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June 3, 2020

E is for Explorer - Do You Have One?

Olive Tree Genealogy is continuing a new Alphabet Genealogy series of blog posts. I'm not following the usual way of going A-Z surnames. Instead I will create a one word "tag". Then I will share an ancestor (mine, my husband's, an inlaw's or one of my children's) who fits the tag

Today's letter is E and the tag word is Explorer. I don't have any explorers like Columbus or Henry Stanley but I do have Eileen Vollick, Canada's first licenced female pilot. Perhaps I can call her an Explorer.

My third cousin twice removed, Eileen Vollick (1908-1968)  became the first Canadian woman to obtain a pilot's licence in March 1928. Eileen was related to me in two ways, and was also my 7th cousin twice removed. 

"Canada’s first licenced woman pilot was born in Wiarton, Ontario. By the age of 19, she was a textile analyst at the Hamilton Cotton Company and had also won a local beauty contest. She was a spirited girl who had parachuted into Burlington Bay before taking flying lessons. It was 1927. Charles Lindbergh had just flown the Atlantic and Amelia Earhart was beginning to capture the public’s imagination. The diminutive Beach Boulevard resident had already set her sights much higher than anyone could have imagined!
She enrolled in the Flying School owned by Jack V. Elliot at Ghents Crossing on Burlington Bay. The only reservation that her instructor, Len Trip had, was that she was only 5' 1"s and had to use pillows to see out of the cockpit of the ski-equipped Curtiss JN-4 Bi-plane (affectionately known as a "Jenny")

The Comptroller of Civil Aviation issued Eileen a private pilot’s licence #77 on March 13, 1928, the first woman in Canada to qualify as a pilot.

After passing her flight test, she flew in the U.S. and Canada, often demonstrating aerobatic flying which she enjoyed immensely. Shortly afterwards she became Mrs James Hopkin, moved to New York State and raised a family, where she lived until her death in 1968."
Read more about this pioneer woman.

2 comments: said...

Indeed, I do have an explorer in my family tree. Pierre Esprit Radisoon is my 7th great uncle. He was a man of many talents and his lasting tribute is that of being a founding member of the Hudson Bay Company along with his brother-in-law, Medard Chouart Des Groselliers. Their contributions to the fur trade are well documented.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

That is very cool! I have not found a genuine 100% explorer in my tree but there's always hope.