I agree with David. The Cherokee are without a doubt THE most documented Native Nation in the history of the U. S. Many of the rolls & censuses were taken by the Nation & not the Federal Gov. So there was no reason to "hide out" or refuse to be a part. Many were for distributions of treaty anuities or other funds. So why would any one entitled to money or goods "hide out"? I often marvel at the number that claim their ancestors "escaped the trail". I wonder if that many left. How were there any left to make it to the Indian Territory? It is doccumented that some did yes. But thousands would have had to for there to be so many claims today.
The ear mark of a wannabe is almost total ignorance of Cherokee history, where they were from or any doccumentary evidence of their claim. All they have is "because my Grandma said so". Of course all of them were Cherokee Princesses LOLOLO!!!!!!! But I have found that "my gg+grandma was Cherokee" has become synonymous with "I think we have some native blood but don't know what tribe. Every body has heard of the Cherokee & that goes back a long way. That coupled with being tegged a "civilized" tribe made us the catch all "acceptable" tribe. The best thing is to use the family stories as a starting place. Do your research but keep an open mind to the possability that Grandpa was just yarnen the younguns. Or that it might be another tribe. Remember 4 out of the 5 "civilised Nations" start with Ch or atleast C. There are others too & memories being what they are Grandma might not have been so shure. Or as in the case of my wife. Hers couldn't even pronounce the name (not Cherokee LOLOL). But if your research does not prove out that you have Cherokee (or other) blood. Certainly does not make you any less of a person. Who knows you might find something else just as interesting about your family.