March 2012

Announcing Release of the 1940 Census

The US government releases the census to the public exactly 72 years after it was taken. Announcing the release of the 1940 census

By Bobbi Spiker-Conley

On April 2, 1940, there were 132,164,569 people living in America.  When the 1940 US Federal Census is opened to the public at 9:00 AM (EDT) on April 2, 2012, we will have a window into every one of those 132 million lives – their names, where they lived, who shared their home, even where they were five years earlier. 

The US government releases the census to the public exactly 72 years after it was taken.  That means today, the most recent census record we can view is from 1930.  Of course that also means we are very excited to get our hands on the upcoming release.  Imagine how much more data we can add to our family tree!

For more info about the census release – including tips for using the records, printing copies of blank records, viewing instructions to the enumerator, a list of questions asked on the form, a list of census codes and much more, visit the National Archives by clicking here.         

You will be able to view the released census from the National Archives website for FREE.  Please note there is no searchable “name index” so you will need to know the enumeration district.  (Click here for info on how to start your census research.)  HOWEVER, and FamilySearch have both announced plans to index the census after it is released. 


  • Submitted by Bobbi Spiker-Conley – Cathy and Larry Gregis (and Winston, their Maltese) traveled the state of Florida on an extended vacation.  On January 6, they pointed their camper south.  In no rush to get anywhere in particular, they took their time and made many stops along the way before arriving at our house in central Florida three days later.  We were soooo excited to have them visit, especially since the last time we were together was at the 2010 family reunion.  We had a great time just chatting and relaxing and enjoying one another’s company.

    They went to the beach one day while I babysat Winston (that’s another story I may have to tell) and took us to dinner one evening where they sampled alligator tail at one of our community’s best “local-catch” seafood restaurants.  They departed our house on the 12th, traveling the east coast toward Key West.  On the 19th, they began their return trip home by driving up the west coast.  Cathy allowed us to “join” her on their trip around the state by sending us emails detailing their experiences.  She agreed to let me share those emails with you here…

    january 13, 2012

    hi guys.  we’re at lion country safari in loxahatchee fl.staying at the koa campground right next to it.  you really can hear the lions roar after dusk.  i enjoyed driving up to the rhinoceros. one stopped the car in front of us and looked like they were in a staring match with each other until the driver backed up.. larry didn’t want to stop for me to take a picture.  he was afraid they would push the car over. they were big enough to.

    you had to keep windows and doors closed and locked at all times.  no pets were allowed and all exterior items had to be removed.  under no circumstances were you to leave your car.  if you needed assistance you were to sound your horn until one of the staff members arrived.  they were everywhere so no one had to worry.  larry asked one man before we started the tour if the lion had been fed.  he grinned and said yes.  the lions are kept in open cages now but nothing else was.  there was a small canal around the chimps, probably because they can’t swim, so it’s unlikely one would get to the car. you could have reached out and touched about anything else though so i guess that’s why windows had to be kept up and locked. 

    found a walmart and stocked up on supplies.  i hope to go swimming and do laundry after while. love you all but glad i’m here and not back home in the snow.  it’s 80 today, yesterday was 82.


    january 14, 2012

    hi from coconut, florida.  it’s chilly. woke up to low 50’s, high was 61.  a lady here said welcome to fl’s winter. w e’re going to have 2 days of this.

    went to butterfly world today.  this place is the world’s largest butterfly park and we were able to see their entire life cycle.  there were 6 aviaries with butterflies & moths along with hummingbirds from all over the world.  beautiful gardens, insectarian, live bug zoo, which by the way i was able to go in there and once i looked up saw a 5 inch spider in a web, loose, above my head.  then…i saw the sign to be careful there are spiders on ceilings and walls.  no kidding.  you’d be proud of me.   i didn’t scream and i looked carefully when i left to be sure i took none home.  i don’t understand why there wasn’t a room of mirrors when we left like the one at the butterfly habitats to check ourselves then wind tunnels to blow them off us when we left.  they didn’t have anything like that when we left this part of the zoo. doesn’t that make more sense? they said something about the butterflies being brought in through customs and being a federal offense to take one home.

    this was about the time larry went to the car.  he said he just couldn’t walk anymore. could it be because i was trying to point out the black widows in jars inside a cage?  makes a person wonder and here he had the chance to see what one really looked like..or more like 20.  oh well it’s been a long day hope to leave for miami tomorrow.

    january 16, 2012

    we are in the key’s, key west to be exact.  today our highlight…getting the oil in the truck changed.  wow.  we do have better plans for tomorrow.  hopefully the glass bottom boat and a tour of the island.

    sorry i haven’t been calling people like i should. i can keep in touch with everyone this way without using up my minutes on my phone. i am thinking of every one though. we are as far south in the continental usa as we can go.  hopefully you can look up where we are and imagine you are with us.  larry hasn’t found any treasure.  mainly because he hasn’t got to use his detector yet.  maybe Wednesday.  if i feel like it.  love you all.

    january 17, 2012

    yesterday’s highlight of the oil change was very uneventful except while we were waiting for the truck to be worked on we were having lunch at a very nice little sandwich shop.  larry was having a salad and me, i was eating chicken wings.  quite good i might add.  putting in time.  i looked out the window and saw a very handsome rooster strut by.  i joked with larry pointing it out and said “there goes the next chicken dinner.”  i did wonder why there was a chicken walking by like he had every right to be there.  today we were eating at an outdoor restaurant waiting to go out on the glass bottom boat when a hen with 3 small chicks walked up to me and went under my table picking crumbs left on the floor.  they were very cute but at my feet, in a restaurant?

