From experience, I know that on Familysearch.org, you can find census records. However, to look at the actual 1930 census record, Familysearch.org requests that you set up a free account. In the upper right corner of the first screen, click on “Sign In” to open an account.
After I signed in, I did a "residence search." In the name box, I put “Henry Kreis.” Next, I clicked on “Residence” and filled in CA for “Residence Place” and the years “1930” to “1930” in order to bring up the 1930 US Census records.
As I looked down the results page, I found no matches. But scrolling further down the page, I found a “John H. Kreis.” A quick glance at the record told me this must be my Henry! Four items in the record convinced me this was my ancestor:
1. The birth date was given as 1875 (Henry’s birth date)
2. The birth place was given as “Missouri” which fits with
3. The parents’ birth places were given as “Switzerland” which
again fits with Henry
4. The place of residence was Los Angeles, CA which fits with J.D.’s belief that a family story said that Henry left New Jersey in 1929, headed for California
I believe that in this new phase of his life, Henry decided to use his first name, John. He couldn’t quite leave “Henry” behind, so he used “H” as his middle initial.
Many city directories are on the internet. A quick search on Google confirmed that several Los Angeles directories are available on-line through the Los Angeles Public Library. In 1932, John appears to have used “Henry” as his first name again. His occupation is listed as “sawyer”. No street address is given, just the information that his residence was “West Los Angeles.”
In 1938 and 1939, he is back to “John H. Kreis”, and is listed as a “yardman” at a lumber company with “West Los Angeles” as his residence.
Henry/John does not appear in the 1942 Los Angeles City Directory. This could indicate that he had moved or was no longer living. More research needs to be done to determine this.
The 1942 Los Angeles voter records are available at Ancestry.com under “California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968.” If you don’t have a subscription to Ancestry.com, you can access the program free of charge at many public libraries.
I didn’t find John or Lily in the 1952 or 1954 California Voter Registration List. I have more digging to do to find where and when my great grandfather, Henry/John died. I am looking forward to the quest.