Michigan Genealogical Council

Pioneer Certificate Program Application Instructions

Michigan Genealogical Council Pioneer Certificate Program Application Instructions

The Pioneer Certificate Program is a direct descendant project. Lineage through adoption is not accepted.

Please read these instructions before preparing your submission. This committee will not be responsible for the research needed to complete the application. Questions about the application or possible resources are welcome. However, volunteers from societies belonging to the council may be able to help with the preparation of the application.

Each generation will need to be documented using reliable evidence, as in primary and secondary sources. This committee will determine the acceptability of all documents submitted to verify lineage. The Pioneer Committee will have the final say in its approval.

Ancestors in the same direct lineal descent (meaning direct bloodline) may be eligible for both certificates. For example, the father or mother of your First Families submission may qualify for Pre-Statehood. It is acceptable to combine the two applications using one set of documentation, checking the appropriate boxes on the application AND INCLUDING TWO APPLICATION FEES. This (using one set of documents) may only be done at the time of the initial application submission.

Certificates will be generated for each qualifying ancestor and appropriate pins awarded.

Additional family members may also wish to apply for a Pioneer Certificate. If, for instance, your child(ren) or sibling(s) wish to submit an application, it MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE INITIAL PACKET in order to use one set of documents. An application fee is required for each person applying.

  1. Include additional fees
  2. Fill out page one of application for each person
  3. Fill out and include the generational links page with the appropriate citation page

Connecting to a previously submitted application (this applies only to the current Pioneer Certificate Program established in 2019- not previous programs)

  1. The lineage page must be filled out in its
  2. Documents must be submitted linking the new application with the previously accepted
  3. The citation page must list the new documents, however, for the generations already proven, ONLY the Pioneer Certificate Number needs to be listed on the citation and lineage page in place of

Document #/ Reference.


Please fill out the Early Ancestor’s name as you wish it to appear on the certificate- this includes the names of a couple, if application is for both. Keep in mind that space is limited. Too many characters- the font shrinks and looks unbalanced and style will be left to the discretion of the committee.

The same applies to the applicant’s printed name- fill this out as you wish it to appear on the certificate.

Understand that you are giving permission to share your application and your sources. If the applicant is a minor, a parent must sign for them. The application will be housed at the Archives of Michigan. Your documents may be scanned and available, through this committee, for future researchers. NOTE: this committee will use a three generation rule for sharing current vital records, however the citation will be available. For example, if you send your birth certificate the citations only will be available: BC, Michigan BC.

It would not be unusual for you to receive a request for additional documentation. Reviewing the application for completeness and perhaps working with a local genealogical society might alleviate that occurrence.

Please do not use highlighter and do not staple documents together.

Documents must be legible. Provide transcriptions for any hard to read documents or those recorded in languages other than English. Please underline, in RED, the pertinent information.

Form for Lineage:

Application Instructions: Please print legibly or type in black ink. Do not use staples to fasten proofs to forms.

  1. Please completely fill out one application for each
  2. Complete the Direct Lineage Each person, including applicant, must be proved as the child of preceding generation.
  3. Names:
    1. Use all capitals for
    2. Use maiden names for all women
    3. List all given names of an individual
    4. Use quotation marks around nicknames
  4. Dates and Places:
    1. Write dates as day month year Example: 01 Jan 1880
    2. Write places as Town or Township, County, State or Country
    3. Use postal abbreviations for state names
  5. Verifying proof must be submitted for each fact: birth, marriage, death,
  6. Do NOT send original Send only copies of proof documents. Nothing will be returned.
  7. Number the proof documents, on the front LEFT CORNER, for each generation Documents may be used for more than one generation
  8. Cite the sources for all proof documents on Make sure you have recorded the corresponding reference number.
  9. Photocopies of original documents are preferred proof documents, if Secondary sources are accepted when properly sourced and used with available primary sources. Copies of photos may be submitted if properly identified. Photos cannot be returned. Examples of proof documents include, but are not limited to, those listed in the table below.
  10. Underline, in RED if possible, pertinent
  11. All materials submitted become the property of the Michigan Genealogical Only approved applications will be filed at the Archives of Michigan for availability to future researchers. Sources or documents, not readily available, will be scanned and available to researchers upon request to this committee. (Excluding documents of those still living)
  12. The committee shall determine eligibility and their decision shall be considered
  13. Any questions may be directed to certificates@mimgc.org Mail completed application & all documents with check or money order payable to:

