Anyway, while filing papers and creating files for others I had a nagging question. What do you do with documents, newspaper articles, or general ephemera of people that share a surname of interest but seem to be unrelated? For example, I have a Civil War pension file of a George W. Fry born in Missouri and died in California. My ggg grandfather, George W. Fry, was also born in Missouri but died in Colorado. They were both born about the same time in Clinton County. So theoretically it's possible they are related somehow. After all, there was a large migration of Fry brothers that moved to this county in the early 1800's.
This same question came up during my week at NIGR in the reading room at NARA. There were a few of us that pulled records, only to find out that the person was not a relation. It seemed a little sad to send the record back to the stacks without making a copy. What if somebody could really use that record who can't make it to D.C., can't afford to order it, or doesn't know about its existence yet? One classmate said that she takes a photo of a few pertinent pages and posts information on a tree on Ancestry.com. This seemed like a nice idea, but I wasn't clear on how she manages or arranges the information on the tree.
So for the time being I've placed the pension file in a hanging file folder labelled "Unrelated Fry." I have other stuff that I've put in similar folders under different surnames. I hate to throw it out for right now, especially down the road if it turns out to be a leaf on a far flung branch.
What do you do with these items? I'd love to hear from you!