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AIR76 & AIR79 Records

We've heard today from family history web site FindMyPast, that they are now offering searches and downloads on The National Archives digital archive of officers and other ranks personnel records, known to us as AIR76 and AIR79.
We've heard today from family history web site FindMyPast, that they are now offering searches and downloads on The National Archives digital archive of officers and other ranks personnel records, known to us as AIR76 and AIR79.

As far as I can tell, one AIR76 download for members of the www.findmypast.co.uk site costs 5 credits. Depending on how you subscribe to fidmypast this equates to about 60p, which compares very favourably with the standard TNA download charge of £3.30 - which, as of today (30-Jun-2014), is still available.

Maybe of more interest will be the ability to search and download airmen's personnel records, AIR79, which until recently were only available in person from Kew, and were not easy to navigate. Reading between the lines, it looks like FindMyPast have done an exclusive deal on these, as there's no access from the TNA web site other than a pointer to findmypast.co.uk!

  • Comments: (see below)

Article posted: 30/06/2014

Categories: Latest News

Comments

The AIR 76 material is not great, e.g. a single page displays and it takes a lot of fussing around to find very much. Also the metadata associated with each record is poor. The TNA downloads are still the best route for officers' records. (Well the WO files are still preferable for early career material, but they're unlikely to be digitised any time soon).

The AIR 79 material, however, is amazing. I spent quite a lot of time (and money) copying - or commissioning others to copy - a large number of these over the years but it's quite heartening to know that this avenue of research is now widely available. The metadata is excellent, e.g. if you not sure about the variations of a surname but know the birthplace then a search by county or home town will produce some excellent results. For RNAS personnel it still takes a little effort to match the AIR 79 with the ADM 188 files and there's no search facility via F-serial or 20++ serial. However, overall it is a very useful addition to any researcher's set of tools.
By: Joe Gleeson
On: 24/07/2014

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