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Tam Sing – native-born U.S. citizen returns after 31 years in China

In May 1894 Tam Sing 譚勝 registered in the first district of California as a native-born Chinese person and received certificate of residence No. 81,385.

In 1897 Tam Sing visited China and married Wong Shee at Wing Wah Toon village. His marriage name was Hoy Gui. He returned to the U.S. four years later. In 1902 he visited China again.Tam Sing 1902 MerchantBefore he left San Francisco in 1902, Tom Sing [this is the only document where he is referred to as Tom instead on Tam] swore in a Declaration of Chinese Merchant that he was

“a merchant in good standing, and a member of the firm of Lun Chong & Company, engaged in buying and selling Chinese Mdse. and Provisions, at a fixed place of business, to wit: at 819-821 Dupont Street, San Francisco…”

His witnesses were Henry Mohr, Charles N. Peck, and William M. Dye.

Tam Sing returned to the U.S. in 1905.

Tam Sing [of the Hom Clan] swore in an affidavit in Salt Lake, Utah in July 1908 to the following information:

Tam Sing, son of Tam Shuck Dip, a San Francisco merchant, and Lee Shee, was born in San Francisco on 29 September 1876.  He stayed in the U.S. when his parents returned to China with his brother in 1886. His father died at his home in Wing Wah Toon, Sun Ning, Canton, China the following year. His mother and brother remained in their village.

On this trip to China Tam Sing was hoping to bring back his two minor sons. Unfortunately, his wife and two sons died in 1908 during an epidemic. It isn’t clear if Tam Sing arrived in their village before or after their deaths.

Later Tam Sing married Jee Shee. They moved to Toy San City and had five sons and two daughters. He worked at Sai Ning market.

Thirty-one years later Tam Sing was applying to return to the United States.

When he arrived in Seattle in 1939, he was interviewed before a Board of Special Inquiry. Tam Sing testified that when in the U.S. he lived mostly in San Francisco but was in Ogden, Utah and Montello, Nevada from 1906 to 1908. He satisfied his interrogators by answering several questions about the history and topography of San Francisco. Because he had been away in China for so many years, Tam Sing did not have any witnesses who could vouch for him. He presented a 1908 certificate of membership in the Native Sons of the Golden West with his photo attached; a letter from the Citizens Committee dated 1906; a receipt for Red Cross funds dated 1906; and a 1906 acknowledgement receipt of money from Chinese residents of Montello, Nevada.

After careful consideration the Board members believed the applicant to be the same person as the photograph and description on his certificate of residence. Tam Sing was admitted thirty-seven days after he arrived in Seattle on the Princess Marguerite on 23 August 1939. He surrendered his 1894 Certificate of Residence and was issued a Certificate of Identity in 1941 when he was planning a temporary trip to China.

Tam Sing’s Form 430, Application of Alleged American Citizen of the Chinese Race for Preinvestigation of Status, lists his San Francisco file number 53828.

“Tam Sing/Tom Sing, photos and documents” 1902, 1908, 1941; Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Tam Sing case file, Seattle Box 794, file 7030/12347.

 

Thomas C Tong – KSAN radio engineer and manager in SF

Tong Chun Choy Business Card Radio
“Tong Chun Choy, Form 430 photo and business card,” 1943, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Tong Chum Choy (Thomas C. Tong) case file, Seattle Box 828, file 7030/13667.
In January 1943 Thomas C Tong, age 33, of San Francisco, CA, applied for approval of his Form 430, Application of Alleged American Citizen of the Chinese Race for Pre-investigation of Status, so he could spend a long weekend in Canada. The San Francisco immigration office forwarded Thomas’ file 14726/11-23 and his Certificate of identity #63178 to Seattle for review.
Thomas Choy Chun (Tong Chun Choy 唐春才) was born in Lung Gan village, Yin Ping District, China on 16 January 1912 and arrived in the U.S. in 1915. He married May Chin, a native of San Francisco. They had a son, Byron Tong, born 27 November 1935. Thomas was a radio engineer and manager with “Chinese Hour” at KSAN, 1420 kc, 846 Clay Street in San Francisco.
Tong presented his permit to depart from the United States for a period of 30 days, Order No. 4128, Serial No. 4997, Local [Draft] Board No. 76, San Francisco, dated, 27 January 1943 to San Francisco Immigration; the permit was noted and returned to him.
According to R. P. Bonham, Seattle Immigration District Director, Tong Chun Choy left San Francisco on 9 Feb on the SS Princess Alice, destined for Canada only. Tong returned and was readmitted at Blaine, Washington on 13 February 1943.

Wong Yook Yee in 1913 – Engineer Graduate from MIT in 1925

“Photo of Wong Yook Yee, consular number 21/1913,” 1913, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Yook Yee case file, Seattle Box 73, file 32-3614.

