Prairie Pioneer Certificate Application

The Champaign County Genealogical Society awards a Pioneer Certificate to anyone who can prove descent from someone who lived in Champaign County between 1833 and 1883, or in the area prior to the formation of the county on February 20, 1833.  Documented proof must show the date and location that the pioneer ancestor resided in Champaign County.
The Pioneer Certification Application is 3 pages.  The first page is instructions and pages two and three are the application.  The application can be downloaded from the following link, Pioneer Certificate Application form.
The following are guidelines for submitting a Pioneer Certificate Application:
  1. Please submit primary proof* of your ancestor's residence in Champaign County for a particular year. This date should be specified on the application.
  2. Documented evidence, such as census records, birth, death, including the document that put the pioneer in the county at his/her earliest date possible, must accompany the application.  Types of evidence may include but not limited to marriage records, school or church records, Bible records, military records, obituaries, estate records, land records, tombstone inscriptions (give location of cemetery), county histories, etc. Each person (including the applicant) on the straight-line chart should be proved as the child of the proceeding generation. Do not send original documents.
  3. Send proof of lineage for each generation from the pioneer ancestor to the person whose name is to be on the certificate. This can be primary or secondary* proof.
  4. Fill out blanks on the application, especially children of pioneer section.
  5. Make sure the permission release is signed and dated.
  6. Enclose separate $5.00 check for each application enclosed.
  7. If applications for more than one pioneer are enclosed , please send duplicate proofs for each generation in line of descent for each ancestor submitted.
  8. If applying for multiple certificates on the same pioneer ancestor, be certain that proof of lineage is documented for each individual family member desiring a certificate.
  9. Highlight key information on your proofs.
  10. List the type of proof for each generation on the accompanying page.
Thank you for your interest in this project. It will be a pleasure to process your application. If the above guidelines are followed, processing will move forward more quickly, and will help eliminate the need to return applications for additional documentation.
Please submit copies only. All applications and verifying material will become the property of the Champaign County Genealogical Society.
Print, complete application, and mail to:
Champaign Co. Genealogical Society
c/o The Urbana Free Library
Attention: Pioneer Certificate Chair
210 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801
*Primary proof is defined as a record or document created at the time of the event, or shortly thereafter, by eyewitnesses or persons directly related to the event. Records not meeting these criteria are secondary sources. Records that have been transcribed into printed matter or written form could contain errors and are therefore secondary sources.