The Berrien County Genealogical Society offers 5 levels of Pioneer Certificates to honor your Berrien County roots. Complete the Pioneer Certificate Application using the forms and instructions here. Submit completed forms and documentation along with payment. Certificate fees are: Pioneer Certificate $10.00; additional Certificates for parents, children, siblings, or other descendents of the applicant $5.00 each; Shipping Charge if Certificate(s) are mailed $5.00 for each mailing address. Payment may be included with completed forms and docmentation or made via PayPal on our BCGS Store tab. Information can be dropped off at any BCGS event or mailed to: BCGS, P.O. Box 8808, Benton Harbor, MI 49023.
The Pioneer Certificate Committee will review your application and documentation for completeness and accuracy. If approved, the applicant(s) will be awarded a Certificate suitable for framing. The Pedigree Chart will be published in a future issue of The PastFinder newsletter and added to our website. The documentation provided will be placed in a binder and made available in our Library Collection.
LEVELS OF CERTIFICATION
- Trailblazer - Anyone living in the County prior to 1805, before Michigan was made an official Territory with a "Governor".
- Founder - Anyone living in the County between 1805 to January 25, 1837, prior to Michigan becomming a State.
- Settler - Anyone living inthe County between January 26, 1837 (Michigan's Anniversary) and December 31, 1862, prior to the 1st recorded deed in Michigan under the Homestead Act of 1862.
- Homesteader - Anyone living in the County between January 1, 1863 to June 30, 1908; whether or not they filed land under the Homestead Act, considered Michigan's Homesteader period.
- Builder - Anyone living in the County between July 1, 1908 to December 31, 1929; this was the last big immigration into the US before the activation of the 1924 National Origins Act.