If the Herald's Visitations are peculiar to England, the so-called Mug Books are the American equivalent. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, almost every county and town in the U.S. produced a history of their locality. In these histories, there is invariably a section of prominent local people, usually with a photograph (hence the name "mug book") with a genealogy for that person. These genealogies usually start with the immigrant ancestor in the 17th century and run down to the person being profiled.
Again, just like the visitations, these books can be very accurate for the profiled person and their immediate family. However, the earlier genealogical generations given are rife with errors. Because these books are mostly from the time period 1876-1914, they are now found to a large degree on Google Books. They may be found even more because these books were almost never indexed in print, at least Google Books did that electronically. So, you can find good information in these works (here's an example of something I found), but they cannot be used as gospel. They are, like the visitations, good jumping off points. Here's how I verified that information.
Again, the time period during which these town histories were published, means that sources are not cited like we do (or at least ought to do) today. Some town histories have large genealogical sections derived from town records. Except, how does one really know that? You have to go back and verify the information.