Genealogical Requirements

The Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati has strict genealogical requirements for membership.

Legitimate descent from the eligible officer must be proven, generation by generation, through meticulous documentation of the relevant births, marriages, and death. Acceptable forms of documentation include:

  • Birth records; marriage and death records; Bible records; church records; tombstone inscriptions; court records such as probate, orphans, land, common pleas, etc.; census records from 1870 and later; newspaper items; and records of military service.
  • Family genealogies, but only those generations where statements are documented by reference to primary source material and where the quality of work is acceptable to the Society’s genealogist.
  • County histories published prior to 1880 may include records no longer extant. These may be acceptable to the Society’s genealogist. Later county histories are not acceptable unless adequately supported by additional evidence.

The Pennsylvania Society recently tightened its genealogical requirements, so proving relationship to a previous Hereditary Member (a father, grandfather, or uncle) may not be sufficient to qualify for membership. Documentation must be shown that traces the genealogy of the applicant back to the eligible officer.

Adopted children and their descendants are not eligible for membership.

If two or more applicants are claiming right of succession to the same eligible officer, the Pennsylvania Society reserves the right to determine which of the applicants has the strongest claim to succession.

Application can only be made to open lines of descent. Please confirm that a line is vacant by reviewing our list of Eligible Officers Not Currently Represented in the Society. While we keep this list as up-to-date as we can, it is not guaranteed to be accurate.

If you are interested in applying, get started today.