I've not done a project of that magnatude but that sounds like it would be a blast to do! The largest "project" I have done was my dad's military book. Some background: He was drafted into the Army during Vietnam. He bought a camera before going to boot camp and then proceeded to take pictures of every place he was stationed, including the boat ride over to vietnam and while he was there. He had all of the photos made into slides and sent home to my mom from where ever he was. (Until this past year, no one had ever seen them.) When he came home from the war in 1964, life moved on, the slides sat in boxes on the top shelf of his closet and it was rarely discussed. 2 years ago I got him talking about boot camp and he lent me the slides to make into pictures for him but - he did not know I was going to makea book for him. Over the years he has had health issues, one of them involving a stroke that messed up alot of his memory. When he saw some of the pictures for the first time on fathers day of 2007, He had no idea for most, who the people were or where they were taken. The more pictures I scanned in and sent him (he is in another state), the more he started remembering. Anyway, long story short... his book has taken me over 2 years to put together because of the amount of work to make the pictures and then research all of the places he was. I scanned in all of the slides, fixed them and printed them at home. I still have 4 more pages to do for his book. He has seen it 3 times so far, to help with filling in details about different things and I can honestly say that he loves his book. My mom loves the fact that it has helped him to remember alot about that time in his life.
Projects like this, digging into the past, are overwhelming but I really feel that they are necessary and also alot of fun to do. I cannot wait to re-do all of my mom's old magnetic photo albums from her teenage years to the present. (My mom also does geneaology and has been working on our family tree- both sides of the family - for over 30 years!)
Sorry this got to be so long...
Enjoy the project and good luck with it!