First Families FAQ

I am a current First Families member and want to complete an application for my children and grandchildren. Do they also need to be members of GSP?

Yes, according to the program rules, they do.

May I submit more than one application?

Yes, you may submit as many applications as you wish. An application fee of $75 must be submitted with each individual application.

May I name more than one ancestor on a single application?

Yes, as long as each one is part of the direct line between the applicant and the earliest ancestor named and they all fall into the same time period. An application may name as qualifying ancestors, for example, the qualifying ancestor, his child, and his grandchild.

What about adopted children?

The First Families program is only open to those who can prove blood line descent from the claimed ancestor.

What types of records can be used to prove residence?

Tax records, deeds that indicate date of purchase or sale, dated deeds in which an ancestor appears as a neighbor, deeds or wills which the ancestor witnessed, land grants, military service, and census and church records are among the many records that prove residence in an area on a specific date.

What happens if I need to submit additional materials?

You may continue to add documentation to your application as long as it is active. Applications that are inactive for two years will be discarded.

May I submit my application via email?

Since application forms must be signed and accompanied by the appropriate documentation, there are no plans to allow online submission of application materials.

If my ancestor appears in the Ancestor Index, do I have to submit documentation for the generations I share with the application?

While you do not have to establish Pennsylvania residency, your application and supporting materials must document every generation in your own lineage from the ancestor to you.

A close relative has already had our joint lineage approved for First Families. Do I have to complete the entire application form?

GSP identifies the following as close relatives: parent, grandparent, siblings, aunts and uncles, and great-aunts and great-uncles. If your relationship falls into one of those listed, then you may use the “short form” procedure. You must submit a completed application form that describes the descent from the ancestor to yourself. However, you need submit documentation only for the generations that differ from your relative’s lineage. At the most recent generation that appears on both applications, you should note “See application of [name of relative,” approved on [date].”

Do I have to renew my First Families of Pennsylvania membership every year?

No. Once your application is approved, you and your ancestor become a permanent part of First Families of Pennsylvania.

What will happen to my completed application form?

GSP plans to preserve the complete application and supporting materials in digital form as part of its mission to preserve genealogical materials. An index to applications (excluding individuals born after 1900 to address privacy concerns) is part of the GSP web site and scanned applications (following the same restrictions) will appear in the Members Only portion of the web site in the future. As time and resources allow, the entire application package will be scanned for preservation.

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