The Library of Congress houses a collection of early American photos and drawings of historic buildings you will want to explore (the photos—not the buildings, that is).
The Historic American Buildings Survey has “more than 556,900 measured drawings, large-format photographs, and written histories for more than 38,600 historic structures and sites dating from Pre-Columbian times to the twentieth century.” This collection is part of the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, and I plan to highlight a few other awesome collections in the future.
The collection is key word searchable, so try inputting the name of an ancestor’s hometown or a notable landmark. You might be surprised to find some pretty cool pictures or drawings that give you a glimpse into your ancestor’s life. And they are downloadable and free to use!