[The National Archives is still closed because of COVID-19. This file was copied before the closure in March 2020. I will let you know when the Archives reopens. THN]
Rose Chin had never been out of the United States and in 1927 she and her husband wanted to make a trip to Canada. Rose applied with immigration services to make a temporary visit abroad.
In her application, Rose Chin Kee testified that she was born on 15 April 1911 to Mr. and Mrs. Chin Kee of 219 Washington Street in Seattle. Rose’s father, Chin Kee, was a merchant and interpreter at Immigration Service at Seattle. He died in China about 1920. Her mother was born in San Francisco and had been to China sometime before Rose was born in 1911. Rose’s birth certificate says her mother was born in China, but the interviewer did not ask her about the discrepancy. Evidently Rose was comfortable with the English language; she approved of her interview being conducted in English. Rose had five brothers and four sisters who were all born in Seattle, and one adopted sister. Her oldest brother, Tom Chin Kee, was the only one of her siblings to visit China. He left and returned when Rose was a small child.
Rose married Pong Mon on 15 May 1927 at home in Seattle. They obtained their license from the county clerk and a white man performed the ceremony. Mr. Lysons helped them get their license.
Rose Chin lived in Seattle all her life and knew Inspector Mangels, Interpreter Quan Foy and Mr. Monroe from Immigration Service. She attended Main Street and Pacific public schools. She provided her birth certificate for inspection.
Although the inspectors verified Rose’s birth certificate, knew her family, and knew her since she was a small girl, they could not approve her application. Her husband, a Chinese native, could not prove that he was a U.S. citizen. According to the 1922 Cable Act, Rose Chin lost her U.S. citizenship when she married a Chinese native.
Rose Chin’s application was disapproved.
Additional information not included in the file: The Expatriation Act of 1907 stated that women assumed the citizenship of their husbands. U.S.-born women lost their citizenship when they married non-citizen immigrant men.
The Cable Act of 1922 said that an American woman who married a non-U.S. citizen would no longer lose her citizenship if her husband was eligible to become a citizen. However, if she married a Chinese ineligible for citizenship, she would lose her U.S. citizenship.
The 1931 amendment to the Cable Act allowed women to retain their American citizenship even if they married a person ineligible for naturalization.
Photo by Thwaites, 167 Fourth St. bet. Morrison and Yamhill, Portland, OR
Jay Boo Yum, born in Portland, Oregon in 1892 was the son of Jay Yu Chong, a well-known jeweler and a member of Fook Sang & Company. Jay Yu Chong, also known as Jay Yu Nom, was born in China and first entered the U.S. at San Francisco in 1877.
Three Caucasian witnesses testified in their behalf– Gus Rosenblatt, M. Billings, and Dr. S. Lewis King when Jay Yu Chong and family left for China in 1894.
Jay Yu Chong had two wives—one in China and one in Portland. He married Heung Shee in San Francisco in 1890. They moved to Portland shortly after they were married. In 1894 Jay Yu Chong applied to visit China with Jay Heung Shee, his 2nd wife, and their two-year old son, Jay Boo Yum. They were going to his home village of Don Jo, in the Nom Hoy district. His first wife, Fung Shee, was living there with her two sons by Jay Yu Chong.
Jay Boo Yum was sick when his parents returned to Portland in 1895 so stayed in China with his extended family. They all lived within a few houses of each other in the center of the village called Gook Tong Fong. Jay Yu Chong regularly sent support money to them.
By 1909 Jay Yu Chong and his 2nd wife had seven children, all born in Portland; five were living. They made a trip to China in 1909 to bring back Jay Boo Yum, their oldest son. Immigration Inspector Barbour interviewed the same three witnesses who had been interviewed in 1894. Gus Rosenblatt swore that he had known Jay Yee Chung for 25 years and took friends to Fook Sang & Company to see the Chinese jewelry. M. Billings who had fire insurance business swore that he had known Jay Yu Chong since around 1890 and S. Lewis King, a physician and surgeon, swore that he delivered Jay Yu Chung’s son, Jay Boo Yum, in 1892.
Jay Yu Chong presented Jay Boo Yum’s Oregon birth certificate for inspection and it was returned to the family. A copy is not in the file.
