Category Archives: Cerificate of identity number

Robert Eugene Lee – Chinese/African American of Philadelphia

Lee Robert Eugene 1916 Aff
“Robert Eugene Lee and Lee Chong, affidavit photos ,” 1916, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Quock Bong (Robert Eugene Lee) case file, Seattle Box 686, 7030/8391.

Robert Eugene Lee (Lee Quock Bong) was born on 24 February 1897 at 208 North 9th Street in Philadelphia. His parents were Lee Chong and Musetta Lee. His father was Chinese and his mother was “a negress.” In 1902 Lee Chong and his family visited his home village, Dong Nom Ho Village, Hok Dan District, China. Mrs. Lee died two months after arriving in China. Lee Chong returned to Philadelphia in 1903 and the children stayed in China with their father’s family.

In 1916 Lee Chong was applying to have his son, Robert Eugene Lee, join him in Philadelphia. He swore in an affidavit that he was a laundryman at 1939 East Sargent Street, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; a widower and father of three American-born children, Robert Eugene Lee, aged 18; Mable Luella Lee, age 16, and Gum Len Lee, age 13, who were living in China. His son was married but his wife would be staying in China.

Mary E. Moy, age 45, was a witness for Lee Chong and his son. She testified that her sister and Dr. Bates attended Musetta Lee at Robert’s birth. Mrs. Moy, a Caucasian, was married to a Chinese, Goon Moy. Her husband and Robert’s father, Lee Chong, were close friends.

Other witnesses were Lee Tong, manager of Chong Woh Company in Philadelphia and Agnes A. Ming, a Caucasian who knew Robert’s parents well. She testified that she had known Lee Chong since she was twelve years old and that Lee Chong married Zada Brown, “a colored girl,” who lived over his laundry at 18th and Wharton streets. After their three children were born the Lee family moved to China and Zada died there in 1903. Agnes went to school with Zada, a mulatto. Agnes’ husband was Chinese and a friend of Lee Chong. The Mings lived in Albany, New York.

Lee Chong (American name Joe Lee), (marriage name Lee See Tai), was 49 years old, a laundryman. He received his certificate of identity or residence 107002 in Philadelphia in March 1894. [The file sometimes refers to the certificate as identity and sometime as residence.]
In a letter recommending approval of Robert’s documents, Charles V. Mallet, Chinese and Immigrant Inspector at Gloucester City, New Jersey stated,

“The witnesses Mary Moy and Agnes Ming are both white women
who are or have been married to Chinese, and both of them
convince me of their credibility in connection with their
testimony affecting the applicant; Mrs. Moy being a woman
whose personality should place her way above the status of
one who ordinarily consorts with Chinese. I personally know
something about this witness and have to say for her that
she has raised a family of boys in a manner which should do
credit to any mother. The Chinese witness, Lee Tong, is one
of the most responsible and respected merchant in
Philadelphia Chinatown, and his testimony should be
accorded corresponding weight. The alleged father of the
boy gives the impression of one who is disposed to tell the
truth with his knowledge, and manifests a true parent’s
interest in the applicant…”

In a 1916 statement approving Robert Eugene Lee’s arrival, H. W. Cunningham, Chinese and Immigrant Inspector, Vancouver, B.C. said, “…the claims made are genuine, and in addition applicant’s features plainly indicate an admixture of negro blood. Applicant is admitted and furnished a certificate of identity.”

The file lists the following documents were examined: the baptismal cards for Robert Eugene Lee and Mabel Luella Lee at Philadelphia, 12 December 1901; a 1911 copy of a birth certificate for Chinese female Lee, [Gum Len Lee] born 21 July 1902; and passport 62682 issued 9 October 1902 to Musetta Lee accompanied by her three minor children. [Unfortunately these documents are not included in the file.]

Robert lost his certificate of identity in 1921 but was able to get it replaced.

Robert Eugene Lee made two more trips to China. He was gone from 1922 to 1924. His son, Lee Tong Chee, arrived in the U.S. in 1928. His wife, Chong See, and his other son, Lee You Kue, stayed in China. In 1936 Robert, age 39, applied to visit China and was approved. He returned in June 1937.

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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.]

Look Gom Hong – Son of deceased American-born Chinese citizen who resided in Seattle

Undertaker’s Bill for Look Ah Pong
“Undertaker’s Bill for Look Ah Pong,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Look Gom Hong case file, Seattle Box 650, 7030/7291.

Look Ah Pong, an American-born Chinese citizen died on 7 January 1921 and was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Seattle, Washington on 10 January. His son, Look Gom Hong, born at Sing Shu Village, Fook Chung, Sun Ning, China, originally entered the United States through the Port of Seattle in 1923. He received his Certificate of Identity #50610 upon arrival. After his entry was approved he joined his older brother, Look Gim Yook (York), in New York City.

In 1935 Look Gom Hong filled out his Form 430, Application for Pre-investigation of Status, for his upcoming trip to China. He was 25 years old and a waiter at Li Chee Gardens Restaurant in New York City. In over five pages of interrogation Look Gom Hong described his father’s and mother’s siblings, his grandparents on both sides of the family, their extended families, and many details about their village.

