According to Shauna, "Local history often goes hand in hand with family history as our ancestors were very much a part of the communities in which they lived. I have always looked for local histories for areas they lived in and this also includes any church or school histories or anniversary celebrations. Quite often there has been direct references to my families and if I am lucky, a relevant photo or two. However like all resources, anything we find in a published history should still be checked for accuracy. Many older histories do not cite their sources and it can be very hard to trace where a particular story has come from."
My father's family comes from a small village called Fordham in Essex, England. I have been lucky to find a quite active local history group who have published a couple of booklets about the history of the village and have been even luckier to be able to obtain copies. They mention the family several times and even have a few photos, and the detail of village life during the time of ancestors I have never known certainly fills in the picture for me. As Shauna noted, hoever, it is necessary to check the accuracy of such information, especially if the local history is unsourced, as they are often quite anecdotal in nature and people's memories and prespectives are subject to alter over time.
Visit Shaun's blog on Local Histories to read her full entry on this topic.