There were a few discrepancies in the statements taken by Commissioner of Immigration Ellis DeBruler that needed to be cleared up. The applicant stated that his father had one wife but Jay Yu Chong had two wives. Jay Yu Chong explained that his son thought if he said his father had two wives his father may not have been able to enter the country. Jay Boo Chong also thought his father and his second wife only had three children instead of five. He had not been informed about the births of the last two children. J. H. Barbour, Immigration Inspector in Charge, did not think the discrepancies were important enough to exclude Jay Boo Yum because all the other paper work was valid. Jay Boo Yum was admitted to the United States.
Lim Don Hing, a student, was 18 years old when he arrived in Port of Seattle on 22 August 1938 on the S.S. Princess Marguerite. His father, Lim Sin (Thin), had recently died in Detroit, Michigan and Lim Don Hing would be joining his extended family there. He was classified as the son of a citizen. He was originally denied admittance but was approved almost five months later. He was held in detention during that time.
The Immigration Board of Special Inquiry denied Lim Don Hing’s admission to the United States on the grounds that he was not the son of the man claimed to be his father and he was not a member of an exempt class according to the Immigration Act of 1924. The chairman of the board summarized the case and listed the discrepancies between the testimony of the applicant and his cousin, Lim Lin Foon, age 14; and his uncle, Lim Quong, the witnesses. The applicant’s testimony was taken in Seattle and the witnesses’ were interrogated in Detroit. The discrepancies listed were:
1. The location of his house in his village
2. The school he and his cousins attended
3. The space between the ancestral hall school and a vacant house in front of the hall
4. Who lived in the first house, third row of their village
5. If there was a wall on one side of the village
6. Who accompanied his cousin when they left the village for the United States
7. If he ever saw his cousins at Suey Boo market
8. Whether his cousins’ mother had any dental work done
9. If they cleaned the graves of their ancestors when they visited the cemetery in 1938
10. Whether his uncle, Lim Quong, sent money to their house three years earlier
11. Although the applicant and his cousin identified themselves in two photographs, neither knew when the photo was taken [The photo was taken when they were young boys.]
The documents used in his case were the photographs, his father’ death certificate, over forty pages of testimony by the applicant and two witnesses, two Seattle exclusion files, seven San Francisco exclusion files, an affidavit, and the testimony of his attorney, John J. Sullivan.
The case was sent to U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration and Naturalization Service for review. Lim Don Hing’s admittance was approved on 10 January 1939.
Edwin Mah Lee, (李孟賢) the mayor of San Francisco, died unexpectedly on 12 December 2017. He was born on 5 May 1952 in Seattle, Washington, the son of Gok Suey Lee and Pansy Chin Lee (Chan Ngar Ching).
[See the many tributes to Edwin Mah Lee on the Internet and in newspapers. The following is a brief summary of some of documents in Chinese Exclusion Act case files for his father, grandfather and great grandfather.]
Lee Gok Suey (Edwin Mah Lee’s father) In August 1937 Lee Ling Hung swore in an affidavit that he was a citizen of the United States and the holder of Certificate of Identity No. 34552 issued when he entered the Port of Seattle on 9 February 1921. He was applying to bring his son, Lee Gok Suey, into the United States.
Lee Gok Suey arrived in Seattle, Washington on 20 December 1937 on the Princess Marguerite and was admitted four months later after a difficult but successful appeal. He was 17 years old, a student and the son of Lee Ling Hung, a United States citizen and Luey Shee. He was born on 9 May 1921 in Taw Long village, Suey Low Section, Hoy San District, China. Originally Lee Gok Suey was denied admission by a board of special inquiry because he was not able to prove to their satisfaction his relationship to his father.
Seattle’s Inspector-in Charge, Joseph H. Gee, re-opened Lee’s case so additional evidence could be obtained. Affidavits from his father, uncle and grandfather were submitted to the board for their review. The applicant’s attorney filed a letter and an affidavit of the applicant’s alleged grandfather, Lee Share Young, and included a photograph with a satisfactory resemblance to Lee Gok Suey. Because of several discrepancies in the witnesses’ testimony the board voted unanimously that Lee not be admitted. His attorney argued that it had been fifteen years since the grandfather had been to China so it was not unusual that his testimony might not completely agree with his two sons who had been to China recently. After more than four months, Lee Gok Suey’s arrival was approved.
