Books and pamphlets don't need to mention your ancestor to be of value to family historians (although a treasure if they do!) I have ancestors from the Fylde area of Lancashire, England and I found this wonderful book packed with information that helps me to see the history of the place and how they lived.
These are some of the things mentioned in this book:
- Lists of families residing there during different reigns
- Lists of men fit to be knights and value of their estates
- Church info and list of vicars
- Military information and pay
- Who from this area was High Sherriff and year of office
- When and what epidemics there were
- Info on agriculture
- Wages of servants
- An interesting bit about "Plough Monday" and other festivities
- Prices of food and some articles
- and much more....
Here is a general list of contents. You can see you have to dig further to uncover the gems. I did find that one of my ancestor names goes way back, I'm just not there yet.
This is what the author of the book tells us of the people of Poulton Parish, where some of my ancestors lived:
I had found a similar book for the area where my children's agnate ancestors lived in Quebec - Cap-St-Ignace.
This book is in French, but I did an online translate of the list of contents so you can see what to expect to find in a good book on local history.
There are also books with old photographs of towns and cities, like those listed on my blog post of Souvenir Books, from March 2015.
Search at Internet Archive for history of the cities and towns of your ancestors. For Canada also search at Our Roots.
There are too many to list here, but you should have no problems finding histories of your ancestor's town. Use keywords: history +place name, ancestral homes, photo-gravures, souvenir +place name, souvenir photo, etc. Sometimes you have to get creative. The name of a town or village may not necessarily be in the title. For Example... " As the wheels turn : a history of Rosalind, Kelsey and districts" also has some history of Daysland, Alberta where my ancestor's brother lived. So perhaps broaden your search to neighbouring towns or villages, or the county.
History of the Fylde of Lancashire
Monographie de St-Ignace du Cap St-Ignace, Quebec
A Glossary of the Lancashire Dialect 1875
As the Wheels Turn: a history of Rosalind, Kelsey and districts - Alberta