Look Gim Yook (York) testified on behalf of his brother. He swore that he was with their father when he died at Hai Ping Fong in Seattle. He did not have his father’s death certificate but he gave the interrogator a bill addressed to the Hip Sing Company from Collins Brothers Undertaking Company for $125 for the burial of his father. He surrendered his father’s Certificate of Identity #2671 which was issued in 1911. The interrogators then asked Look Gim Yook (York) the same questions about the family and village as his brother. [His father’s Certificate of Identity was valuable proof of the family connection.]

Look Kim Fun who was admitted to the U.S. in 1922 was from their village and testified for Look Gom Hong. He was asked the same questions about the family and village and also stated that the village had thirteen houses and a watch house. [Since it was such a small village everyone knew each other’s families making Look Kim Fun a credible witness.]

The Inspectors reviewed the interrogations and decided that the testimony of the three witnesses agreed. Look Gom Hong made a favorable impression; the brothers resembled each other and they were prompt and frank in their testimony. Look Gom Hong’s application was approved.

Photos of Look Kim York and Look Gom Hong
“Photos of Look Kim York and Look Gom Hong, Affidavit,” 1923, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Look Gom Hong case file, Seattle Box 650, 7030/7291.
The Reference Sheet in the file includes the names, relationships and file numbers for Look Gom Hong’s father, brother, two nephews, two uncles, two cousins, and a “distant relative.”

Mrs. Lai Ziang Bryant – Chinese Wife of Caucasian U.S. Citizen

Photo Lai Ziang Bryant 1919
“Photo of Mrs. Lai Ziang Bryant,” 1919, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mrs. Lai Ziang Bryant case file, Seattle, Box 1263, 36351/2-1.

Lai Ziang was born in Hankow, Hupeh Province, China on 11 May 1897. In 1919 she was living with her mother and sister in Shanghai; her father was deceased. Her sister, Mrs. Joseph D. Jensen, was a widow with children whose Danish husband died about 1915.
On 6 February 1919 Lai Ziang married Charles Robert Snaith Bryant, a master licensed mariner, at the American Consul. He was 42 years old and she was 21. When they arrived in Seattle in April 1919 their marriage certificate was examined by Immigration officials and returned to them. It stated that Charles R. S. Bryant was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and they were united in marriage by Rev. G. A. Fitch, a duly ordained minister of the American Presbyterian Church.
Immigration also examined Mrs. Bryant’s passport, endorsed by J. B. Sawyer, Vice Consul at Shanghai; and a Declaration of Alien About to Depart for the United States, form 228. The items were approved and returned to Mr. Bryant. Bryant was asked why he was bringing his wife to the United States. He said it was to allow her to have his company and to give her an education. In both 1916 and 1917 he was absent nine months, “and she said that was no home life.”
The witnesses for her 1919 application were Neville Craig, U.S. Court for China, and Walter H. Meyers of Seattle, Washington. Her application was approved.
Their travels between 1919 and 1927 are not mentioned in the file. In 1927 Mr. and Mrs. Bryant arrived in San Francisco from Balboa, Panama Canal Zone. Mrs. Bryant was delayed because she did not have a Certificate of Identity. Bryant complained to Immigration Services in Seattle because they were not given the proper documents when she arrived in 1919. He said they were very embarrassed because their landing was delayed until the paperwork could be verified. [The file does not say how long the delay was but it could have been hours or days.]
The Bryants left Seattle again in 1931. A letter in the file says she was identified by photographs and her Certificate of Identity No. 58341. [They made sure they had the paperwork in order this time.] There is no more information in the file after 1931.

Little Dancie Wong – crying and a little happier

 

Little Dancie Wong 1932 & 1937
Photo of Little Dancie Wong, form 430, 1933; Photo of Little Dance Wong, Certificate of Identity Application, 1937, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Little Dancie Wong file, Seattle, Box 742, Case 7030/10486.

Little Dancie Wong was not a happy baby when she had her photo taken in 1933. She was 2 years old, 2 feet, 8-1/2 inches tall. This photo was taken when Little Dancie and her mother and brothers, Pershing and Kellogg, were applying to leave the U.S. for a trip to China.
The 1937 photo was taken when Little Dancie and her family returned from China and were headed back to Rosedale, Mississippi. She was now six years old and 3 feet 6 inches tall. They arrived on the S.S. President McKinley on 10 November 1937 in Seattle, Washington. This photo was on her Certificate of Identity number 75531.

Information not included in the file:
According to FindAGrave.com, Little Dancie Wong died on 24 February 1951 and is buried in Beulah Cemetery, Bolivar County, Mississippi.  If anyone knows more details about Little Dancie, please let us know. See the Contact Form.

Seufert Bros. Co., The Dalles, Ore. Cannery Employee List, 1909

Seufert Bros employee list 1909
Seufert Bros. Co, The Dalles, Ore. , employee list, 1909, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Fook file, Portland, Box 5, Case 1700.

This is a 1909 list of Seufert Brothers Cannery employees. It includes their certificate of identity numbers. They were probably all living the bunkhouse that was destroyed by a fire on 12 April 1909.