Several people have told me that they have family documents that they feel are noteworthy, that the information would appeal to a wider audience, should they write a book? My fist reaction is usually, "Hell no", who needs additional competition! Really it depends on the content of the documents and the person asking the question has any writing ability. The most important element, IS THERE A STORY?
I was very fortunate in many ways. First, my grandfather already created my story line by detailing the promise. Second, my grandfather was a decent writer so his journal entries are compelling; plus the journal entries supported the story.
To determine if there is a story surrounding the documents, one must separate themselves from their emotional entanglements. Then they have to ask themselves, would others be interested in great uncle Jim crossing "No Man's Land" to capture 50 prisoners? If this event connects to a story line, then it must be determined if grate uncle Jim was a decent writer. If he wasn't, then one has to determine what genera the book will follow, non-fiction, memoir, or historical fiction. If you have to create the script for Jim's daring trip across the expanse of land between opposing trenches. Working his way towards the enemy's fortifications through the mud and water filled shell craters. Again I was lucky because my grandfather was a decent writer and thus his journal entries required very little adjustment.
I can use Neil's story to exemplify my point. His father was American and he volunteered to be a driver in the British Army. He was with the BEF when it first went to France in 1914 and experienced many of the battles my grandfather did. Therefore I found the information fascinating and expressed this to Neil. However, he thought that his father's writings were common among so many similar war accounts. He was right, except that the stories were from two different views, enlisted soldiers and officers. This makes the stories unique, but the problem remains, is there a story-line? I did express to Neil that together we could have written a very powerful book.