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Dear Ms. Cordell,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog but were unable to locate William C. Smith in the Population Schedules for the 1870 Census and in the Population Schedules for the 1880 Census as digital images have not yet been added to the Catalog. Therefore, we searched Ancestry and located a William C. Smith in the 1870 census in Andrew County, Missouri and in the 1880 census in Holt County, Missouri.
We also searched the Missouri Deaths, 1883-1930 database and the Missouri Deaths and Burials index, 1867-1976 on FamilySearch and the Missouri Death records for Holt, County Missouri on Ancestry, but were unable to locate a William C. Smith matching your description. We located an entry on Find A Grave for a William C. Smith, which lists his death date as February 11, 1896 but the Missouri Death records for Holt County on Ancestry are limited to 1883-1889.
To locate a birth record and/or information about William “Coaly” Simth’s parents, we suggest that you contact the Massachusetts State Archives via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is a link to their webpage on genealogy. If you look at Vital Records Pre-1841 they have some vital records organized by town, and a directory for Massachusetts city and town clerks.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!
I have all the Missouri information on the old gent. Missouri didn't get a death records database until the year after William died (of course) but I found his obit in the local paper (he died of lagrippe). The cemetery where he's buried is just down the road from me.
But the Massachusetts State Archives sounds like it could help. At this time I don't have his parents, siblings, or even a birth city -- just the date.
(If I'd asked my great-grandpa Ben just two questions back in the day, I could have effectively skipped all this. Alas!)
I got the Y-DNA test back yesterday, and now I'm chasing down those leads. Nobody seems to have William on their family trees, but now I have his cousins -- damn, he had a million cousins, though.