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California PIONEER Certificate Program

The San Diego Genealogical Society is honoring pioneers of the State of California who helped shape its future by offering ancestral recognition certificates. From early pioneers who settled in California before statehood, to those who experienced some of the state’s historical events, each has contributed to its historical legacy. The first certificate is the California Pioneer Certificate validating descendancy from a settler in California prior to its creation as a state in 1850.

The second is the California History Certificate validating descendancy from pioneers who experienced one of three historical events— the Gold Rush, the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, or the California Missions prior to 1850 . Each certificate is accompanied by a Lineage Chart illustrating descendance from the applicant to the pioneer.

Anyone may apply for one or more of these certificates by submitting a completed application form for each pioneer, copies of original documents showing evidence of direct descendance from that pioneer in one or more categories mentioned above and  the certificate fee.  Pictures and descriptive material about the pioneer are welcomed. Details of the program are on the instruction form.

Click on the image below to learn

more about our 

Wall of California

Pioneer Profiles  


Fee schedule:

Application fee, non-refundable for the first certificate   $30 for SDGS Members / $40 for non-members

Copy of certificate or certificate in another category, non-refundable   $15 for SDGS Members / $25 for non-members

(Copy or additional certificates must be ordered at the same time as the first certificate)

To become a member see our membership page.

The application form with instructions and fee schedule may be downloaded here:

Application and Instructions.

For questions about this program contact

Colin Whitney at

You can hear about the program by watching this video.

If your ancestor qualifies for a certificate, you can honor them by submitting their profile for our Wall of profiles For more information click on the image on the right. 

(If you click on pictures below, it will bring up a bigger picture in a separate window)


Click on the link below for more details and to submit your application fee. Member price will appear when you are logged into your profile.

 Details and apply here 

Post Office Box 635057
San Diego, 92163

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