How to Fill out the Application for a Pioneer Certificate

You do not have to live in Minnesota to apply for a Pioneer Certificate. You must be a direct descendant of the pioneer.  You may apply for a certificate for a pioneer who had no descendants of his/her own if you are a descendant of a sibling.

Only one pioneer/pioneer couple is accepted per certificate (application). All certificates ordered on one application are sent via First Class US Mail to the submitter's address.

Pioneer Name: This is the pioneer’s name or the names of a pioneer couple as you want it to appear on your Pioneer Certificate.

Submitter Name & Address: This is the name of the person submitting the application and the address to which the certificate(s) should be mailed. (If you pay on-line, certificates will be mailed to the billing address used for the Paypal payment.) 

Place and date of Residence: The city or township, and county where the pioneer lived.   Applicants must supply a photocopy of documentation that supports this claim.  Immigrants often did not appear in civil or church records for a period of time after their arrival in a community.  NSPP attempts to verify the oldest date possible, but will not issue a certificate bearing a year that cannot be verified independently.  Examples of documentation supporting the date of arrival in a Minnesota community include:

Line of Descent: Proof of descent for each generation from the pioneer to the applicant can include photocopies of

  • birth or death certificates

  •  census records

  • church records

  • court or probate records

  • printed obituaries and memorial folders

  • School records including signed report cards
  • published county/community history or local news articles
  • published family history

Each line of descent proof must clearly identify both the child and the parent(s) by name.   Norwegians often 'tried out" many surnames before settling on an American family name and we realize that last names may not be consistent in the proofs you provide.  If you are applying for additional certificates for children, siblings, or other family members, proof of parentage is required from the common ancestor shown on the applicant's line of descent to the individual for whom the additional certificate is requested.  If you are applying for a certificate for pioneer who died without children, proof showing the sibling connection between the pioneer and your direct ancestor should be included.

Once a year, all application materials received and processed by NSPP are forwarded to the Norwegian-American Genealogical Center - Naeseth Library in Madison, Wisconsin, where they will be permanently maintained and available for genealogical research.  We encourage you to include any family information that you feel would be of interest and value to future researchers with your application.Research Tip: and other on-line services that require payment are often available at your local public library at no charge.