Ephraim Smith Williams wrote this 52-page genealogical manuscript, titled Genealogy of the Williams Family from Their First Settlement in America , for his daughter, Jenny M. Williams, in 1868. The book chronicles the genealogy of their branch of the Williams family from the arrival of Welshman Robert Williams in Roxbury, Massachusetts, around 1638. Most Williams family members were born in Roxbury until the early 19th century, when Oliver Williams, the son of Benjamin Williams and Anne Fuller, moved his family to Detroit, Michigan. Genealogical information includes the names of Williams family members, their spouses, and their descendants, covering successive generations into the 1860s. Dates of births, deaths, and marriages are recorded when known. Ephraim Williams added information until at least 1885, often making notes of recent deaths. Other annotations record his relationship to certain family members, and he identified his two namesakes as well as his father's half-siblings. Though most branches of the family remained in Massachusetts, others lived as far away as Michigan, Texas, and California. Several generations of the Gotee family, ancestors of Ephraim's wife, Hanna Melissa Gotee, are also represented.
The genealogical information is supplemented by a half-page dedication note and 3 pages of family history. This additional information briefly relates some events from the lives of Oliver Williams and his son, Ephraim Smith Williams, including Oliver's experiences as an early settler in Detroit, Michigan, and as a British prisoner during the War of 1812. Other topics include a description of travel between Detroit and Saginaw, Michigan, in the 1810s and 1820s, and observations about the region's development, especially the diminishing Native American presence. Also included are brief biographical notes regarding Ephraim Smith Williams.