Years ago I was stuck on my Ira Sargent. I spent a fair amount of time locating men with this name in the 1860 and 1870 census in an attempt to show they were “my guy” who first appeared in the 1880 census. For one reason or another I was able to eliminate them as being mine.
The one thing I did was keep a list of every one I found along with the reason why he was not mine. The reasons varied, but included: too old, too young, born in wrong place, wrong wife, etc. Keeping track of the reasons was important for two reasons. One was so that I didn’t redo the research. The second was that I could go back and revisit these “wrong” guys if I discovered that what I thought I knew about my guy’s age, place of birth, wife, etc. was wrong.
Turns out on of the wrong guys was a second cousin of my ancestor–another reason for keeping track of those wrong ones.