Anyone whose ancestors were early settlers (pioneers) in the location where they settled might be eligible to obtain a certificate recognizing that event. Many states, and several counties, offer certificates if those individuals lived there prior to a specific date.

For example the Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) established a Prairie Pioneer Project and the first pioneer was certified in 1982. Three categories of certificates are issued to descendants of pioneers who resided in Illinois prior to statehood, 1819-1850 and 1851-1880.

Documentation proving the pioneer’s date of residency in Illinois, along with proof of descent from that pioneer, must accompany the application. An application form with instructions can be found on the ISGS website at

To date, 3,933 certificates have been issued by ISGS. To view the List of Prairie Pioneers, along with county and year settled, visit

The Missouri State Genealogical Association offers two types of pioneer certificates: territorial, ancestors proven to have resided in Missouri on or before statehood, Aug. 10, 1821; and pioneer, residing between and including Aug. 11, 1821, and Dec. 31, 1860.

The article about these certificates, found at, also tells of other states with such certificates and how to find them.

Genealogical society moves

Genealogical collections of the Wayne County, Indiana, Genealogical Society have been moved from Richmond, Ind.'s, St. John Lutheran Church building to the First Friends Meeting location on Chester Boulevard.

To learn more visit About 400 boxes of books and other materials were moved.

Anyone with ancestors from that vicinity would be wise to visit the society’s website at, which also lists books that have been published by the society. If planning a visit, be sure to confirm days and hours of operation by contacting Wayne County Genealogical Society, PO Box 2599, Richmond, IN 47375 or

1910 Census gems has posted a helpful article on getting “the most out of your 1910 US census research” at For example, “If you do not know the origins of your ancestors, the Race column on this census may help point you in the right direction or give you ideas of where to look for further information on them.”

Look at 2020 Census

A graphic presentation of the upcoming 2020 census has been posted at Learn about the risk of undercounts, an inaccurate count, the threat of misinformation, important dates on the census calendar, and more.

Another article, at, provides specific details on the 2020 census, such as what questions will be asked, who is counted, and more.

Cemetery Symbols

Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter recently advised checking out BillionGraves’ blog on cemetery symbols to “make your next trip to the cemetery totally fascinating.”

Visit to learn about symbols such as an anchor, angel, arches, book, broken obelisk or butterfly. “Interpretations should always be considered possibilities, not certainties.”

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing

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