Commemorations – State and Local Recognitions

Arizona pioneers

If you can prove you had an ancestor in Arizona before their statehood date, February 14, 1912, you can apply for a Children of Arizona Pioneers Certificate. Request application and instructions from Joella Cheek, Pioneer Certification, HC29 Box 359, Prescott AZ 86301.

Arkansas Ancestry

Certificates of Arkansas Ancestry are available for descendants of Arkansas settlers in three categories. Territorial ancestors were residents of Arkansas before June 15, 1836. Antebellum ancestors were residents of the state before May 6, 1861. And Nineteenth Century ancestors were residents before December 31, 1900. Send an SASE for application materials to Desmond Walls Allen, Arkansas Genealogical Society, 99 Lawrence Landing Rd, Conway AR 72032.

Were your ancestors Colorado Pioneers?
The Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies Family Recognition Program recognizes pioneers to the state. There are three categories of families — First, Territorial and Centennial. Certificates are numbered and show ancestors’ names and names of applicants. If both ancestor husband and wife qualify, both names may appear on the certificate. Applicants need not currently reside in Colorado but must be direct descendant of an ancestor who does qualify. Applicant must submit proof of the direct relationship between each generation from the applicant back to the earliest Colorado ancestor. There is a $10.00 fee for each certificate.
   First family — Ancestor must have been born in or settled in what is now Colorado before February 28, 1861.
Territorial family
— Ancestor must have been born in or settled in the territory that is now Colorado between February 28, 1861 and August 1, 1876.
   Centennial family — Ancestor must have been born in or settled in Colorado at least 100 years prior to the date of application.
Contact CCGS, PO Box 40270, Denver CO 80202-0270, or Mary Heddles, Director, 1511 Spencer St., Longmont CO 80501-2414; [email protected].

   Seminole County, Florida natives and original families Seminole County is populated with newcomers but few can claim genealogical lineage beyond 1913, the year Seminole County was founded. If you have a link to Seminole County’s past, certify your ancestry.
The Seminole County Historical Society offers a Certificate of Heritage to anyone with a lineage in Seminole County prior to April 25, 1913. Each certificate requires a processing fee and documentation of lineage. For instructions, contact Heritage Committee, Seminole County Historical Society, PO Box 409, Sanford FL 32772-0409.

Georgia Pioneers
honors deeds of her earliest pioneers who established the state, customs, culture and history. Any direct descendent of settlers before 1826 can apply for the Georgia Pioneer Descendant Certificate with a complete application, proofs of descent and $10 fee. Contact Central Georgia Genealogical Society, PO Box 2024, Warner Robins GA 31099-2024.

Hawaiian ancestry
is the focus of Operation Ohana, a project sponsored by the Office of    Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), an ancestry registry to identify and locate Hawaiians worldwide. No charge nor minimum blood quantum is required. To register one must be a direct descendent from a person of Hawaiian blood. Contact Kimberly Kau, 711 Kapiolani Blvd, Ste. 500, Honolulu HI 96813; 808-594-1960.

Idaho Pioneers

If your ancestors settled in Idaho before July 3, 1890, contact the Idaho Genealogical Society, 4620 Overland Rd, #204, Boise ID 83705-2867.

Illinois Prairie Pioneers

Prairie Pioneer Certificates are an excellent way to honor Illinois ancestors, and document early Illinois settlement.
Certificates are issued in three categories: prior to statehood, 1819-1850, and 1851-1880. Applicants must be lineal descendants of Prairie Pioneers but need not live in Illinois nor be members of the Illinois State Genealogical Society.
The $10 fee is required when the completed application is submitted. Send a SASE to Prairie Pioneer Chair, IL State Genealogical Society, PO Box 10195, Springfield IL 62791-0195.

Winnebago and Boone County Pioneers
Winnebago and Boone Counties (Illinois) Genealogical Society issues Early Pioneer Certificates to direct descendants of early residents.
For an Early Pioneer Certificate, the applicant’s direct ancestor must have resided in Winnebago or Boone county no later than 1880. Certificates will be awarded in two categories: for ancestors in residence by 1880, ancestors in residence no later than 1850. Applicant need not have ever resided in either county.
For an application form, write: Early Pioneer Chairman, Winnebago and Boone Counties Genealogical Society, PO Box 10166, Rockford IL 61131.

Canal Pioneers
And now something new we’ve just discovered to honor families whose ancestors played a part in the settlement of the Illinois and Michigan (I&M) Canal National Heritage Corridor. The I & M Canal created a continental water passageway connecting Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. It was the completion of this early feat in 1848 that transformed Chicago into a boom town. For a Canal Pioneer application write The Canal Corridor Association, 220 S. State St, Ste 1880, Chicago IL 60604.

Chicago Ancestry
This certificate is available to individuals who can prove Chicago residency of ancestors in one or more categories. Categories for Pioneer certificates: 1772-1822 Early Settlers, 1823-1850 Early 19th Century, 1851-1900 Late 19th Century. Categories for Great Migration certificates: 1901-1909 Old Settlers, 1910-1920 Great Migration. A small $7.50 fee will be required when you submit completed materials. For application forms and details contact Certification Program, PO Box 438652, Chicago IL 60643-8652.

