Category Archives: Birth Certificate

Florence Wong – a trip from Seattle to Canada

Wong Florence 1921
“Florence Wong, Form 430 photo,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Florence case file, Seattle Box 769, 7030/11401. [Also file 35100/3768 brought forward]

Florence Wong received her Certificate of Identity #49347 when she was seven year old. She and her family were returning to their home in Seattle from a trip to China on s.s. President Jefferson on 17 May 1923. They left Seattle in September 1921.
In 1938 her husband Chin Tsee Foo, marriage name Chin Mon Bing, American name Harold Chin, was applying to visit Canada for a few days. Florence’s brother, Wong Oak Wing, would be accompanying them in their drive to Canada. Harold was born in Chicago, Illinois on 6 January 1914 to Chin Kong Fong and Chin Woo See. He had two sisters Stella Chin (Chin Chuey Hai) and Georgia Chin (Chin Yin Hai). Harold was a student at Aeronautical University in Chicago. His family still lived in Chicago.
Harold and Florence were married in Seattle on 14 January 1935. They had a daughter, Rosalind Maye Chin (Chin Lai Goon) who was born in Chicago on 6 March 1936.
Florence Wong Chin, daughter of Wong Fook and his first wife Ong Shee, testified that she was born on 7 November 1916 in Seattle. A certified copy of her birth certificate is included in the file.
Wong Florence Birth Certificate 1916
“Florence Wong (Guto Wah Wong), 1916 Seattle, Washington Birth Certificate,” 1918, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Florence case file, Seattle Box 769, 7030/11401.
Florence was the eldest child in the family and had three brothers: Wong Oak Yen, Wong Oak Wing (Homer Wong), and Wong Oak Foo (Walter Wong). After their mother died her father married Soo Hoo Shee; they had four children together and lived in Seattle.

The files for Florence, her husband, daughter and brother were approved. They left for Canada by auto from Blaine, Washington on 5 September 1938 and returned on the 12th.
According to the Reference Sheet the files examined for the case were those of Florence Wong Chin’s husband, three brothers, mother, father, step-mother and daughter. Their file case numbers are listed.
[The next time you across the border into Canada, remember Florence Wong Chin and her family. This was a straight forward case with no hitches but because of the restrictive laws it still necessitated interrogations of several people, documents and an examination of many files.]

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Bruce Lee – anniversary of his birth – 27 November 1940

Bruce Lee Form 430 Application
“Application for Citizen’s Return Certificate, Form 430,” 1941, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives at San Francisco, Bruce Lee (Lee Jun Fon) case file, SF file 12017/53752; https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5720262, image 8.

[The complete file (31 pages) for Bruce Lee is at National Archives at San Francisco and is available at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5720262.]

Bruce Lee (Lee Jun Fon) was born on 27 November 1940 in San Francisco, California. In order to establish his son’s right to his United States citizenship and before the family returned to China in April 1941, his father, Lee Hoi Chuen, filed a Citizen’s Return Certificate on his son’s behalf. This would document his son’s birth, his American citizenship and enable him to return to reside in the United States at a later date. His father was an actor at the Mandarin Theatre in San Francisco; he was 27 years old and was born in Fat San City, Nom Hoy, China. He testified that he and his wife, Ho Oi Yee, were married ten years and had four living children—one son died in Hong Kong and one daughter was adopted. Ho Oi Yee’s mother was English. Lee Jun Fon (Bruce Lee) was the only child born in the United States. The doctor gave Bruce Lee his American name. His father couldn’t pronounce it but went along with it.

Bruce Lee Birth Certificate
Bruce Lee, SF file 12017/53752, corrected birth certificate, image 23.

A copy of Bruce Lee’s birth certificate and a corrected copy are included in the file. In the original document, Item 3B stated that his mother’s usual residence was China. This was corrected to say that she had been a resident of California for one year, two months.

[Bruce Lee returned to the United States at age 18 and attended the University of Washington in Seattle for three years. He became a celebrated actor and martial artist. Lee died of a brain edema on 20 July 20 1973 in Hong Kong and buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Seattle, WA.]

Bruce Lee’s tombstone at Lakeview Cemetery

Mable June Lee – Princess for 1939 Oregon Winter Sports Carnival

Photo of Mable June Lee
“Form 430 Photo of Lee Wun Jun (Mable June Lee),“ 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Wun Jun case file, Portland Box 100, 5017/891.

