Frequently Asked Questions About Pioneer Pursuit

The Washington Pioneer Pursuit contest is a little over half done. So far, we have more than 250 pioneers identified in our index and many more in the review process. While the contest part (a prize for everyone!) ends October 31, 2023, the program will continue as we march toward identifying every man, woman and child that lived in Washington Territory on or before Nov. 11, 1889.

We’re sure you’re not the only one with a question or two about the Pioneer Pursuit Contest. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. To see a list of other FAQs, click here.

What is the Washington Pioneer Pursuit challenge?

  • Our goal is to research and document the family histories of every man, woman and child who lived in Washington Territory on or before Statehood was declared on November 11, 1889.
  • At a minimum, we want genealogies for the Pioneer, his/her children, and his/her grandchildren – a total of three (3) generations. If you want to include additional generations, please do so.
  • The family histories are posted online for any interested family history researcher. There is no charge to access the histories and you do not have to be a member of WSGS.

Are Pioneer Pursuit and the Pioneer Certificate program the same?

No, they’re not the same. The Pioneer Pursuit Contest is designed to document every man, woman and child that lived in Washington Territory on or before November 11, 1889. The Pioneer Certificate (and First Citizens) program is a way to purchase a certificate signifying that your ancestor was in Washington Territory on or before statehood. If your ancestor was in Washington on or before December 31, 1900, you may be eligible to purchase a First Citizen Certificate.  To get more information about the Pioneer Certificate program, click here.

How do I get started?

Before beginning your research, we suggest you check the WSGS Pioneer Index. You may find the Pioneer you’re planning to research has already been researched. If you do find the Pioneer in the index, please send an email to Washington State Genealogical Society asking to see the genealogical data associated with the pioneer. If you are a WSGS member, you already have access to the complete Pioneer histories in the Members’ Only section. If you’re not a member, we encourage you to join so you have full access to all the data.  It is only $12.00 per year.

We also suggest you take a look at the Hints and Helps document available here.

Click HERE for a video presentation explaining Pioneer Pursuit and answering questions. This video recording is from the Pioneer Pursuit Roundtable discussion, 24 Apr 2023.