I did my paternal side about 10 years ago, wrote it up with (what I hoped was) an amusing narrative and gave it to my son on his 30ty birthday. I used the Ancestry website and found it really helpful. My ancestors are originally from a small village in Cheshire and then around Warrington, the Cheshire County Council website has a BM & D section which I found quite helpful. It also helped that a couple of guys set up a website tracing different branches of our family name which I was able to contribute to. I enjoyed doing it, going to see places, taking photos etc. Getting back to around 1800 shouldn't prove too difficult but, unless your family had a few quid (which mine didn't) then it's hard because lots of poor people were born and died without any legal record.