861 census enumeration, I have not found Patrick or John in the 1861 Canadian census returns.
  3. Two days!? O, the horror. Nineteenth-century death records are the main reason why I’m pro-modern medicine, and also the reason why I’m a bit of a proselytizer on the necessity of childhood vaccination. Whenever I encounter a proponent of the anti-vaccination position, I want to take that person on a tour of the nearest graveyard, to show him or her the headstones for all the little Johns and little Marys who did not make it to age 5, who were carried off at a tender age by childhood diseases against which we now have the solution: and that solution is vaccination.

Go west (and then north), young man

dad frobisher bay

(Click on the above image to see a larger version of the .jpeg file).

My dad, John Alexander Moran (right) at Frobisher Bay, late 1950s.

He said that he just went out west, presented himself to the office of the geological survey, and they hired him — by telling him to buy several items, including these boots and jacket, and then to come back for transport.

John Alexander Moran, 1934-2013

John Alexander, Sir John A, John, Johnny, Dad, Da, Daddy. The Big Guy, Ye Big Hoser.

My father, John Alexander Moran (6 September 1934-14 March 2013), in an early-1960s, “Mad Men”-era photograph. He’s the tall, dark, and handsome young rogue at the far left: 

John Alexander Moran, far left, early 1960s.

John Alexander Moran, far left, early 1960s.

Lahey cousin in the background. As always, and of course.

Ottawa Teacher’s College, ca. 1961

After moving from Perth to Ottawa when she was about 16 years old, my mother attended two Ottawa schools: 1). Notre Dame Convent School (south side of Gloucester Street,near Metcalfe), where she completed high school; and 2). The Ottawa Teacher’s College (northeast corner of Elgin and Lisgar Streets).

This is my mother’s class at The Ottawa Teacher’s College. I believe it was taken in 1960 or 1961. My mother (Catherine Frances McGlade, 1939-2012) is in the back row, first from the left.

Ottawa Teacher's College, ca. 1961

Ottawa Teacher’s College, ca. 1961

Note the variations in skirt length in the above photo. This looks like the transition from the 1950s to the 1960s!

On the back of the photograph are some autographs of her fellow students:

mcglade catherine teacherscollege signatures

Boxing Day Wedding, 1963

I should have posted these photos on 26 December 2013: fifty years later.

My parents were married (at Our Lady of Fatima, Ottawa) on Boxing Day, 1963.

Wedding recessional, Our Lady of Fatima, 26 December 1963.

Wedding recessional, Our Lady of Fatima, 26 December 1963.

Signing the register at Our Lady of Fatima, Ottawa. 26 December 1963.

Signing the register at Our Lady of Fatima, Ottawa. 26 December 1963.

December 26, 1963: John Alexander Moran and Catherine Frances McGlade

December 26, 1963: John Alexander Moran and Catherine Frances McGlade

Well, I am biased, of course (I mean, obviously), but these photos, taken before I was born, seem to lend support to my recollections that my mother had a smile that could light up a room, and that my father was a bit of a handsome young rogue in his day.

John Alexander Moran, 6 September 1934-14 March 2013
Catherine Frances McGlade, 10 October 1939-22 December 1912

“Lost Ottawa” Facebook group

If you’re on Facebook and you’re interested in Ottawa local history, you should definitely subscribe to “Lost Ottawa,” which bills itself as “a Facebook research community devoted to images of Ottawa and the Outouais up to the year 2000.”

I have to say that, much as I enjoy seeing “Lost Ottawa” images turn up in my Facebook feed, I sometimes find it rather depressing. In the 1960s and 1970s, Ottawa lost so many of its beautiful older (19th- to early 20th-century) buildings to “progress,” and “development,” and ugly, utilitarian, Stalinist-style architecture.

Okay, “Stalinist-style” is admittedly a tad hyperbolic, but still. It is sad to see what Ottawa has lost of its built environment, through lack of respect for/attention to the principles of sane and sound historic preservation. No, we cannot save every building, and some older buildings are probably not worth saving. But this does not mean that we should tear down any old building whatsoever, in order to make way for the construction of yet another condo complex. And yes, times change, and the original purposes of older buildings become obsolete. But from this concession to the imperatives of change, it absolutely does not follow that older buildings are, by definition, useless obstacles to the realization of contemporary needs and goals. Many older buildings can and should be refurbished to meet new purposes, instead of bulldozed into the ground to make way for soulless concrete blocks.

Anyone with a Facebook account can join “Lost Ottawa” by clicking “Like” on its front page.