In 1913 Wong Yook Yee 黃玉瑜 was a student applying for a Section 6 certificate to allow him to come to United States through Seattle, Washington. He was eleven years old, born in Chung Hen Lee village, Hoy Ping district, China. His father, Wong Lon Seong, died in China in 1910. His mother, Jew Shee, was living in their native village. He had a younger brother, Nook Nay, and two younger sisters, Chuey Cit and Fong Gay. Wong Yook Yee attended school in his village for five years before going to Hong Kong for two months to study English. He planned to attend Ng Lee school in Oakland, California. His cousin, Ngong Suey, a merchant at Kwong Yuen Co. in Hong Kong, would be paying his expenses. Ngong gave Miss Ida K. Greenlee five hundred dollars in gold to cover the cost of school expenditures. Wong’s local contact was Know Ong Sow, a merchant at Chung Lung Co. in San Francisco. Wong was cautioned that if he did any manual labor during his stay in the United States he could be returned to China. Wong was admitted and started attending school at Pierpont School in Boston, Massachusetts. [change of schools explained in 1929 testimony] He was directed to confirm his school attendance to Mr. Monroe at the Seattle Immigration office via a post card signed by his teacher every three months.

Wong wrote to Mr. Monroe at Seattle Immigration and asked him to help get his Certificate of Identity. He adopted the Christian name of Perry Wong.



In 1929 Wong Yook Yee applied for a return certificate as a laborer. He was 29 years old and a draftsman in Boston. He married Lee Sue Doy (Boston file No. 2500/7819) on 11 March 1929 in Boston. During his interview there was some confusion about the place Wong was born. His family moved when he was three years old.
Wong testified that after he arrived in Seattle in 1913 he went to Ng Lee School in Oakland for six months then about six months in San Francisco before moving to Boston to attend Quincy School until 1917. He went to Northeastern Preparatory School for one years, then served one year in the U.S. Army at Camp Eustis in Virginia. He worked at an architectural firm and attended Tufts College in structural engineering, then Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he graduated in 1925. He then went back to work at Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch & Abbott (called Coolidge & Shattuck when he worked for them previously)

In March 1929 Wong Yook Yee was granted his laborer’s return certificate. There is no more information in his file.

Alex Jay’s maternal step-grandfather was  Wong Yook Yee.  Alex has a blog, Chinese American Eyes about visual and performing artists. It includes links about Wong.

Some of the other articles about Yook Yee Wong on Alex Jay’s blog are:
Y.Y. Wong and S. Howard Jee’s Entry in the Capital Plan for Nanjing, China

Yook Yee Wong in the Journal of the Lingnan Engineering Association

Yook Yee Wong and Sun Yat-sen University

Yook Yee Wong’s / Huang Yu-yu’s Daughters Visit China 黄瑜瑜的女儿们访问中国

Other links provided by Alex Jay:
China Comes to MIT Bringing “Tech” to China
Early Chinese MIT: Wong Yook Yee

Leong Yip – Pacific Northwest Pioneer

(Leong Yip is the father of Leong King Ying Rose who was featured on the blog on 30 July 2019.)

Leong Yip’s Seattle file starts in February 1912. His previous files were brought forward and there are no documents in this file before 1912 but 1917 and 1919 interviews tell about his earlier life.Leong Yip 1912

“Form 431 photo of Leong Yip,” 1912, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Leong Yip case file, Seattle Box 1283, file 34847/5-3.

In 1912 Leong Yip 梁業 was 55 years old, manager of Hop Yick Shing Kee Company in Astoria, Oregon and could speak some English. His first wife died in China in 1911 and he married Chin See of the Shee Chong village, Sunning District, China, in 1912. His marriage name was Leong Seung Ging. Leong spent the last four and a half months at Canoe Pass Packing Company in Alaska acting as overseer of the workers and as bookkeeper and treasurer. In 1910 he gave half of his $1000 interest in the company to his son but retained all his duties.

J. D. Robb, son of W. L. Robb, age 27, and a foreman at the cannery in Canoe Pass, was a witness for Leong. As a child in Astoria, Robb knew Leong who contracted for Chinese labor and managed the Hop Yick Company. Robb testified that Leong did not engage in manual labor during the time he knew him.

W. L. Robb, president and manager of Canoe Pass Packing Co., testified that he had known Leong Yip for about twenty years. Robb was Collector of Customs at Astoria from 1902 to 1906 and frequently did business with Leong. He also testified that Leong was a merchant and did not do any manual labor.

