Philip Henry Chin – 1883 Certificate of Baptism

Certificate of Baptism
“Certificate of Baptism,” 1883, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Philip Henry Chin (Chin Shew Hing) file, Seattle, Box1194, Case 12969/15-6.

Philip Henry Chin, the son of Charles and Elizabeth Chin Tin (Din), was born on 27 January 1883 in New York City. His baptismal certificate from Methodist Episcopal Church was signed by S. I. Ferguson on 25 February 1883. The certificate says, “…he shall be taught the nature and end of this Holy Sacrament, and all other things which a Christian ought to know and believe, in order to [lead] a virtuous and holy life, was this day baptized…”

A few years later the family moved to San Francisco.
Philip applied for a return certificate in 1923. He stated that his mother died in 1887 and his father died in 1891; both died in San Francisco. Philip lived with his older brother, Harry Chin (Chin Shew Yick) after their parents died. Philip and his brother moved to Chicago about 1892, a year before the World’s Fair. Harry was eight years older that Philip.
The Department of Health, City of New York, Borough of Manhattan searched their records but could not find a copy of Philip’s birth certificate. On 30 January 1925, Philip used his baptismal certificate to prove his birth in order to obtain his Certificate of Identity # 54453.
According to William H. Tomkins, Immigrant Inspector, San Francisco, “…that the alleged mother was a white woman.” “The applicant seems to have full command of the English language, that is a further point consistent with being born to a white mother.” The mother’s name is not given. Tomkins recommended that the application be approved.
Philip Henry Chin left for China in 1923 and returned through Seattle on 4 January 1925. He was married to Wang Shee while in China and his marriage name became Chung Hing. He made another trip to China in 1928 and when he returned through Seattle on 30 May 1930 he reported that he had a two-year old son named Wee Lee in China.

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