    larry motions the waitress over and asks what the chickens we were seeing everywhere was about.  she explains that they are protected by the city and were ancestors from roosters let free when cock fighting became illegal.  when we were finished with the meal i happened to noticed on the table an explanation about the chickens.   and there are about 2,000 chickens on the island.  they are great pest control since they love cockroaches and scorpions. ………..ok…….one reason i’ll put key west on the bottom of the list of places i’d like to live.

    the glass bottom boat will have to wait for tomorrow.  when we got in line they told us the visibility was poor due to winds coming from the south so we wouldn’t be able to see much.  i really want to see the coral reef so we took a tour of the city on the conch tour train and learned many facts about the city and the layout of the island.  i enjoyed it a lot.   larry liked it because it got us closer to the car so he didn’t have to walk very far. of course he hitched a ride on a pedi-cab when we were going to the glass bottom boat so he didn’t have to walk there either.  more tomorrow, then we are going pull out of here on thursday and start heading back up on the gulf side of the mainland of florida and hopefully stop by billie’s swamp safari from the tv show.

    january 18, 2012

    we are packed up and ready to leave key west in the morning.  heading west to the gulf side after a stop at billies swamp safari then back home. today we did get out on the glass bottom boat.  we went 6 and 1/2 miles out into the ocean to the coral reef.  it was pretty, the weather great and not too hot.  i felt it was a long ride to see such a short amount of reef though.  larry got to see a treasure, but not with the metal detector, at mel fisher’s museum.  he’s the guy who found ships that sank off the coast after searching for several years. larry still hasn’t gone out on the beach to search for his treasure but we did find a man who looked at his piece of rock. he took one look at it and said it was a cannon ball that had melted when it hit the earth.  this was one of the reasons why so many men lost limbs and said “can you just imagine what that did when it hit something.” he said he could be wrong but he felt sure that is what it is. when i mentioned about how we thought it might be from making bullets he said it was possible but they wouldn’t leave that much on the ground. makes sense.

    we also started seeing cats sitting on roofs of some buildings.  found out there are feral cats on the island that have been here for generations. there is a story behind it but haven’t learned too much about that yet.  the most fun i had was as we were putting away chairs larry jumped back with that funny noise he makes when he thinks it might be a snake…..he says it had a tail…. well…..just a lizard.  that all folks. have a great day. hope your having as much fun as we are.

    january 26, 2012

    sorry everyone…haven’t gotten to write because my email hasn’t been working.

    after leaving the keys we headed across the state through the everglades to billies swamp safari.  i had been a little disappointed that we hadn’t seen any alligators but on the way there we planned to stay on the Seminole reservation next to billies and i got to see some.  it got so you couldn’t go 20 feet without seeing one!  then i started to wonder if we’d be safe at the camp ground.  i didn’t tell larry i was seeing so many or he just might not stop.   then i stopped counting around 100 because i might not want to stop.

    the campground was very nice, quiet and isolated.  i really enjoyed myself.  the sky at night was so clear, the stars were beautiful.  it was just very relaxing and i thought could this be where i’d want to spend my winters.

    the next day we went to billies swamp safari.  the zoo was small though, the area that housed the alligators had always looked so big on tv and wasn’t even as big as my small living room.  the air-boat ride was ok even if larry did lose his hat.  i loved the big tortoises and they make a funny barking noise.  thank goodness i had seen a lot of alligators because they only had around 10 we could see.  we didn’t get to walk the nature trail, larry just wasn’t able, but since i had to fall for the 2nd time on this trip it probably was the best thing for me also.

    the swamp buggies were great though.  the guide explained a lot about the animals, answered questions and warned everybody to keep hands and fingers inside the buggy.  you’ll have to watch the show to understand how big these buggy’s were.  made from old car parts, i-beams and huge tires.  they bounced you through swamps where you could see animals in the wild from turkeys, wild boar, water buffalo, even raccoons. 

    there were ostriches, the females were very friendly, maybe a little too friendly. one came up to the buggy and thought larry was very handsome. she came right up to him, the benches only held 2 people, barely, i thought he was going to push me off the seat.  then she started looking at the couple behind us before she decided to peck the buggy and must have thought that was a lot more fun.  after about 15 minutes we left them and went on with the tour.  that evening we tried to find a store that we could get a few things. there wasn’t anything anywhere. we gave up and the next day, as we headed to the gulf ,we still didn’t find a store until an hour away.  i think this may be too remote.  now we are going to coral beach.

    january 26, 2012 - part 2

    we stayed on pine island.  the campground was very crowded.  parking lot style but it was very quiet.  mostly seniors who stopped for a short time and stayed.  close to fort myers the camp was country but close to the big city and the beach. 

    larry finally spent the day using his detector at fort myers beach but we spent a lot of time talking to people about his new hobby.  sorry to say he didn’t find anything but we still had fun walking the beach and just relaxing.  once we found a place to park that is. 

    (larry’s sister is ill so…) we decided to head home.  this has been the best vacation i’ve ever had.  i learned there are places i didn’t care about seeing again and a few places i’d like to explore as a winter home.   and even though we didn’t stay as long as we’d like we really enjoyed this time together.  hope everyone got some enjoyment from my tales.  i know i did.