I think that it is useful to imagine what an ancestor’s life might have been like in addition to collecting numbers about dates and places. Here are links to two references that might be of interest in this regard.
The first one is a video simulation of parts of Paris in the 18th century. It includes sounds and 3D street scenes but no people. It reminded me of walking through Barcelona’s Old City (Ciutat Vella).
The second one is a link to information about the Domesday Book. Looking at this 11th century creation reminded me that not many people had surnames and that more than half the land owners consisted of tenant farmers. I don’t know what portion of the population is represented by land owners, but I suspect that they represent a minority and that it is most likely that an ancestor came from the class of landless laborers.
I hope that some of this is interesting/useful.