Many of my readers are aware of my connection with the Michigan Genealogical Council (MGC). I am a Past President and currently serving as a Director on the MGC board. I try to promote MGC and genealogical societies whenever I can. One program I am happy to support is the MGC Pioneer Certificate Program.
I had written a blog post in 2016 about the MGC Pioneer Certificate program that MGC had at the time. I wrote a 2019 updated post telling about the revised Pioneer Certificate program. The Pioneer Certificate program has been successful and MGC is sharing the application information collected from this program online.
There are two ways to qualify for a certificate and pin. One is the Pre-Statehood Certificate for ancestors who were in the state of Michigan before January 26, 1837. The other certificate is for First Families. If your ancestor lived in Michigan between January 26, 1837 and December 31, 1880, you could apply for a First Families certificate.
The MGC Pioneer Certificate program has an index and database where researchers can see the applications of those granted Pioneer status. If you have ancestors who were in Michigan prior to 1880, check this database to see if someone has applied for a certificate.
Once you search for a name and find an ancestor, look to the far right for a column titled, "Certificate Number". Click on the box with the certificate number to see a list of all the names associated with that certificate application, but don't stop there.
The next column to the right is the "View Documents PDF." This is where you will find scans of all the documents submitted with the application. There are birth, marriage, and death certificates, Bible records, family histories, biographies, land records, and more. The only items you won't find are those of anyone still living. Those documents are included in the application, but not scanned into the database.
What can you do if you don't find an ancestor? Submit your own application. The MGC website's Pioneer Certificate section has all the information you need to apply for your own ancestor's certificate and pin.
Screenshot taken from Mimgc.org Pioneer Certificates section.
Each of the categories above has a + sign to the left when you visit the website. Click on the + sign to get more information on the topic. There is a brochure, sample application, a Pioneer Certificate application, and more. Looking at "Pioneer resources on the web" provides useful resources for Michigan research.
I have applying for certificates on my to-do list. I am the descendant of six ancestors that would qualify in one of the two options. They are Samuel S. Glover, Daniel Fenn, Lucy Hyde, Samuel B. Poor, J. August Fredrick, and William G. Dyer. I just need to decide which one to use and get to work collecting the proof.
I'll apply if you will. Don't procrastinate like I have. Please leave a comment if you find your ancestor in the database or if you plan to apply. Your ancestors name will be forever known as a Michigan pioneer by the Michigan Genealogical Council if you apply through the Pioneer Certificate program.