The Florida State Genealogical Society's Florida Pioneer Descendants Certification Program honors descendants of Florida pioneers who settled in the Territory of Florida prior to Florida achieving statehood on 3 March 1845.
Awards & Eligibility
September 30 is the postmark deadline for Pioneer Descendant Certificate Applications: However, we do encourage you to submit your application(s) early in the year. Each application is reviewed by two volunteers and can take up to 45 days to complete. Applications received after September 30th will be reviewed during the next year. Applications should be mailed to: Amy Crabill Lay, FSGS Pioneer Committee, P.O. Box 15352, Tampa, Florida 33614.
Florida Pioneer Descendant Certificate - State - This award can be given to any person regardless of his or her place of residence who shall provide documentary proof satisfactory to the committee, which establishes a solid chain of evidence that he or she has an ancestor who settled in Florida (present boundaries) before the state was admitted to the union, 3 March 1845. The application and all supporting documentation shall remain the property of the Society and the Florida State Archives.
Florida Pioneer Descendant Certificate - County - This award can be given to any person, regardless of his or her place of residence, who shall provide documentary proof satisfactory to the committee, establishing a solid chain of evidence that he or she has an ancestor who settled in a county of Florida (present boundaries) before the county was formed. The application and all supporting documentation shall remain the property of the society and the Florida State Archives.
Florida Pioneer Researcher Certificate - This award can be given to any person, regardless of his or her place of residence, who has successfully completed the research on behalf of a Descendant, to establish a new, previously undocumented Pioneer. The Researcher should not be a Descendant of this Pioneer, but they may be eligible to receive a Descendant's Certificate for a Pioneer in his or her own lineage. The application shall remain the property of the Society and the Florida State Archives.
Memorial Pioneer Certificate – Established to recognize deceased lineal descendants of a Florida Pioneer for whom an FSGS Florida Pioneer certificate (state or county) has been issued.
Type of Evidence Needed
A Primary source is a record that was created at or near the time an event took place by someone closely associated with the event. It is also called an original document, orginal record, or original source.
Examples include vital statistics, courthouse or other government records; other primary evidence might include Bible records (which must be contemporary to the events with the publication date of the Bible), diaries or old letters.
A Secondary source is a source of information created or compiled from original records, compiled records, or both. Secondary sources are good sources of information, but they must be evaluated for accuracy.
Examples are census records and newspaper clippings (give the name of the newspaper, location, page, and date of publication).
Some documents can be both primary and secondary. If you are unsure, feel free to contact us.
Possible Sources: Courthouses, public and academic libraries, Family History Center (applications before 1995 are on film) Florida State Archives (has copies of all pioneer files), P. K. Yonge Library (Gainesville)
Florida State Genealogical Society's Publications:
Pioneer Application Fees
The application fee is $45 for each application that can include multiple pioneers and multiple descendants that are in a direct family line of descent. This fee is due when the application is submitted. Once the application is approved, this fee includes 1 certificate and 1 Pioneer Descendant pin; additional certificates are $5 per certificate and additional Pioneer Descendant pins are available at $5 per pin.
You may now pay for your Pioneer Application Fee using a credit card through PayPal.
We do encourage each applicant to become a member of the FSGS in order to enjoy the benefits the FSGS offers. For further information on becoming a FSGS member please visit the Join or Renew section
Applying for a Certificate
To apply for a state, county, or researcher's certificate, begin by obtaining a copy of the Applicant's Workbook. To obtain a copy of the Workbook, you can either:
Download the Applicant's Workbook in Microsoft Word format or PDF.
Download the Workbook Forms in PDF or Microsoft Word format.
Download (if needed) additional labels in PDF format or Microsoft Word format. These will print on 30-to-a-page return address labels, available at most office supply stores. When printing these labels, you must use the "Page Scaling: None" setting within the Page Handling section of the Print dialog box. If you do not see these options when you print, you may want to download the latest version of Adobe Reader.
Mail your completed application to: FSGS Pioneer Chair, Amy Crabill Lay, PO Box 15352, Tampa, FL 33614
All applications must be approved by the committee. Initial applications must be postmarked by September 30th. Final copies of the application along with all documents, forms, and any additional fees are due by September 30. Copies of applications and documented proofs are contributed to the Florida State Archives and become a permanent part of Florida history, located at:
Bureau of Archives and Records Management
R. A. Gray Building
500 South Bronough
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
Questions? Click here to email the Pioneer Committee Chair.