Pioneer Certificate

MUSKEGON COUNTY PIONEER CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

  • ELIGIBILITY
  • FEE
  • PURPOSE
  • CERTIFICATION
  • APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
  • SOURCES

ELIGIBILITY
To qualify for a Pioneer Certificate, the person must be directly descended (bloodline only) from an ancestor who resided in Muskegon County, State of Michigan, by and within the following years:

“Pioneer” category (1859 – 1894)

APPLICANTS MUST PROVE TWO THINGS:
1. They are a direct descendant (bloodline only) of the Pioneer ancestor, and

2. The Pioneer ancestor settled in Muskegon County by any of the years listed above.

Applicants do not need to be residents of Muskegon County or members of the Muskegon County Genealogical Society. You may do the research yourself, enlist the services of the Muskegon County Genealogical Society or hire a professional genealogist to prepare your paperwork and proof documents.
APPLICATION FEE: $10.00 (non-refundable), payable to MCGS. Paypal Link Below, Check or money order only.  NO cash.

PURPOSE
1. To honor the pioneers, early residents, and families with Muskegon County roots.
2. To encourage interest in genealogical research (a valuable source of information to your family).
3. To add to the history of Muskegon County.
4. To encourage higher standards of genealogical documentation.

CERTIFICATION
Both the residence of the Pioneer ancestor, as well as the descent from the Pioneer to the applicant (each ancestor, each generation), must be proved by documentary evidence. Eligibility, determined by a committee of the Muskegon County Genealogical Society, shall be final. Applications not approved will remain in pending file until proof is established. The certificates are suitable for framing.

OWNERSHIP OF APPLICATIONS AND MATERIAL SUBMITTED AND PRIVACY
All applications and verifying material submitted for the Pioneer Certificate become the property of MCGS. Names of Muskegon County Pioneers and their direct descendants may be published, on our website. You agree to this by submitting your application—you must sign and date the application.

HOW TO COMPLETE THE PIONEER CERTIFICATE APPLICATION

1. COMPLETE THE APPLICATION (CLICK HERE to print the Pioneer Application): for each Pioneer for which you are applying.

2. YOU ARE THE PRIMARY APPLICANT: Generation 1.

3. LIST YOUR COMPLETE: line-of-descent starting with yourself as (Gen 1 or G1), your parents as (Gen 2 or G2), etc., until you reach your Pioneer Ancestor, who will be the last generation.

4. EACH GENERATION: attach and identify event proof materials (COPIES ONLY, clear and readable).

5. USE PRIMARY PROOF: documents if they exist; otherwise, use 2 or more secondary sources, per event. (SEE ACCEPTABLE SOURCES OF PROOF BELOW) . DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS—they will not be returned, and will become the property of MCGS.

6. INCLUDE PROOF: of the Pioneer’s date and place of residence in Muskegon County, along with proof of his or her birth, marriage, and death.

7. USE ALL GIVEN NAMES OF ANCESTORS: (e.g., Susan Mary Damaris RICE.) For nicknames, list as Susan Mary Damaris “Susie” RICE.

8. CAPITALIZE SURNAMES: Women, use MAIDEN name. IF MARRIED MORE THAN ONCE, women need all marriage certificates to prove identity.

9. If married more than once, list the spouse who participates in the line of descent. Write in whether 1st, 2nd, etc. marriage.

10. DATE FORMAT: Day/Month/Year (e. g., 4 July 1776). If unsure of date or place, leave it blank.

11. LOCATION FORMAT: Fill in City or Township, County, State or Province, and Country for all place names, as named as of that date.

12. CITE SOURCE: if not stated on document, than put it on back of proofs (e.g.: Muskegon Co., Mich. Marriages, vol. 2, p. 176, record no. 314).

13. DO NOT FORGET TO SIGN AND DATE THE APPLICATION.

14. FEES: Non-refundable; $10.00 for each applicant, each Pioneer.

15. PAYMENT METHOD: PayPal (link below) Check or money order (no cash), payable to MCGS. USD$ funds only.

16. MAIL: (1) Fee, (2) completed Application, and (3) proofs of descent and residence, to:

MCGS Pioneer Certificate Program C/O Hackley Public Library—Torrent House
315 W. Webster Avenue
Muskegon, MI 49440-1208

(CLICK HERE to print the Pioneer Application)

ACCEPTABLE SOURCES OF PROOF

At least one primary source should prove each event. For the people without primary source, use secondary sources, submit two or more secondary sources for each such event.

PRIMARY SOURCES: are original records made at the time that the event occurred (e.g., marriage, census, etc.). In the few cases where that is not available, two or more secondary sources for each event or additional evidence may be accepted.

SECONDARY SOURCES: are those made later than the event or from secondhand knowledge. Thus, a death record is a primary source for a deceased’s death date and place, but a secondary source for the deceased’s birth date and place.

PRIMARY SOURCES

  • Birth, death, marriage records
  • Bible records (include date published page)
  • Church, mortuary, cemetery records**
  • Probate records
  • Land records, tax records
  • Census records (federal, state)
  • Military records (federal, state)
  • Court records (wills, deeds)
  • Official school records
    **records, not books published by gen. societies

SECONDARY SOURCES

  • Obituaries, dated
  • Newspaper clippings, dated
  • Diaries, journal, reminiscences
  • Tombstone inscriptions
  • Published family histories or genealogies (some)
  • Published county histories
  • Published biographical records
  • City or county directories
  • Atlas or Plat books
  • Unofficial school records