Lee Ling Hung (Lee Gok Suey’s father; Edwin Mah Lee’s grandfather)
Lee Ling Hung first arrived in the United States at Seattle on 21 January 1921 and was admitted as a citizen son of a native. He visited China in 1926 and returned in 1928. During his pre-investigation examination before leaving in 1926 he stated he had one son, Lee Gok Sui, born in 1921. On his return he claimed a second son born while on that trip, Lee Gok Foo. In an application for another trip to China in 1930 he claimed that his second son’s name was Lee Gok Gong and his third son was Lee Gok Foo. Because Lee Ling Hung’s father, Lee Share Young (sometimes spelled Lee Shere Yung)’s citizenship had been granted in 1888 through U. S. District Court discharge papers, Immigrant Inspector Roy M. Porter recommended that Lee Ling Hung’s application for pre-investigation of status be approved. [The confusion over the names of the second and third sons and their dates of birth caused the inspectors to distrust Lee Ling Hung’s testimony and combined with other discrepancies made Lee Gok Suey’s arrival approval so complicated in 1937.]
Before moving to Seattle Lee Ling Hung lived in Portland, Oregon for about six years and he was a baker for Coffman’s Candy Shop at 152 Broadway.
Lee Share Young (Lee Gok Suey’s grandfather; Edwin Mah Lee’s great grandfather)
In March 1938 Lee Share Young (You Yuey, marriage name) testified that he was a bookkeeper at the Quong Tuck Company in Seattle. He was the father of Lee Gim Jeow and Lee Ling Hung and the grandfather of Lee Gok Suey. He was re-examined regarding some of the questions where there was some confusion—were there twelve rows of houses in his village or thirteen? Lee Share Young said, “There are thirteen rows but the first row at the head is not a regular row because there is only a small house and some toilets there.” [It is easy to see how this trivial fact could be confusing.] Lee Share Young’s son sent him a photo of Gok Suey Lee in 1932. The interrogator asked how he could identify his grandson since he had not seen him since he was two years old. He replied, “I have to trust my son who sent me the picture.” There were other discrepancies about the extended family and deceased ancestors, the location of neighbors’ houses in their home village, and the applicant’s school experience. Eventually the board of special inquiry decided that there was enough information where all the witnesses agreed and they admitted Lee Gok Suey. There were over fifty pages of interrogation. The witnesses were asked about the village, the location of roads, paths, hedges, ponds, shrines, the school, cemetery, stores, and many other minor details. They gave detailed descriptions of the houses, buildings and the people who lived in them. [There were over one hundred houses in their village so this could not have been easy.]
In 1920 Lee Share Young swore in an affidavit that he wanted to bring his son Lee Ling Hung over to the United States. At that time he was a merchant for the Quong Sang Wo Kee Company in Portland, Oregon. He produced his 1888 discharge papers for the interrogators inspection.
When Lee Shere [Share] Yung left for a visit to China in 1900 he obtained an affidavit with his photo attached to assure his reentry into the United States. He swore that he was a member of the Wau Yune Lung Kee Company, dealers in Chinese merchandise and provisions doing business at 739 Commercial Street in San Francisco. He had four witnesses: Chas. E. Harris, O. R. Beal, Frank B. Hoyt and Edgar A. Greenblatt. Lee returned on 2 May 1902.
Lee Share Young, Lee Gok Suey’s grandfather, was born in San Francisco, California on 7 December 1871 to Lee Yeu May and Hong Shee. His marriage name was Lee Yeow You and he was sometimes known as Lee Yung. He married Toy Shee and they had two sons, Lee Gim, born 14 February 1889 and Lee Ling Hung, born 28 November 1901. Lee Share Yung’s paternal grandparents were Lee Sing Tem and Lew Shee. He had an older brother, Lee Seah Fook, living in California. The parents of his wife, Toy Shee, were Toy Lem Tick and Low Shee.
The family of Edwin Mah Lee found in the Chinese Exclusion Act case files: Parents:
Gok Suey Lee and Pansy Chin Lee (Chan Ngar Ching) Grandparents:
Lee Ling Hung and Luey Shee Great Grandparents:
Lee Share Young and Toy Shee G G Grandparents: (Lee Share Young’s parents)
Lee Yeu May and Hong Shee G G Grandparents: (Toy Shee’s parents)
Toy Lem Tick and Low Shee G G G Grandparents: (Lee Share Young’s grandparents)
Lee Sing Tem and Lew Shee
The Reference Sheets in the files also contains Seattle file numbers for Lee Gok Suey’s cousin, Lee Gwok Ying (7030/13310); uncle, Lee Gim Jeow (7030/4521); Lee Gwock Ying, Lee Gim Jeow’s son, (7030/13310).