Mable June Lee, a princess for the 1939 Oregon Winter Sports Carnival, was applying to leave Portland to publicize Oregon and Mount Hood in Mexico. She and the royal court traveled to Nogales, Arizona, then spent five days in Mexico City and returned via El Paso, TX. The trip was made by train and would take three weeks.
Mable was 21 years old and born in Portland. She was a checker at the Orange Lantern Tea Room in Portland.
Mable’s brother, Lee Shear Nuey, also known as Louis Lee, was a witness for her. Their parents were both dead and were buried River View Cemetery in Portland. According to C. J. Wise, the examining inspector, Lee spoke English perfectly. Lee did not know much about his grandparents; they had all died in China many years ago. Besides Mable he had two sisters and three brothers: Lee Lin (Mrs. Chin Chow), Lee Tai Hai (died of the flu in Portland in 1919 and buried in the Lone Fir Cemetery), Lee Tommy Shear Gong (born on the boat crossing from China about 1914 on his parents’ one visit to China. He was now living in Stockton, CA), Lee Shear Gum, a chef at Green Mill in Portland and another brother living in Cuba.
Lee Lin, Mable’s older sister, was also a witness for her. Lee Lin was born in San Francisco in 1894. She was married to Chin Chow and they had seven children—two boys and five girls. Her daughter Dorothy Chin Kum was adopted out to Mrs. Sing Ho. She also had a daughter, Ah Me, who died of the flu.
Mable’s file includes a certified copy of her birth certificate and her itinerary for her trip to Mexico City.

Mabel June Lee birth certificate
“1917 Oregon Birth Certificate for Mabel [sic] June Lee & 1939 Itinerary for Oregon Winter Sports Association ,“ Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Wun Jun case file, Portland Box 100, 5017/891.
Lee Wun Jun Mexico City Schedule

According to an article [not included in the file] in the Oregonian on 25 February 1939, the royal court consisted of Queen Fern Lorenzini, Crown Princess, Dorothy Olivera; and princesses: Norma Cowling, Maryanne Hill, Mable Jean Lee and June Long.

 

Moy Gee Hung – Family photos – Boston, MA

Moy Gee Hung Group Photo
“Moy family photos,” ca. 1900,” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, (Moy) Gee Hung case file, Seattle RS Box 62, RS 2478.

Photo Exhibit D & E – “taken in Boston” ca. 1900
Exhibit D – Moy Gee Pon (Henry), Moy Sam Sing holding Gee Hung, Moy Yut Gum (Annie)
Exhibit E – Moy Yut Gum (Annie), Moy Gee Hung, Moy Gee Pon (Henry)
In 1901 when he was five years old Moy Gee Hung, his parents, Moy Sam Sing and Kong Jung Chun, and his older sister, Annie, left Boston, Massachusetts and return to his parents’ home village at San How, Sun Ning District, China. His older brother Henry stayed in the U.S. with an uncle. His father didn’t stay in China long and returned to the U.S. to Portland, Oregon. His mother died in February 1906 and in 1909 Moy Gee Hung returned to the U.S. to join his father and brother in The Dalles, Oregon.
The interviews in the file focus on his father’s life. In the 1880s Moy Sam Sing was a merchant at Quong Sang Lung Company and San Sing Company in Boston, Massachusetts. He visited China, married Kong Jung Chun, and bought her back with him to Chicago. They had two children there, Annie Moy (born 1890) and Henry Moy (born 1893). After about five years in Chicago they moved to Washington, D. C. where according to Moy Gee Hung’s birth certificate in the file, he was born on 27 July 1894. Two years later they moved to Boston, Massachusetts.
Moy Sam Sing testified that when he originally came to the U.S. around the 1870s he lived in Portland, Oregon; St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Providence, Rhode Island; returned to China (one year); Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; returned to China (about one year); returned with wife to Chicago (6 or 7 years), Washington, D.C. (one year), Boston, returned to China, traveled on East Coast for three months, Tacoma (3 years), Seattle (one year), Vancouver, Washington (one year); The Dalles, Oregon (3 years to 1909).
He applied for naturalization in Atlanta, Georgia (ca. 1883-84) and took out his second papers in Jacksonville, Florida. (ca. 1888). The interrogator asked if he knew at the time that naturalization of Mongolians was forbidden by law. Moy didn’t know but thought if the court was willing to issue the papers to him he would find two citizens to act as witnesses. With the help of Mr. Jones, a lawyer in Boston, Moy Sam Sing applied for and obtained his U.S. passport. He paid a $5 fee.
Much of the nine-page interview of Moy Sam Sing refers to events in his life which did not pertain to his son, Gee Hung. The interrogator was bringing up in great detail old, serious wrongs that Moy Sam Sing had allegedly committed but had not been proven. Moy offered to produce two consuls of China, Moy Back Hin of Portland and Goon Dip of Seattle as sponsors of his credibility.

