The purpose of this Bicentennial Legacy Project sponsored by the Southern Indiana Genealogical Society (SIGS) is
“to honor the memory of the pioneers who came and lived in the counties of Floyd, Clark, or Harrison, Indiana before 31 December 1840.”
Anyone who can prove descent from at least one of those pioneers is eligible for recognition.
The project hopes to document the lives and contributions of some of the counties’ early Native Americans and pioneer African Americans, women, immigrants, and children.
Approved applicants will receive First Families certificates and be honored guests at the annual “History and Heritage Celebration” held on the first Thursday in October. This year’s Celebration will be on Thursday, October 5, 2017.
Documenting Your Application
The application requires proof of lineage: birth, marriage, and death for each direct ancestor as well as the connection between each generation; for example, if your pioneer ancestor is John Smith and you descend through his son Joe, you need to prove that John Smith is the father of Joe Smith as well as when John and Joe were each born, got married, and died.
To do this, please send readable photocopies (no originals) of the documents that prove each fact listed in the lineage list portion of the application. These documents can include birth and death certificates and marriage licenses, but can also include census records, tombstone photos, wills, deeds, family Bible records, county histories, etc.
- If the evidence you are submitting is from a book or manuscript, send a copy of the title page as well as all relevant pages you wish to cite.
- If the evidence is from a public or private document (such as a will, deed, probate record, family Bible, etc.), send a photocopy of the document and make sure to include the type of document, title, page numbers, etc.
- If the evidence is from a census record, please send an image of the whole census page, not just a transcription (such as the result page from Ancestry or FamilySearch).
- If a proof page refers to more than one generation, one copy is sufficient for all generations involved.
- If the image of any of the documents is difficult to read, please do not write over it but instead include a transcription in addition to the image.
- If a copy of the original document is not accessible, send a statement of where the document may be found.
Please note that pedigree charts (such as those you find on Ancestry) and existing family group sheets are not sufficient documentation, although you are welcome to include them as supplemental materials.
Completing Your Application
SIGS board members are happy to meet with any interested applicants to help them with their application. This is usually done before regular SIGS meetings on the first Thursday of the month but can also be scheduled for other times if more convenient. You can email SIGSvolunteer@gmail.com to request such a meeting.
Both the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library and Jeffersonville Township Public Library periodically hold programs on how to join First Families. Staff members in the Indiana Rooms of both libraries are happy to help you with questions about the application and finding sources; however, they are not able to complete applications for you or provide in-depth application assistance. If you would like such assistance, please contact SIGS at SIGSvolunteer@gmail.com.
Submitting Your Application
Applications for the current year are due by AUGUST 1st of that year. However, applications are accepted on a rolling basis and so applications received after August 1st will be evaluated for the following year.
All applications and source documents will be checked, and additional proofs will be requested if necessary.
Please note that submitted applications and documentation will become the property of the Southern Indiana Genealogical Society and will not be returned. Approved applications will be available for researchers in the Indiana Rooms of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library and the Jeffersonville Township Public Library, although all sources and vital information regarding living people will be redacted.
One-time registration and certification fees are charged per applicant based on the following schedule:
|First Pioneer Ancestor:||$15.00|
|Each Additional Pioneer Ancestor:||$5.00|
* Please note: you do not have to pay for each generation of your application; only the individuals you are specifically joining through through as a First Family pioneer (and meet the qualifications)
If two people are joining through the same ancestor, they only need to submit one set of documentation for each shared lineal ancestor. However, they would each need to pay $15 for their individual application.
Certificates will be issued for approved First Families Descendants during the Hoosier History and Heritage Celebration in October of each year.
If you are unable to attend the Celebration, make a note on your application and we can mail your certificate to you. Be sure to include $5 for postage with your application fee.
Mail your completed application and proofs to:
Southern Indiana Genealogical Society, Inc.
P. O. Box 665
New Albany, IN 47151-0665
For more information, email SIGSvolunteer@gmail.com