I've seen better records kept by larger slaveholders. Wm. Copeland definitely was not considered one of the largest slaveholders in the state of Georgia. Slaves were money, and for tax purposes, slaveholders were defintely required to keep records. But I'm sure just like today, many went out of their way to "cook the books" which resulted in some enslaved ancestors not appearing on certain records.
If keeping slave families together is a sign of being related to the slaveholder, then I guess we're NOT RELATED. As I mentioned in the previous post, my ancestors WERE SEPARATED from some of their family members, including children, and sent to several different counties. In fact, quite of few of the other non-related Copeland enslaved families were also separated.
It's not that I have a problem with the possibility that Wm. Copeland fathered some of my ancestors, it' mainly due to:
-Things that we know but I can post publicly, and wouldn't even if I could out of respect for my family and those who share my ancestral lines. If the person who posted those things, really descends from my ancestral line, they will also know once they decide to do some real research.
-The math does not add up
-Many mulatto offspring were fathered by slave overseers,
white non-slaveholding neighbors, and as my g-g-aunt likes to say, the milkman :-)
-Too many people who either don't know how to; or won't do the required research. They are simply assuming it's always the slaveowner's child. I can just hear some of these former slaveholders hollering from their graves, "I AIN'T THAT BABY'S DADDY, AND SHE AIN'T THE MOMMA EITHER!!!" :-)
-I think a few people might be "idealizing" the Sally Hemmings/Thomas Jefferson story too much.
Everybody has folklore, family traditions passed down; some more than others. Sometimes our ancestors lied, or those stories became a little distorted/morphed with the passage of time. And in a some cases, the descendants living today simply make up stories for whatever reason, or maybe to compensate for not having much knowledge of their family background. Or they could be in denial about their ethnic origins. There are some white people who will never openly admit to having some African ancestry; and there are African Americans that will never openly admit to having European ancestry, and both groups have no problem spending a lifetime trying to support their claims.
I have, however, read many posts where people are very open and honest about the fact they don't know much about their heritage, and I believe that makes it easier for them to do more productive research because they're not coming in with all these preconceived assumptions about anything, which is mistake I think some people make.
Regardless, even oral history must be researched, documented and "proved", and you don't get that by claiming every ancestry and set of origins under the sun; or based on copying and pasting GENERAL and BROAD information from Dr. YDP, Tim Hashaw, Mike Nassau, Paul Heineg(?), Brent Kennedy, Melungeon, Huguenot, Jewish, East Indian, etc. websites/blogs that DO NOT mention your specific ancestors by name, and calling it RESEARCH, it is not. Scholarly works are resource tools, not one's particular family history unless the family is featured in their studies.
I understand that solid evidence to support some oral history may never be found, but I believe, that unless someone's ancestors were from the planet Mars, there are sufficient historical records available to document anyone's existence on this earth. It's just a matter of what a person is trying to prove, and how far back they want to research their ancestors.
I won't mention the person's name, but they have it on paper, and are "proven" to be of Melungeon origins. I believe this, because first of all they always knew it, but still did the "hard" and documented research, and "Got the T-Shirt To Prove It." I read a comment they made, (paraphrasing here, not verbatim), "That if you want to call yourself a Melungeon, go ahead, you can do that", or something to that effect.
However, I don't think for one minute they were trying to encourage people to start claiming a certain background that was not theirs by birthright. I think they were just frustrated with what seems to be a growing trend of people who are most likely, NOT Melungeons, and know they are NOT Melungeons, or any other of these many, many different origins being claimed, but are trying to wiggle their way in fraudulently because the research is already there, though not for these people's ancestors.
I have BYRDS/BIRDS, CHAPMANS, COLLINS & STANLEYS on my mother's side, and have not seen anything that would make me think they have Melungeon origins although their surnames are on the list.
Genealogy research is about seeking TRUTH, based on FACTS, and searching from the "KNOWN" to the unknown, i.e. 1930 BACK, not based on guessing games or reading something on a website/blog and saying "Oh, I "might" descend from these people although I KNOW THAT NONE OF MY ANCESTORS ARE MENTIONED BY NAME, WAS NEVER TOLD THEY LIVED IN THIS PARTICULAR REGION, CAN'T FIND THEM IN THIS REGION, BUT I SEE THE SAME SURNAME AND SINCE MY ancestors are African American Mulattos they must also be Portuguese, East Indian, Native American, Flemish, French, Moorish, and whatever else I can find, in order to fit them into this particular group.
However, I believe that the majority of the people researching their Melungeon origins probably already have some documented evidence that backups their reasons for their research, and that the people who are trying to "fit" in are a very small group.
That saddest part is that people who are doing this are missing out on some rich and wonderful family history, and unfortunately, will only leave a false legacy for THEIRdescendants, that undoubtly WILL BE EXPOSED in due time.
I just believe, that when research is done according to genealogy standards, researchers are able to "prove" their ancestry.