When Moy Gee Hung arrived in Seattle In September 1909 he was joining his father and brother in The Dalles, Oregon. They were his witnesses. Neither had seen Moy Gee Hung in over ten years when he was five years old. His father, Moy Sam Sing, did not have a good reputation. He was well-known to Immigration Service for suspected perjury, smuggling and other unlawful schemes involving prostitution.
Moy Sam Sing didn’t really know his son very well but he had the proper paper work—a birth certificate, family photos, and the potential backing of two prominent Chinese citizens of Portland. According to the Portland Inspector J. H. Barbour, “I have minutely scrutinized with a magnifying glass exhibits D and E, [the photos] and have compared the alleged presentments thereon with the photograph affixed to Gee Hung’s present papers. I find a considerable resemblance between the two….”
Seid Back Jr., a well-known attorney from Portland, Oregon wrote to Immigration Service in Seattle to let them know that he was representing Moy Gee Hung upon his arrival in the U.S. in 1909.

After considering oral and documentary evidence, Moy Gee Hung was approved for admission to the United States as a native born citizen.
In 1919 Moy Gee Hung was applying to leave the United States for a visit to Canada and had no problem getting his application approved.

Wong Ming Bow and family – restaurant owner in Buffalo, New York

Collage of Wong Ming Bow and family
“Photos Wong Ming Bow and family,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Ming Bow, Wong Hong Sun, Wong Hango, Wong Hong Kew, Wong Dock How, Wong Tai You and Wong Hang Jew case files, Seattle, Box 577, 7030/4947, 7030/4939-4944.

Wong Ming Bow (grandfather), Wong Hong Sun (son), and grandchildren: Hango (Stella), age 8; Hong Kew (Rose), age 6; Dick How (Anna), 4; Tai You, 18 months; and Hang Jew (Joseph), two months.

[Continued from 22 May 2017]
Wong Ming Bow was in China from 1911 to 1913. He was visiting his wife, Lee Shee, and their two sons, Wong Hong Heung/Sun and Wong Shere Choon and daughter, Wong Gim Fon. He returned to his home at 64 West Genesee Street in Buffalo, New York where he was the proprietor of the Yuen King Lim Restaurant. Wong’s 19-year old son, Wong Hong Sun, joined his father in Buffalo in 1916. He was admitted as a student, the minor son of an alleged citizen. The interrogator asked him about his school in China, the village, his grandparents and their siblings, if his father knew his schoolmates, playmates or acquaintances; who lived in various houses in his village—name of spouse, names and ages of their children; property his father owned and many other questions. The interrogation was five pages long. His father’s interview was even longer. Many of the same questions were asked to make sure his answers agreed with his son’s. Wong Hong Sun was admitted about a month and a half after he arrived at the Port of Seattle and he left immediately for Buffalo.
Wong Hong Sun registered in District 3 for the draft and served as a private in the U.S. Army from October to December 1918. His record of enlistment and honorable discharge were submitted as evidence when he applied to visit China in 1922. [These records are not included in the file.] It was a special trip; he was getting married and bringing his mother, brother, sister, and new bride back to Buffalo. Wong Hong Sun was a part owner of Joyland, an American-Chinese Restaurant at 640 Main Street in Buffalo.
By 1933 Wong Hong Sun and his wife, Lee Shee, had five children, all born in Buffalo. Certified copies of their birth certificates are included in their files. They were all applying to go to China for a visit. Wong Hong Sun’s parents joined them; his mother planned on staying in China. They were going back to their native village of Mee Way, Sun Ning district and stay four or five years.
In September 1936, Wong Ming Bow returned to the United States through Seattle. His son, Wong Hong Sun, returned in April 1937 and his son’s five children came back as native citizens in July 1941 and were admitted. Wong Hong Sun’s wife stayed in China and died in 1946.
Eventually the family moved to San Antonio, Texas. [More information isn’t included because of privacy concerns.]

Chin King Jin – Kenneth Hazeyama, Japanese boy adopted by Chinese family

Chin King Jin (Kenneth Chin)
“Chin King Jin (Kenneth Chin) affidavit photo,” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin King Jin case file, Seattle, Box 759, 7030/11066.

