Why would you want to get to know the area of an ancestor? The way the town, or country, is laid out is important. Are there any merchants in the area? Who were their neighbors? Was there a railroad through town? How about a waterway?
All of these questions are good ones to answer. By looking at a map of the area, one from the time of the ancestor, some good information may be found. If there were merchants, is it known if there are ledgers available for these merchants? Might the ancestor transacted business with them? Who were their neighbors? Were any of them relatives? (They may have been in separate farms, but the farms could have originally been one large tract.) Was there a railroad or waterway?
When thoroughly researching the ancestor, a map that shows the layout, neighbors, businesses, etc., is helpful in answering the above and other questions.