Back in the days when livestock roamed free and ear tags were not in style for livestock, farmers would often register their brands (or ear notch) at the local courthouse. Frequently these brands would be recorded in the recorder's office, but it is possible that another office maintained the records. Each farmer would have a unique brand (or ear notch) which would be drawn in the book along with the ancestor's name. This was a way to identify the animal.
This would at least allow you to locate a person in a certain place at a certain point in time--if the records are still extant.