Chin King Jin, was the adopted son of Chin Ne Toy and his white wife, Gertrude Copeland (Kopelian–Chinese name Dong Shee) of Seattle. He attended Pacific Grammar School. He visited China when he was seven years old and returned when he was 12. He left again when he was 14 and was returning in 1938 at age 21.
During the time he was in the U.S., he made trips to Portland and New York with his father. He gave the following information in his 1938 interrogation: his father was Chin Toy, marriage name Chin Don Koon, and he did not know his birth mother’s name. The file contained a certified copy of Chin King Jin’s birth certificate which said both of his parents were Japanese. His name was listed as Kenneth Hazeyama; his father was Fumio Hazeyama, born in Japan; and his mother was Susie Hazeyama, born in “America.” [Her maiden name was not listed. Chin King Jin did not know he was adopted so this news must have been shocking.]
Chin King Jin married Yee Shee on 17 September 1936 in China. His marriage name was Chin Suey Beow. Their son, Jun King, was born 15 September 1937. Chin King Jin’s wife and son stayed in China and lived in Woy Pon Lee Village. Chin King Jin spoke in See Yip Hoy Ping dialect.
Chin King Jin’s adopted father, Chin Ne Toy, testified that he lived at Yee Chong Company in Seattle and he had an orange ranch in Bakersfield, California. He first saw Chin Kin Jin when he was about six years old. A Japanese acquaintance brought the boy to him and said he needed a home. Chin Ne Toy’s attorney, Mr. Lysons, obtained a birth certificate from the Board of Health for the child saying he was born on 2 November 1916 and drew up a certificate of adoption in the Superior Court in Seattle. The birth certificate lists the midwife for the birth as Tsuya Hirano. The interrogator thought Chin King Jin looked white, not Japanese, and that Chin Ne Toy could not legally adopt the child because his wife was not in the U.S. [There is no further mention of Gertrude/Dong Shee but she is listed as a stepmother on the file reference sheet.]
Chin King Jin and Chin Ne Toy were interrogated several times separately. Many questions about the family village were asked—How many houses in the village? The location of their house; direction it faced? What style? How many stories? The size of tiles on each floor? Where was the open stone court? Who lived in the house? Where is the nearest market?
In spite of many unanswered questions, since the applicant had been admitted to the United States on one previous occasion in 1929 as a U.S. citizen, the inspectors unanimously approved his application and he was admitted to the U.S. as a returning native-born American citizen.

Jung Ah Can – 1879 San Francisco Birth Certificate; 1904 copy

“Certificate of Birth for Jung Ah Can,” 1904,
“Certificate of Birth for Jung Ah Can,” 1904, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Jung Ah Can case file, Seattle, Box 1264, Case 36414/1/5.

According to the 1904 certified copy of Certificate D27299, Hall of Records, Office of the County Recorder, City and County of San Francisco, California, Jung Ah Can was born on 4 June 1879 at 745 Clay Street. His father, Jung Chong Ping, was a manufacturer of cigars. His mother was Jung Shee. On 25 May 1904, Edmond Godchaux, County Recorder, certified that the certificate was a true and correct copy of an original record as it appears in Book 6 of Register of Births, page 75. Affidavits were sworn by Lai Young Kow and Jung Book Sang.
Attached to the certified copy in Jung Ah Can’s Exclusion file was a current photo of Jung Ah Can and a stamp that is only partly legible. “from Malone, N. Y. [???] 16, 1907, signed F. M. Berkshim {???], Chinese Inspector.” Handwritten across the certificate in red ink,“Canceled May 2/19; C.I. 30663, signed G. H. Mangels, Inspr.”
Jung Ah Can went to China in 1907 and returned via Malone, New York in 1908. Jung was re-admitted in 1908 by Inspector in Charge Sisson using his birth certificate as proof of citizenship. At some point Jung moved to Cleveland, Ohio and from there he applied to visit China in 1912.
A 31 January 1913 memorandum in the file regarding an appeal for the case of Jung Ah Can, alleged citizen refers to the “utter worthlessness of the ‘birth certificate,’ is not an impressive one…” It notes that there was no evidence that a fraud had been perpetrated and Inspector Sisson in Malone was a careful officer. It states that there was no indication that Sisson made an error in his decision. The appeal was sustained. Jung’s application was approved and he received his certificate of identity. He made one more trip to China in 1919 to visit his wife and their four children in Mong San Village, Sun Woy District. Jung Ah Can died at Cleveland, Ohio on 8 March 1926.