- The mission of The Society of Indiana Pioneers is to honor the memory and work of Indiana’s pioneers, by cultivating the interest of current and future generations in the lives and accomplishments of Indiana’s frontier settlers.
About the Society
Who we are
- Facilitating historical research by descendants of Indiana’s early setters and cooperating with other organizations promoting the heritage of Indiana, the Society fosters an understanding of and appreciation for Indiana’s pioneers — providing archives of ancestral information accessible by future generations for the study of Indiana’s frontier legacy.
- Currently there are four classes of membership available to those persons interested in the goals of the Society: Regular, Junior, Associate and Honorary. More information on becoming a member of The Society of Indiana Pioneers is available on the Types of Membership page.
- The Society cooperates with the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana Junior Historical Society, and other historical organizations. Over the years the Society has engaged in various projects. The Society currently has about 1000 members.
- From the Society’s office at 140 North Senate Avenue in downtown Indianapolis, we strive to serve our membership and continue to celebrate the rich Indiana Pioneer heritage that we share.
2018 Pilgrimage to Fort Wayne -- Curt Wicher presenting at the Allen County Public Library
What we do
- Since 1916, when the Society of Indiana Pioneers was formed, our society has recognized those who helped lay the foundation of civilized life in Indiana. Becoming a member of the Society of Indiana Pioneers is a wonderful way to pay tribute to Indiana’s heritage and your pioneer ancestors, well known or not, to assure their contribution to Indiana growth is not forgotten.
- If you trace your ancestry to a settler who lived in Indiana during its pioneer era, the application documentation for that settler becomes part of the Society’s genealogical archives — a unique source of information about Indiana’s pioneers.
- Or, if a Hoosier at heart, join us to dive deeper into Indiana’s pioneer era and learn more about the settlers who became the backbone of today’s Indiana.
The SIP yearbook is issued annually to all members either as a hardcopy or in digital format and distributed to many libraries around the state and Midwest. It contains articles on the early history of Indiana, news of the organization, a roster of members with brief notes on their pioneer ancestors, and a complete list of deceased members. Physical copies of past yearbooks are kept in our archives.
The Pioneer Times is the Society of Indiana Pioneers’ newsletter that is published at least once a year. Photos and updates on everything from projects to pilgrimages are covered inside each issue. The President and Genealogist add some notes as well to keep everyone informed AND new members are listed that have been added since the last newsletter!
In the past years, we have had spring and fall trips to early and pre-20th century historic sites in Indiana and/or adjoining states. These trips are arranged specifically for our group and include members and family and/or friends. Past pilgrimages have included visits to Lincoln’s boyhood home, Indiana’s first state capital in Corydon, and Vincennes which served as the capital of the Indiana Territory from 1800 until 1813.
See a list of recent-history Pilgrimages in the Engage section!
The Society provides graduate fellowships annually for master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation research in Indiana pioneer history and also presents the Society of Indiana Pioneers John H. Holliday Award to an outstanding junior historical society project in the state. Recently we have added field trip grants to History and Indiana Studies classes in grades 4 thru 12 that would otherwise lack the means to travel.
1935 Conner House Pageant -- SIP members participating
- In 1915, the Indiana General Assembly created the Indiana Historical Commission which led the planning, preparation and conduct of the celebration of Indiana’s Centennial. Local Centennial committees were organized throughout Indiana. John Hampden Holliday, publisher of The Indianapolis News, was the chairman of the Indianapolis committee
- Sometime during the weeks of Centennial celebration, Mr. Holliday came upon the notion of organizing a society composed of people who were descendants of the early settlers of Indiana, the pioneers who opened the State to civilization, thereafter discussing, promoting and planning it with family, friends and acquaintances. On September 15, 1916, Mr. Holliday and a considerable number of people met to hear the report of a planning committee and its presentation of a proposed constitution that was adopted by those attending. In a subsequent order of business Mr. Holliday was elected the first President, a position he held until his death in 1921.