Well to start you have to have some help from people in your past. Then you have to have some luck. This will give you the materials to work with or at the very least start. For me my Grandmother, Mother and family friends laid the ground work.
I had all this paper and photos to sort thru and using anytime I had here and there I made progress slowly at first and now the ball is rolling. One thing that gives it a big push is telling people about what you are doing, like now. That in turn makes you want it more and you end up doing just that.
I Have been scanning the photos and clippings as to not lose them to the ravages of time for quite awhile now. Then with the help of Google Translate I was able to convert some of these clippings into English from whatever they were written in. I unlike my Grandmother did not speak 5 languages. Once I did get to read a clipping it inspired me even more and the more I did. I invested in sheet protectors and binders to help date sort the whole mess and get a handle on it.
Using any table space I had, I got to work on making a timeline of the book and make facts from family fables. What you see have is that process of taking old hand written letter and then the type versions of them in to a readable document by scanning a page and then with the help of some free OCR web site (https://www.onlineocr.net/) turn it into text that can be copied in to a MS word document. Now even the best OCR can not get it right so you have to read as best you can the old document and edit where it is missed spelled or incorrect.
Now I also had the chore of the old document was in Danish and sometime German or Spanish so you must be careful to read and understand what they were trying to say when you edit.
I even search online and couple of times I even found a newspaper photo from 1938 the was listed on of all places Ebay.com! Yes I did buy it and put it in the book right next to the very newspaper clipping that had been saved.