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Frequently Asked Questions

This document was last updated on November 1, 2022. Click here to download a PDF.
  1. What is the goal of the Washington Pioneer Pursuit challenge?
Our goal is to research and document the family histories of every Pioneer who lived in Washington Territory on or before Statehood was declared on November 11, 1889.
  1. Who is a Pioneer?
Every man, woman and child who lived in Washington Territory on or before Statehood is considered a Pioneer. It is estimated there were nearly 350,000 people living here in 1889. We encourage researchers to research special populations such as indigenous people, people of color, women and children.
  1. What is WSGS going to do with the research?
We intend to make the histories accessible online for any interested family history researcher. After the contest ends on Oct. 31, 2023, the histories will be posted on our website and be accessible free of charge.
  1. Are there prizes?
What’s a contest without prizes? Yes! Cash prizes will be awarded to the top individuals and top genealogical societies with the most submissions. Societies’ entries will be proportional to their membership. In addition, EVERY society and individual who submits a family history will be given a prize!
  1. What format should I use to detail the family histories?
The histories must be in Microsoft Word or a text file. GEDCOMs are not acceptable. Please CAPITALIZE the name of the Pioneer and/or BoldSee example here.
  1. 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.
  1. Who can enter the contest?
  • Genealogical societies and/or individual genealogists can join the fun. We encourage genealogical societies to focus on their county or area, as you know it best.
  • You do not have to be a member of WSGS to participate, but please consider it. To join, click here.
  • You do not need to be related to the Pioneer.
  1. What information are you looking for?
Like all good researchers, you should provide the full name; date and place of birth, marriage and death; name of children; and places he/she lived in Washington (if known). Don’t forget to cite your sources!
  1. How many generations are you looking for?
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.
Don’t forget that a baby born in Washington Territory on or before Nov. 11, 1889 is still considered a Pioneer, so that baby, his/her children and grandchildren should be included.
  1. What if some of the Pioneer’s descendants are still living?
If any descendants are still alive, please include only their name and the word “living.”
  1. What if I have more questions?
We’re here to help you. Make sure you review all the documents, including this FAQ and the Example. We also suggest you join the free Washington State Genealogy group, at https://groups.io/g/Washington-State-Genealogy to ask questions, offer help, and coordinate with other Pioneer Pursuit researchers.
If your questions still aren’t answered, email us at WAPioneerPursuit@gmail.com. Again, we’re here to help you.
The Washington Pioneer Pursuit Contest is sponsored by the Washington State Genealogical Society. For more information, check out the Pioneer Pursuit web page