Once of Google's 10th birthday gifts to the world is its re-release of a 2001 version of the search index. (The FAQ says there are "various technical reasons" for not displaying results back to Google birth year of 1998.) On it you can see what the service knew about any topic back then. Like you. Go ahead.
Pages that are not still live (which is a depressingly large proportion of them) may be served by the Internet Archive, but many old pages are offline for good. Google also notes that this index is not actually a perfect reproduction of the real 2001 index; some index entries have been removed for various reasons over time.
I found the index entertaining, but the lack of historical access to the early Web is distressing. And I fear that even with the Internet Archive up and running, we'll be in the same spot 10 years from now, due to a general lack of archiving procedures among site publishers, the predictable failures of businesses that hold online data (see Stallman: Cloud computing is 'stupidity'), and the inability of archive engines to pick up the content that's not on the open Web.