When searching for your family member, make sure to record those people who have the same name that you figured out is not your person.
This past week I was helping a friend solve the problem surrounding her relative George W Summers. Her cousin shared a family group sheet where George was one of the children. The FG did not cite any sources. She was given a will of George’s step father who listed all his step children. Therefore, we knew George did exist and belonged to his parents.
This branch of her family hailed from Missouri and she loves that Missouri has birth and death records online. Even though the information on the FG for George did match a death record, the record did not list his parent's or spouse. So the next question was, how did her cousin know this was the correct George?
He listed his spouse as Phoebe Dee Dork, however the DC didn’t list Phoebe as a spouse but as an informant. Next we found George's Find a Grave record based on the DC that didn’t have parent's however had Phoebe (the informant) as a daughter.
We searched for all George Summers DC and found another possibility. This DC listed his parents, which didn’t match our FG however listed his wife as Eunice Phoebe Dee. Next we found his Find a Grave record which was tied to his wife Eunice Phoebe Dee Rork.
This means her cousin now has the wrong death information and the wrong spouse. Each fact tied to two different George Summers.
After searching through some census records we determined that neither of these George's was her George. At this point I didn't want to forget all this information since it took us several hours to sort through this mess. Also, we did prove who George was not.
Therefore under the person notes for George Summers, we documented who George was not. These extra notes will prevent us from sorting through these two George's again. Plus, if someone else tries to pass one of these George's as her George, she will have these notes to remind her why they are not her George.
Therefore, remember to document why you exclude people and facts just as you need to cite your sources. This will save you needless repeated research, whether it's positive or negative information.