Remember your county museums. Even if they don't have your family information there, you can find out what was happening when they were living. It puts flesh on your ancestor.
Van Buren County Historical Museum/County Poorhouse is a treasure trove for such information. The rooms are used to show off the collections that they have received. These include a carriage room, the doctor's office, dentist's room, a kitchen, laundry, wedding room, baby clothes, shop, a schoolroom, just to name a few. Many people have donated items and their names are added to the donations.
In the Van Buren County Poorhouse, the building was divided into two parts – one side for the men and the other for the women. The second and third floors were where the hired staff lived and the able-bodied inmates (as they were called). Eventually a sunroom was built where the men and women could be together for a period of time. The poorhouse was a farm where those that were able worked. It was nearly self-supporting.
It is possible that at some point in time, one of your ancestors might have lived in a poorhouse. If there is one near you, please consider going to see what they can offer you, if not your own family, at least the see what was happening at the time the place was open.