Not all of us with rural families in our background have ancestors who owned real property. Maps of property owners can still be helpful in our research–particularly if we don’t know where in the county or region our ancestor actually lived.
See if you can locate neighbors of your non-land owning rural ancestor on a property-owner map. If you find them on a map, your relative is likely living nearby. This can give you an idea of where the county where the family lived and help you determine possible cemeteries and churches to check for additional records.
Tenant farmers and farm laborers do not leave behind as many records as landowners do. But the neighboring landowners (in census and other records) can help you narrow down where in the county your actual person of interest lived.