[There are only a few Chinese Exclusion Act files where one of the parents is Irish. Here is one of them in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day.]
Katherine Lillie Shan applied for her Native’s Return Certificate on 19 June 1930 in Portland, Oregon. She was working for the Orpheum Theatre circuit and they were performing in Canada. She gave the interviewer her Chinese name as Yick May Gum and said she was the daughter of Yick Bing Shan and Gertrude [maiden name not listed]. Katherine was born at 108 third Avenue, New York City on 11 June 1912. Her mother was a white woman of Irish descent who was born in Denver, Colorado. Katherine attended P.S. No. 60 grade school in New York City and then went on to Norfield Seminary [possibly Northfield Mount Herman School]. Her father was a witness for her. Her mother was working in their restaurant on the day of the interview. Katherine had two older brothers back in China whom she had never met.
R. P Bonham, Immigration District Director in Portland sent a telegram to Immigration Service in New York City on June 19 requesting Yick May Gum’s Native Return Certificate but they could not find her file. He interrogated her the next day.
Katherine’s Application of Alleged American Citizen of the Chinese Race for Pre-investigation of Status, Form 430, is included in the file with a note saying “Application withdrawn and birth certificate returned to applicant on June 24, 1930.” Signed: R. J. Norene
[There is no more information in the file. Some files do not tell us very much. This one leaves us with more questions than answers. A cross reference sheet was not included in the file so there is no reference to her father’s file and he wasn’t found in the Seattle index.]
[The complete Form 430 includes Mollie’s finger prints.]
Yee Mollie (余瑪琍) arrived in the Port of Seattle on the Princess Marguerite on 4 October 1938. She was with her parents, brother and two sisters. They were on their way home to Ambridge, Pennsylvania.
Molly’s mother, Chin Shee, (陳氏), [SF file 16954/4-1], whose maiden name was Chin Ah Yee, was born in Hung Gong village, Hoy Ping district, China on 10 April 1895. She married Yee Doo Coon (余祖群) on 25 November 1913 in her village. Her husband was born in San Francisco [SF file 13955/11-36]. After they married they lived in his village, Au Mee in Sunning district. Chin Shee came to the United States in 1917 with her husband. His marriage name was Lim Wah.
The family lived in the United States until August 1929 when they left for China with their four U.S. born children–three sons and daughter Mollie. Mollie’s 1927 birth certificate was used as proof of citizenship when the family left in 1929. Yee Doo Coon returned to the U.S. through Seattle in January 1938 with his second and third sons, Yee Ning Young and Yee Ning Don. His eldest son, Yee Nin Yum, had returned to the U.S. in October 1937. Four more children were born to the Yee family while they were in China. Yee Doo Coon made a special trip to China in June 1938 to accompany his wife, daughter Mollie and the three youngest children, Yee Ma Soo (余瑪素), Yee Ning June (余年注) and Yee Ma Far to the United States. Their son Yee Ning Foo was staying in China with his aunt.
There were twenty pages of interrogation of the family upon their arrival in Seattle in November 1938. The questioning of Mollie, age 11, went on for four pages. She gave many details of their life in China and told how they moved from Canton City to Ai Hong Fong village because of the Chinese Japanese war. They heard the bombing but did not see it. They lived there until they could return to the U.S.
Although the interrogations were lengthy, the board concluded that the testimony from all parties agreed and the relationships claimed were reasonably established. The Yee family was admitted to the United States one month and four days after their arrival.
Rose Wong, daughter of Gee “George” Wong and Minnie Lee Wong, was born 3 June 1906 at Reinbeck, Iowa. She married Andrew Kuei Lu on 18 March 1933 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Lu was a Chinese citizen in the United States with a Section 6 student exemption.
Kuei Lu and Rose Wong Lu returned to China in February 1934. Their son Thomas Laurence was born three months later on 20 May 1934 in Shanghai. Alice Catherine Lu was born the next year on 4 August 1935.
In April 1939 Rose and her two children returned to the U.S. through Seattle. They were here to visit Rose’s parents in Minneapolis and would return to China sometime after Christmas. Rose obtained her certificate of identity 79613 when she landed in Seattle.
