Membership in the Society of the Cincinnati is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious and sought-after accomplishments in the hereditary society community. The guidelines of the Original Institution have been in effect, with some modification, since the initiation of the Society of the Cincinnati in 1783. Each State Society approves candidates who qualify for membership from an officer who served in the respective state line of the Continental Army.

Becoming a Hereditary Member of the North Carolina Society is a multi-step process. After contacting the Registrar advising of your interest, your first step is qualifying the ancestor you wish to be considered for entry into the Society (your Propositus). There are several qualifying criteria which are detailed below. Only one person at any one time may represent each Continental Officer eligible for the North Carolina Society.

If the Qualifications Committee approves your Propositus, then the Registrar will send you a Personal History Data Sheet. Once returned to the Registrar, the Nominating Committee will then review it and invite you to a meeting of the Society. If, after your attendance at the meeting, your Personal History Data Sheet is approved, then you will be requested to submit an Application with accompanying genealogical proof. Your genealogy will be reviewed by a certified genealogist employed by the North Carolina Society. If verified, the Application will then be presented to the Standing Committee and the Membership for decision.
For the North Carolina Society, there are specific military service criteria which guide the Propositus qualification decision. In general, an officer of the Continental Army or Navy must meet at least one of the following criteria: Served thirty-six months in the N.C. Continental Line, or been killed in action or have died in service, or served until the end of the War or resigned, or retired with honor (does not apply to militia officers), or was officially declared supernumerary and allowed to return home (does not apply to militia officers), or was permanently incapacitated by wounds or illness while serving in the Continental Line. Under certain conditions, a militia officer may become a Propositus if he meets exactly the same criteria as the Continental Line officer while actually serving under Continental command. Finally, as previously noted, the Officer must not be currently represented in the General Society.