The commission of Immigration in Seattle issued Leong Yip a merchant’s return certificate. Leong Yip 1913

“Form 431 photo of Leong Yip,” 1913

In July 1913 when Leong Yip returned to the United States his Certificate of Identity was cancelled and he received Certificate of Residence #45383.Leong Yip 1917 Form 431

“Form 431 photo of Leong Yip,” 1917

In 1917 Leong Yip applied for a return certificate for his next trip to China. He had a six- year-old adopted son and a biological son from his first wife, Leung Gim Lim. Gim Lim arrived in the U.S. in 1898, returned to China at some point, was readmitted to the U.S. in 1913 and was living in Astoria. About 1914 Leong relocated to Seattle and became the manager of Ying Shing Lung Co., a Chinese grocery business. There were eighteen members of the firm; three active—Go Gay and Young Fong Yee, both salesmen, and Leong.

Leong explained that he had been a laborer from 1881 to 1885 before becoming a merchant. He still owned his share of the Astoria firm. He paid $40 a month rent to his landlord, Goon Dip, the Chinese Consul. He paid about $9 to $10 a year in taxes. His white witnesses were James Shea, an exchange teller at the National Bank of Commerce and Peter Bremmeyr, [yes, that how he spelled his name] a plumber on Jackson street. Leong’s business made a little over $10,000 a year and his inventory was worth about $2000.

Shea testified that when Leong arrived in Seattle, he presented the Seattle bank with a letter of recommendation from the Astoria Savings Bank commending Leong very highly as a merchant who had conducted business with the bank of 25 years.Leong Yip 1919 Form 431

Form 431 photo of Leong Yip,” 1919

In his 1919 pre-investigation interview Leong stated that he first came to the U.S. in 1881 and had made two trips back to China. His white witnesses to prove his mercantile status for this trip were Mr. Callahan of the National Bank of Commerce and Mr. Woods of Schwabacher Brothers. Leong planned on visiting China for about a year and bringing his wife back with him. Orley A. Williams, age 48, in the real estate business, also testified that Leong was a merchant and had not done manual labor in the last year. Charles Brotchi, age 54, testified that Leong was one of the best known in Chinatown; president of the Chinese Masonic in 1918; a man above reproach; and clean and honest in every respect.

Leong Yip returned to Seattle in July 1920 with his wife, Chin She and his son Jow Wah and was admitted.

Leong Yip’s 30 June 1943 Seattle Times’ obituary is included in his file.  “…Leong Yip, Chinese patriarch and one of the most colorful of Pacific Northwest pioneers died… His son, Pvt. Robert Leong, served in the army during World War II. Leong Yip was survived by his widow; two daughters, Rose Leong and Jean Leong of Seattle; three sons, Charles, of Astoria, Robert, stationed in California; and Jimmy of Seattle; and a grandson, Harry Leong.

Grace Chen by Cathy Chen Lee

The following is an example of how a Chinese Exclusion Act case file can add to your family history. Cathy Lee had numerous family stories about her great-aunt, Grace Chen, but there were many dates and places missing. Once Grace’s Chinese Exclusion Act file was found, Cathy searched additional archives and libraries and found more documents about her aunt. The article below is the culmination of the Cathy’s research and the fascinating story of the life of Grace Chen. Go to article at Grace Chen by Cathy Lee

“Grace Chen, Section Six Precis photo”1928, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Grace Chen case file, Seattle Box 1102, file 9666/2-7.

Rose Leong – Clerk at Boeing

 “Form 430 photos of Rose Leong,” 1942 & 1943, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Leong King Ying Rose case file, Seattle Box 827, file 7030/13652.
“Form 430 photos of Rose Leong,”   1943

Rose Leong left Seattle by boat on Sunday morning, 24 October 1943 and returned a week later on 31 October on the S.S. Princess Alice. She was traveling with May Fun Kim (May Mar) and Kathleen Wong. They were visiting Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on vacation. Rose was twenty years old; born on 12 May 1923 in Seattle; the daughter of Leong Yip and Chin Shee. Rose was single, employed as a clerk at Boeing and lived with her family at 216 17th South, Seattle. She had never been out of the United States.

Leong Rose King Ying 1923 Birth Certificate
Leong Rose King Ying 1923 Birth Certificate

During Rose’s application interview she identified photos of her parents and her brother, Leong Gim Lin, who went back to China about 1931 and did not return. She had two brothers and a sister in the United States. Her brother, Robert Leong, age 20, was serving in the U.S. Army at Camp Sheridan, Illinois. Her bother, Jimmie Leong, age 16; and sister, Gene Leong, age 8, were both living at home. Rose attended Washington Grade School and graduated from Garfield High School in June 1942. Her father, Leong Yip, who had been ill for the last three years, had died recently.
Rose’s mother testified that Leong Gim Lin was the son of her husband and his first wife.

The names, case numbers and relationships for Rose’s parents, brother in China, Leong Git Too, nephew; and Jow Wah, adopted brother were listed on the reference sheet in the file.

The Immigrant Inspector recommended approval of Rose’s application remarking that her documents were in order, she spoke English fluently and “has all the earmarks of being educated in this country. Her father was been well known to this office for more than twenty years.”