Thomas was considered a temporary visitor when he entered the U.S. His stay could not exceed one year. He was born four days before the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 24 May 1934 went into effect. The Act would have allowed him to be considered a U.S. citizen if he had been born after 24 May 1934. He missed being considered a citizen by four days. His mother and little sister were citizens.
Mrs. Rose Wong Lu obtained a Report of Birth for Lu Alice Catherine issued by the American Consulate at Shanghai and presented it to Immigration upon their arrival in 1939.
When the family arrived In April 1939, Alice Catherine Lu was reminded that “under the law you will cease to be a citizen if you fail to reside in the United States for at least five years continuously immediately previous to your eighteen birthday and fail to take an oath of allegiance to the United States of American within six months after your twenty-first birthday.”
O. B. Holton, District Director of the St. Paul District Immigration Service noted that the signatures in Chinese on Forms 430 were omitted because Rose Wong Lu, the applicant’s mother, was unable to write Chinese.
Rose Wong Lu, her daughter Alice Catherine Lu; and her son, Hou Chi Thomas Lawrence Lu (Seattle file 7027/819), visited with family in Minneapolis and were approved to leave the United States in April 1940. They left for China from Vancouver, B.C., via Seattle, on the Empress of Asia on 20 April 1940.
Ng Chuen Yong (吳春容) was twelve years old in July 1939. She passed a medical examination in Hong Kong before boarding the Princess Marguerite for her return trip to the United States.
Nl [Normal] Chinese Girl, inoculated against Cholera. Signed V. N. Atienza
Ten years earlier she and her mother, two brothers, Ng Chuck Sang and Ng Jack Sang, and sister, Ng Chuen Moy had left from the port of Seattle to return to their home village of Nom Yung in Hoy Ping District, China. There were only two houses in the village and they were next door to her mother’s parents. Her mother and brother, Jit [Jack] Sang traveled back to the United States about 1931; her brother Chuck Sang returned around 1937. Her sister stayed in China and was going to school in Hong Kong.
Ng Chuen Yong’s mother, Lee Lon, was born in China and was admitted to the U.S. at the port of San Francisco, California in 1923 as the daughter of a merchant. Her husband, Ng Ong Jen, was born in San Francisco. They were married in July 1924 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was a waiter there at the Paris Inn Restaurant. Their children were all born in Pennsylvania. The United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census issued a “Notification of Birth Registration” for Ng Chuen Yong saying she was born on 31 August 1927 at Ellwood City, Pa. The document was signed by Dr. Theodore B. Appel, Harrisburg, Pa.
Mabel Kegiktok Long was born in Nome, Alaska on 4 June 1905. When she was twelve years old she came to Seattle with a missionary couple, Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin. After Mr. Miller, the Secretary to the District Attorney at Nome, was appointed her guardian she also spent time in Oklahoma and Texas, then lived with Mrs. Hamlin in Illinois, and finally went to live with Dr. and Mrs. Rigden, in Danville, Indiana. She attended the Friends Private School in Washington, D.C. before returning to Danville to attend Central Normal College where Dr. Rigden was president of the college. After college Mabel returned to Seattle then visited her mother in Nome in 1924. At some point she took the surname of her guardian and was known as Mabel Mae Miller.
Mabel’s father was Charley Long (marriage name Dong Hop Long) a full-blooded Chinese. He moved back to China in the late 1920s. Her mother was Lucy Otongana, a full-blooded Eskimo who was born on Diomede Island, Alaska. Mabel first met her father in 1924 in Seattle. Her father’s friend, Chin Ben, arranged the meeting. She always thought she was full-blooded Eskimo and was shocked to see that her father was Chinese. In 1939 Mabel testified that her mother told her that Father La Fortune had married her parents at the Catholic Church in Nome in 1903 or 1904. They were divorced a year or two later and Mabel had no memory of her father. A few years later her mother married Frank Martin in Nome and they had eight children together.
Mabel had been married twice. Her first husband was Harry Fong Lee. They had a daughter, Joan Lee, born 15 August 1930 in Vancouver, Washington. Mabel and Harry divorced in 1935 and she married Clarence C. Coble, a Caucasian of German and English ancestry, on 7 September 1935 in Seattle. Clarence was a movie projectionist.