Michigan Genealogical Council
Attn: Certificates
P.O. Box 80953
Lansing, MI 48908-0953

Additional hints:

Fill out names as instructed on application.

Make sure you also cite and send a copy of the documentation used to prove residency. Document #/Reference column:

  1. Use abbreviation for document type (such as BC or BR-see list of abbreviations)
  2. Each document needs to have a corresponding Reference number, simply number each document on the front left side and then use that number for the citation page. Each document has a unique number. Documents may be used more than once.
  3. REMEMBER some documents may be used for more than one Example: a death certificate may be used for the date of birth, birth location, death date and death location.
  4. If the document you send does not contain certain information- don’t include it. Example: John D. Smith- don’t include the full middle name. Or a full date on a tombstone if it only shows the year range 1800-1850.

LINK BETWEEN GENERATIONS: list the document used for the link with the reference number.

Example: BC #1

Source Citation Page (s)

  1. Please use as complete a citation format as possible, this will ensure a future research will be able to duplicate your research.

Examples-please include the database or repository if applicable

Books: use Author, title, volume, page, publisher, publication date, where found Bible: John Jones Family Bible, in possession of applicant (or record where found) Birth, Marriage, Deaths:

Certificates: BC, MC, DC, Delayed Birth Certificate: del BC

Certificates online: MI BC, years-Ancestry

Vital Records: BR, MR, DR, years-Ancestry; familysearch.org film#


1880 C, Oakland Co, MI, p, line #


TS (tombstone) FindAGrave.com, Memorial # 123456 (only copies of readable stones are accepted, non- documented biographical information is not acceptable. In some cases acceptable documents, such as death certificates have been uploaded to the page but a citation must be included)

Bur Rec, Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne Co., MI

Church records: US Dutch Reformed Church Rec in selected states, 1639-1989, NY Germantown NY, book 81, Ancestry.com Court Records: Instrument (Probate, deed, adoption, guardian) name of court, State, Case file #


Obit, Pontiac Press, date, p#, col #, Newspaper.com Published transcriptions would follow book format

Tax Records: US IRS Assessment lists, 1862-1874, MI, Oakland, dist #, div #, FamilySearch # Town Records: Town Rec, Cumberland, ME, BK 1, p 36

Webpages: Title, URL, date accessed Will: Essex Co, MS, WB 4, pgs 49-56

Online databases: Ancestry; FamilySearch; BLM GLO Records

Common Abbreviations

  • Ante/Before p- After/Post c- circa bapt- Baptized bur- Buried

Co-County                          Twp-Township

Acceptable Proof Documents:

Vital Records

Birth, Marriage, Death

Church Records

Birth, Baptism/Christening, Marriage, Death or Burial

Bible Records

Must include copy of Bible publication page. Date entry should be contemporary

with the publication or printing date of the Bible.

Military Records

Enlistment, service, discharge or pension papers

Census Records

State or Federal. Must include a copy of the headings with the location information

Cemetery or Sexton Records

Must include name and location of cemetery. May include memorial number, Section and Lot number if known. Photos of headstones or markers only if

information on stone is legible in the photo. Unsourced biographies are not acceptable.

Government Records

Immigration, Naturalization, Passports, Land & Deeds, Probate records, Tax records,

Voter lists, or Lawsuits.


Obituaries & articles must be dated. Name of paper and publication information

must be included (place published; date; page number, etc.)

City /County Directories

Must include publication information

County Histories


Include a photocopy of title page and publication information

Family Histories


Include a photocopy of title page and publication information

Plat & Survey Maps

Include publication information when known