The 58-page Watt family record book contains diary entries from several family members; genealogical information; a tintype photograph laid into the volume; and copied poems, recipes, and letters. The writings date to 1863-1865, with the exception of one 1885 entry.
Gertrude Watt appears to have written or copied most of the record book's content. The volume begins with four pages of diary entries concerning teaching and visits from family members in January 1864 (pp. 1-4); recipes for pickled cherries and peaches (p. 12); and several undated obituaries and memorials copied from newspapers, concerning the death of her cousins, James Brisbane (Company A, 7th Ohio Infantry) and Joseph Applegate (Company A, 105th Ohio Infantry) in the Civil War (pp. 18-25). Further diary entries covering November and December 1864 discuss teaching, health, and daily life (pp. 27-30), followed by a copied letter to "Miss Watt" by J.W. Alexander of the 34th Ohio Infantry, in which he informed her that her brother Charles had been captured, and that many of the prisoners lacked hats, shoes, and coats (p. 31). On page 33, Gertrude wrote an 1885 entry describing how she had suffered and whom she had lost since 1864. This is followed by a copied poem entitled "Sympathy," a recipe for jelly cake, four pages tracing Gertrude's ancestry (pp. 42-45), and three pages of diary entries, likely written by Gertrude's brother, John K. Watt(s) of the 4th Iowa Infantry, for June 15th, 16th, and 27th, 1863. In these entries, the writer described camping near Vicksburg and the threat of a Confederate attack (pp. 57-59).