Mabel was a dancer and worked with the Fisher Booking Agency in Seattle. In 1939 she was applying for a return certificate to visit Canada for a week’s engagement at a night club. The certificate would enable her to cross the Canadian border and return to the United States a week later.
Chin Ben (marriage name Sui Wing) was a witness for Mabel Kegiktok Long’s application. He was a friend of her father and knew her from the time of her birth. A 1939 transcript of her certificate of birth is included in the file. Her mother swore in an affidavit that her daughter’s birth wasn’t recorded at the Recorder’s Office because in 1905 there was no systematic record of birth kept throughout the Territory of Alaska. She stated that the records of the Catholic Church in Nome and the Probate Records of the Cape Nome Precinct, Nome, Alaska where W. R. Miller was appointed guardian of Mable, agreed with the affidavit.
Mabel’s application was approved but there is no indication in the file that she made the trip to Canada.
The reference sheet in the file includes the names and file numbers of Mabel Kegiktok Long’s father, uncle, step-mother, step-brother, and witness Chin Ben.
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.
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.]
Gee G. Baine was studying law at Suffolk Law School, Boston, Massachusetts in 1916 when he applied for pre-investigation of status so he could visit China.
After a careful investigation Henry M. White, Commissioner of Immigration in Boston approved Gee’s application. White agreed with Inspector McCabe saying that the application “requires a liberal interpretation of the law to approve this application…”
“The applicant was lawfully admitted to the country and so far as developed has maintained an exempt status during the last past year. He thus has met the requirement of rule 15. True, in years gone by, he was a laborer within the meaning of the law, and at times might have been arrested on the charge of being unlawfully with the United States. It is doubted, however, that because of his doings at that time he should now be denied the right to visit his home county.”
Gee G. Baine originally entered the U.S. under the name Gee Quock Bin in San Francisco in June 1896. He lived with his uncle Dr. Gee in New York City, before moving to New Brunswick, New Jersey where he was tutored by a private teacher. He attended several schools over the years: the Thirteenth Street School In New York City, School #11 in Brooklyn, Horace Mann School in Newtonville, Massachusetts; a public school in New York City, and Berkeley Preparatory School in Boston. He was sick with pneumonia one winter then went to Boston where he worked for Mr. Monerly as a chauffeur. When his uncle Dr. Gee returned to China he gave Gee a partnership interest in the Royal Restaurant in Boston. Before Gee was accepted to law school he sometimes worked at the restaurant.
Gleason L. Archer, an attorney, the Dean and founder of the Suffolk Law School in Boston, swore in a statement that Gee Baine had been a student since August 1915 and attended classes three evening a week. He had a good attendance record and good grades having completed courses in contracts, criminal law, torts, agency, legal ethics, and real property. His personal history record showed that his references were Joseph F. O’Connell and Dr. C. H. Thomas of Cambridge.
Edgar S. Monroe, an optometrist in Boston, testified that he had known Gee about twelve years and he had seen him studying law for the last year or two. Monroe did not have personal knowledge that Gee had not worked as a laborer in a restaurant or laundry in the last year but he felt that Gee was worthy and always a gentleman—one that he would not feel ashamed to associate with in any society.
George A. Douglas, an attorney and instructor at Suffolk Law School, attested that he had known Gee since 1915 as a student in his classes in criminal law and agency. Gee attended classes faithfully. Although Douglas could not swear that Gee had not done any manual labor in the last year he knew that his attendance at school and the time needed for studying must have kept Gee extremely busy.
Gee testified that he arrived in 1896 when he was twelve years old and was admitted as a section 6 student. In the past year his only work for the Royal Restaurant was as an interpreter for the business.
In Henry M. White, Commissioner of Immigration’s letter approving Gee’s application he refers to Section 6 Exemption; rule 15 of the Chinese Exclusion Act. See Rule 15 (b)1 below:
[The interviewers overlooked the fact that over the years Gee had sometimes found it necessary to work as a laborer. Because he was in the U.S. as a student he could have been deported if this became known to the authorities. The interviewers decided to concentrate on Gee’s previous year. It appeared that he was a full time student and was only associated with the restaurant in a managerial capacity.] [Although Gee’s application was approved there is no indication in the file that he ever left the country.]