Pioneer Certificates – Are You Eligible?

Are you eligible for a pioneer certificate?

Your Ancestors May Have Given You the Gift of a Pioneer Certificate

Did you know that several states (and many counties) offer various certificates if your family lived in an area prior to a specific date? For example, the Missouri State Genealogical Association offers three types of certificates:

  • Territorial Certificates – Ancestors proven to have resided in Missouri on or before statehood, 10 August 1821.
  • Pioneer Certificates – Ancestors proven to have resided in Missouri at any time between and including 11 August 1821 and 31 December 1860.
  • Civil War Service Certificates – Ancestors proven to have served in a Missouri military unit during the Civil War; those ancestors in other military units who saw service in Missouri during the Civil War; and those ancestors who were Civil War veterans and died and/or were buried in Missouri.

As my Snow family came to Missouri in 1836-37, I’m eligible for the Pioneer Certificate. My four Knox ancestors also give me eligibility for a Civil War Service Certificate. The State organization requires a $20 application fee. To become part of Missouri First Families I’m required to send appropriate documentation. Happy to!

Do you think any of your ancestors early residence makes you eligible for a Pioneer Certificate? Here’s how to find out.

Finding State or County Pioneer Certificates

Using Google, search for either “pioneer certificates” or “name of state” and pioneer certificates or “name of county” and pioneer certificates. For example, by entering: pioneer certificates in the search box I found

  • Oregon Genealogical Society
  • Washington State Genealogical Society
  • CCGS (Champaign County) Pioneer Certificates
  • Illinois State Genealogical Society (Prairie Pioneers)
  • Wisconsin State Genealogical Scociety
  • Dakota Territory Pioneer Certificate

and I wasn’t even looking for anything specific.  Just out of curiosity, I searched for: Iowa pioneer certificate and found that the Iowa Genealogical Society offers:

  • By 1846, to receive a Statehood Certificate
  • By 1856, to receive a Pioneer Certificate
  • More than 100 years prior to the date of application, for a Century Certificate

But what about those original 13 colonies? Are there pioneer certificates for those?

It’s definitely harder to find some kind of certification for colonial ancestors, but it is possible you’d be eligible for one of the many lineage societies. Although societies like the Daughers of the American Revolution are well-known, there are many other like societies. Click the link to read my article on joining a lineage society.

I’m proud of my early Missouri (and Indiana and Iowa and Kentucky) ancestors and am currently working on compiling documentation for a Missouri Pioneer Certificate. I think it’s something that other family members would love learning about – and sharing their heritage as well.

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