This project is sponsored by the Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society.  The objective is to encourage the preservation of family history of
Allegan, Cass, Berrien, Kalamazoo, and Van Buren County's early settlers by documenting their participation in county history and their lines of
categories by proving their ancestor's residence prior to the following dates:

Pioneer -
Allegan County - September 1, 1835 (organization of county)
Berrien County - February 25, 1837 (Berrien Springs named county seat)
Cass County - November 7, 1836 (first election of county officers)
Kalamazoo County - October 2, 1835 (first newspaper published in county)
Van Buren County - March 18, 1837 (organization of county)

Founder - April 30, 1861.  
Marks the first call for Civil War troops in Michigan. (Same for all five counties.)

Settler - January 1, 1891.  
Marks the beginning of the "other" great depression (second only to the Great Depression of the 1930's). (Same for all five counties.)

Builder - March 4, 1933.
Franklin D. Roosevelt's inaugural address beginning the country's resurrection from the depression.

Certificate
Each category will be issued a frameable certificate with seal (gold for Pioneer, silver for Founder, red for Settler, silver for Builder).

Fee:
Each category must submit $17.00 with each application. This is non-refundable.   Additional certificates for parents, siblings, descendants of
applicant, or other close relatives, may be obtained for
$3.00 each, but must also be submitted with proof of relationship.   For those who wish to
submit multiple applications, the fee will be waived after the first two if no certificate is desired. Certificates for 3 or more applications, if desired,
will be
$3.00 each.

Procedure:
Applicants must complete a  PIONEER CERTIFICATE APPLICATION .
Provide proof of residence for pioneer in Allegan, Cass, Berrien, Kalamazoo, or Van Buren County for designated time period.
Accepted primary sources include: vital records, land/plat records, census records, probate records, tax assessments, church records, school
records, court records, directories, military records, naturalizations, and records that were recorded at the time of the event.  Family histories,
county histories, newspaper clippings and other second-hand information will not be accepted as proof of residence or lineage.  These items
may be submitted as supporting evidence.
Provide proof of direct blood descent from pioneer to applicant.
Accepted sources include: In addition to the primary sources listed above, the following secondary sources will be considered: diaries/journals,
bible records, private papers, etc.  Documentation should provide proof of descent for each generation.
Applicants are encouraged to include proofs for all information submitted on application, but are required only to show blood descent.

Label each piece of documentation in upper right hand corner for what generation it applies (i.e., Generation #1, Generation #2, etc., with
Generation #1 being applicant).  Staple proofs in generation order to the back of the application.

Submitting the application:
Send the completed Pioneer Certificate Application with proofs and a check or money order for $17.00 to:
                                                                 
                                                                                  Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society
                                                                                              Attn: Pioneer Certificate Project                       
                                                                                                               P.O. Box 143                       
                                                                                                         Decatur, MI  49045

NOTE:
All proofs must include complete source ( i.e. book title, page, volume, location of original documentation, etc).  This may be printed on back of
each proof. Please do not send original documents. Copies are acceptable, but must be legible.

Applicants do not need to be members of Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society to apply.  Any applications in need of corrections or
additions will be returned to applicant with instructions.  Applications will be subject to approval of the Pioneer Project Committee and all
applications and proofs become the property of the society.

Applicants are encouraged to submit any additional family information, group sheets, biographies, photos, etc.
PIONEER CERTIFICATE PROJECT
              AS OF AUGUST 21, 2012 THE VBRGS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING NEW APPLICATIONS FOR THE
PIONEER CERTIFICATE PROJECT.   THE PIONEER CERTIFICATE COLLECTION, CONSISTING OF PAST APPLICATIONS,
CAN STILL BE ACCESSED THROUGH THE LOCAL HISTORY DEPARTMENT OF THE VAN BUREN DISTRICT LIBRARY
                                                                WEBSTER MEMORIAL LIBRARY
                                                                             200 N. PHELPS ST.
                                                                        DECATUR,  MI  49045
                                                                               269-423-4771