Many of these stories are also based on an ancestor who lived in the South. Knowing the racial divisiveness of the South through- out history should wave a red flag about these stories. It would not matter what a person wanted to try to pass themselves off as, it would matter how they were seen and accepted in the community. It is very unlikely that the whites of that time would accept anyone, Indian or African American, as white. It is also unlikely that a census enumerator would record a person of color as white. If your ancestor is repeatedly recorded as white on the US census, they very likely were white.
It is important for us, as researchers, to base our genealogy on facts, not hearsay. Though family stories are interesting and heartwarming, they are not always based in truth. If your family has one of these stories about a Cherokee ancestor who passed for white, it is best to set the story aside and simply follow the standard and accepted methods of genealogy which means you work from yourself backwards basing your findings on documentation and facts. It is important to do your own research and not depend on what others find or post on the internet.
Always be skeptical about information from people who have a strong desire to prove their Cherokee ancestry rather than their ancestry, whatever it might be. Often times, these people suggest their hard to research ancestor was "the Indian". These are the people who argue against facts and historical documentation. They are people who refuse to accept a family story is just that......... a story........no matter what evidence you provide to show otherwise. Cherokee genealogy message boards and mailing lists are filled with these people. If you take advise from someone on such a board, I would recommend you make sure the person you are taking advice from has knowledge and experience in Cherokee genealogy.
Those are my thoughts for today.
Thank you for listening.
copyright 2009, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB*Note - All the photos in this post are of known and documented full blood Cherokee Indians.