The pioneering years of aviation…was your ancestor involved in the quest to conquer the skies?
There’s an extensive range of pilot records now on TheGenealogist ranging from 1909 to 1926, looking at Aero Club members, Aeronaut certificates, airship certificates and the sadly all too frequent fatalities as our forebears strove to master the skies and to get their places in the history books. From Geoffrey de Havilland, to Charles Rolls of Rolls-Royce fame, Samuel Cody to war veterans Edwin Moon and Albert Ball, TheGenealogist can now provide a number of fascinating records of the race for the skies.
The new releases now join the ‘Who’s Who in Aviation’ record sets and the Air Force lists in a comprehensive aviation collection on TheGenealogist.
The Aero Club was founded in 1901 by Frank Hedges Butler, his daughter Vera and the Hon Charles Rolls. It was initially concerned more with ballooning but after the demonstrations of heavier-than air flight made by the Wright Brothers in France in 1908, it embraced the aeroplane. The records subsequently kept by the Aero Club provide a fascinating glimpse of the early pilots and the types of aircraft they flew.
Listed in the Occupational Records section on TheGenealogist Diamond Research Package, it’s a great insight into those early flyers. Unique, easy to search functions to find those early flyers -
- Name of pilot
- Their pilot licence certificate number
- Year of pilot licence granted
- Type of aviator record- were they just a standard club member like the famous retailer Harry Selfridge, did they become a qualified pilot like Edwin Moon or Albert Ball or appear on the fatality records like the famous Samuel Franklin Cody?
The new resource gives a tremendous amount of useful details on the early aviators. There are biographies, photographs and information on how flying had to become more regulated and documented for both safety and competition purposes.
The new records also encompass the war years of 1914 to 1918, as more pilots were trained for military purposes and the use of the aeroplane became apparent for both observation and as a direct threat to the enemy. Here, we find the many pilots who once they had received their Aero Club pilot licences, then embarked on the hazardous occupation of airborne warfare, where life expectancy was so short.
The aviator records of the early 20th Century show a unique historic snapshot of the courageous pioneers of the skies. Their indomitable spirit, competitive nature in pushing the boundaries of air travel and general disregard for their own personal safety, defines them as a breed apart. Bringing together this selection of ‘heroic celebrities’ using the Royal Aero Club collections and other records provides TheGenealogist with a tremendous range of records to offer to the family historian with an interest in those early pilots.
(With thanks to David Osborne)
My new book, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, is now available from Pen and Sword. My next Pharos Scottish course, Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers, starts May 15th - see http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/scotland-1750-1850-beyond-oprs-starts.html. Time to smash a few brick walls...!