Iowa Pioneers

The Iowa Genealogical Society’s Certificate Program honors families with Iowa roots. Applicants must prove direct descent and that the ancestor settled in Iowa by 1856 for a Pioneer Certificate or more than 100 years prior to application for a Century Certificate. The person to whom the certificate is issued need not be living in Iowa. For application and instructions write Certificate Program, Iowa Genealogical Society, PO Box 7735, Des Moines IA 50322-7735.

Kansas issues three certificates for Forgotten Settlers of Kansas. Territorial certificates are for direct descendants of people who lived in Kansas prior to January 29, 1861; Pioneer certificates from 1861 to December 31, 1880; Early Settler certificates from January 1, 1881 and December 31, 1900. Send a #10 SASE to Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies, PO Box 3858, Topeka KS 66604-6858.

Detroit, Michigan, Original Settlers
Detroit 300, is a tricentennial celebration for the metropolitan area encompassing Oakland, Macomb and Wayne Counties in Michigan and Essex County, Ontario, Canada. Their Family Reunion Program provides the perfect vehicle to recognize families whose lineage connects them to Detroit history. Original Settlers, Early Families and Centenarians were honored as part of the official tricentennial events in July 2001. Original Settler families had ancestors who settled in this fur trading post and stopped off on the way to places further west between 1701 and 1750. Families received an official Original Settlers of Detroit Tricentennial Certificate and one representative from each verified descendant line was invited to the July event.

First Families of New Mexico

The New Mexico State Genealogical Society honors descendants of pioneers. To qualify your ancestor must fit in one of these categories: Native American, The Onate Period (1598-1680), the Reconquest (1692-1821), The Mexican Period (1821-1846) and Territorial Period (1846-1912). Send request to First Families of New Mexico, PO Box 8283, Albuquerque NM 87198-8283.

Pioneer and Indian families of Oklahoma or Indian Territories

First Families of the Twin Territories is sponsored by the Oklahoma Genealogical Society to recognize, honor and perpetuate the memory of families who were residents on or before statehood, November 16, 1907. Your membership in First Families requires proof that each generation of your lineage can be traced to settlers in the Twin Territories. Send SASE to OK Genealogical Society, PO Box 12986, Oklahoma City OK 73157.

   Ancestors of Oregon Trail Blazers who migrated west on the Oregon Trail between 1811 and 1911 are being honored during the sesquicentennial of the westerly migration with a certificate to commemorate their accomplishment. To qualify, a descendent of anyone who traveled any part of the Oregon Trail, should request information and registration. Send SASE to the Oregon Trail Project, 4620 Overland Rd, #206, Boise ID 83705.

First Families of Tennessee
is a project to commemorate the state’s Bicentennial in 1996 and honor descendants of its first residents. Membership is open to anyone who is directly descended from a person living in Tennessee when or before the state was admitted to the Union June 1, 1796. Write East Tennessee Historical Society, PO Box 1629, Knoxville TN 37901-1629.

Texas will celebrate its 150th anniversary as a state February 19, 1996 with a First Families of Texas commemoration program. Anyone descended from an ancestor who was living in Texas on February 19, 1846 should send a legal size SASE with 55¢ postage to First Families of Texas Certificate, Wanda L. Donaldson, 3219 Meadow Oaks Dr., Temple TX 76502-1752.

West Texas Pioneers
To help preserve the history of ancestral pioneers, the Texas State Genealogical Society (TSGS) will issue certificates to persons who are direct descendants of settlers who resided in West Texas prior to 1901. There is a $15 fee. For application, contact Mac Hill, TSGS, 2313 Lakeshore Dr, Cleburne TX 76031.

Pioneer Texas families
Collin Country, Texas, honors First Families (ancestor residing in county between 1846 and end of the Civil Way April 1865) and Reconstruction Families (ancestor residing in the county from the close of the Civil War until December 1899). Application write Jeanette Bickley Bland, Collin County Genealogical Society, PO Box 865052, Plano TX 75086-5052.

Utah Pioneers

Utah is honoring forefathers and mothers who crossed the plains and helped develop the state. Families may honor their ancestors in one of two classifications. Founders are those who came while Utah was still part of Mexico before it became a territory. Territorial pioneers are those who came before Utah became a state in 1896. For application materials write Utah Genealogical Association, PO Box 1144, Salt Lake City UT 84110.

1847 Oregon and California Trail Pioneers

The 1847 Pioneer Project goal is to document the 5,000 sturdy pioneers who took the Trail for Oregon and the west coast. Work is underway to identify and collect full genealogy information for these pioneers. If you have ancestors who crossed the plains in 1847, or access to other information about the emigration, contact Nancy Prevost, 637 E 18th Ave, Spokane WA 99203-2222; [email protected].

Wisconsin Pioneer or Century Ancestors
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society’s Pioneer/Century Family Certificate Program is to recognize families with Wisconsin roots and advance genealogical research in the state. Applicants for Pioneer must prove direct descent and that your ancestor settled in Wisconsin prior to 1851 or for 100 years preceding the date of application in the case of Century Ancestors. Applicants may apply for certificates to be issued to themselves or others and they need not live in Wisconsin to qualify. Certificates cost $4.00 each. For information or application send SASE to WSGS, PO Box 5106, Madison WI 53705-0106.

75th annual Seidemann Family Reunion at the family farm in Newburg, Wisconsin, was awarded a Sesquicentennial Ownership Certificate from the State of Wisconsin in 2008.
75th annual Seidemann Family Reunion at the family farm in Newburg, Wisconsin, was awarded a Sesquicentennial Ownership Certificate from the State of Wisconsin in 2008.