Well it sounds to me like you have something in focus and there is direction. This is the story of your family and for everyone else who happens to lend an ear. I vocalized my story to everybody. At some point, the story was so very real. That's when I knew my Ancestors in Heaven were pleased. So I just kept running and running with the story. And before you know it, it stands alone. Regarding the Family Tree Maker. Its a good reference. However, I would lean more toward the Afrocentric experience, as seen through the eyes of those who encountered and dealt with the harshness of life at that time. I believe you would get a clearer picture of what the experience/life was like back then. A book that comes to mind is "Bull Whip Days". Hope this helps. Good luck with your project.
Jay M. Collins