Re: THE MYTH OF WILLIAM BOLLING AND AMELIA RANDOLPH
JoAn, I’m very sorry that my replies to Jane and some other “contributions” I’ve made to the forum have angered and frustrated you.Please believe me when I say it’s not my intention to do so.
I think I understand your basic point: that “they” (meaning, I suppose, mainly me) spend more time trying to debunk certain aspects of Bolling family lore than “they” spend trying to investigate the actual truth of the various Bolling, Bowling, Boling, Bolding (etc.) lineages.Based on this observation you and Jane and others wonder about the motivations of people (again, mainly me) who operate this way.And you make the point – if I understand you correctly – that until the undisputed, objective truth is established, one belief is as good as another.I hope I’m getting this right.If I’m not I’m sure you’ll let me know!
On your basic point JoAn, I plead guilty.I’m really not interested enough in individual lineages (except my wife's) to devote a lot of time to researching them.I do try to respond positively to every e-mail message I get and every posted inquiry asking me a question, often citing the various strands of evidence collected by Todd Bolen and Lois Stange in their terrific book.But you are absolutely correct: the thrust of my contributions has often been negative in the sense of emphasizing why, on the basis of research I’ve done, I believe certain things often assumed to be true cannot be.
Believe me JoAn it all began innocently.Nearly ten years ago I began researching my wife’s family.In trying to figure out who “Powhatan Bolling” was I stumbled onto the “blue Bolling” controversy.When I found – and this part was easy – that Powhatan Bolling (the brother of my wife’s ggggrandfather) was listed a generation too soon on lists circulated by Zelma Price and others, I began to wonder about other names on those lists.With the help of Bolling family historians like Jim Patton and the late Chet Bolling I was able to channel my interest in history into my wife’s family and make what I hoped would be a positive contribution to Bolling family history.
What I’d like you to believe JoAn is that I got into this hobby because it was the “hunt” – the research itself – that was fascinating to me almost to the point of addiction.To be able to discover things that had either been overlooked or de-emphasized – like how the will of John Bolling, Sr. (post number 1971) impacts on the William Bolling-Amelia Randolph story – really motivated me to spend time on this subject.I realize and sincerely regret that one by-product of my “research hobby” has been the anger and frustration of people who don’t like my approach or my conclusions.But the by-product itself has never been my intended aim – something you may be reluctant or unwilling to believe.All I can say is that I’ve really tried hard when writing about documents and books pertaining to the “blue Bolling” legends to list my sources, quote things with absolute accuracy and describe my methods fully so that people who disagree with me have a fair and even easy shot at illuminating my mistakes and correcting me.
Part of research involves identifying and eliminating false leads.I’m sorry JoAn that I cannot identify, in a positive and undisputed way, your 18th century ancestors.I think I’ve eliminated “William Bolling and Amelia Randolph” as possibilities.You seem to be saying that unless and until “they” come up with positive ancestral identities, the William and Amelia story is just as good as anything else.I respectfully disagree, with the emphasis on “respectfully.”
Finally: even if William and Amelia didn’t exist it does not mean that I think you or your relatives descend from aliens or that your ancestors were placed on earth by the Almighty sometime around 1800.If your grandfather said that his grandparents were William Bolling and Amelia Randolph then I can understand why you would want to cling to this belief.But if I understand some previous things you’ve posted, his grandfather was a John Bolling.I hope I’m not getting this wrong JoAn and I apologize if I am.All I know from personal experience is that my own sainted grandmother of blessed memory was wrong about some of our 18th century ancestors.Mistakes happen.Please let me know what I can do to correct mine.Fred