Category Archives: photos

Aileen Cumyow – Canadian Chinese with a Seattle Case file

Women’s History Month – Aileen’s Chinese Case File

Check out Linda Yip’s Past Presence website. It includes everything you would like to know about the Canadian Chinese Exclusion Act and genealogy in general.
The March 8, 2020 entry for Women’s History Month features Aileen Won Cumyow.
Aileen, a resident of Vancouver, B.C. was applying to visit Seattle, Washington in June 1925.

Affidavit of Aileen Won Cumyow, 4 Jun 1925, sworn before William Green, Notary Public for Vancouver. RG 85, Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files, Seattle District, File 7022/9-I, Aileen Won Cumyow, Chinese Showboat Co. Page 43 of 49 total documents.

Linda Yip obtained Aileen Won Cumyow’s file from the National Archives at Seattle and wrote up Aileen’s story. It is a fascinating read.

Hom Sit – many details about his home and village in China

Hom Sit, Form M143 photo, 1938

Hom Sit, the 24-year old son of U.S. citizen Hom Tin, arrived in Seattle on the SS Princess Marguerite on 22 August 1938. Although he was married (marriage name Soong Choo) he arrived alone and was going to live with his father in Butte, Montana. His testimony for his admittance was in his native dialect, See Yip. Fung Ming was the official government interpreter. Hom Sit was born on 7 September 1914 in Ung Sing Village, Chuck Hom Section of Hoy Ping District in China. He gave the following information about his father: Hom Tin (marriage name Gwong Ai) was 50 years old, born in San Francisco, California; living in Butte, Montana; and working in the restaurant business. Hom Tin visited them in Ung Sing when Hom Sit was eight years old and stayed for two years. That is the only time they spent together. The Hom ancestral village was Check Suey. Hom Sit’s father’s deceased father was Hom Goon Bow. He was buried at Bok Dook Hill, about a mile from their village. Hom Sit’s mother was Lee Shee, a native of Wing On village. His maternal grandfather, Lee Len Ock, had died but his grandmother, Ow Shee, was 70 years old, living in Wing On. Hom Sit had three brothers, one older and two younger. He was married to Dea Shee from Choo Heung village and they had one son, Hom Ngin, born in 1937.

Ung Sing Village faced east and had eight houses in five rows. Their house was the third house in the first row counting from the north. It was a brick house with five rooms, tile floors, a court paved with stone, had two outside doors with the large door was facing south. Each bedroom had an L-shaped loft along the outside walls and had two outside windows opening above a balcony. They were fitted with iron bars and glass panes with wooden shutters on the inside. The bedrooms and kitchen had skylights fitted with glass. There was a shrine in the parlor; a partitioned room in the parlor was made of wood.

Map of Ung Sing Village
Map of Ung Sing Village

Hom Sit described who lived in the other houses, their extended families, and where they worked. There was a bamboo hedge surrounding the village with a gateway on each end. A river about 200 feet wide was in front of the village and a dirt highway was nearby. The village did not have an ancestral hall or social hall. There weren’t any fruit trees near the village but there was a banyan tree. Hom Sit attended Gung Yee School in the village for twelve years. Won Wing Hop was the principal of the school and there were three other teachers.
Hom Sit said that his father sent $800 for his wedding expenses which included putting in the wooden partition in the parlor and erecting a pavilion for the wedding.

Photos of Hom Tin and Hom Sit, 1938 Affidavit

Jack Chan was the interpreter for interrogation of Hom Tin, the alleged father of Hom Sit. Hom testified that he was a partner at the Idaho Café in Butte, Montana at 799-1/2 Utah Avenue. He was born in San Francisco and had made three trips to China–in 1907, 1913, and 1921. He went through the Port of San Francisco each time. He presented his Certificate of Identity for inspection. He had a brother, Hom Foot, living somewhere in the U.S. They were separated during the San Francisco earthquake and fire and never heard from each other again.

Hom Tin said he did not bring his son over to the U.S. earlier because of the Depression but was bringing him over now to work in his restaurant. He was asked the same long list of questions that his son had been asked. His answers were consistent with his son’s testimony, but the interrogator ended the interview by saying, “Isn’t it a fact that the applicant is not your blood son?” [The interrogators frequently asked this question, even if it was obvious that there was a blood relationship.] Hom Tin stated that Hom Sit was his blood son and the interview ended.

The Board of Special Inquiry reviewed Hom Tin’s San Francisco file and recalled Hom Sit to question him about a few discrepancies in the interviews. They considered that the alleged father had not been in China for nearly fifteen years. They concluded that the alleged father and applicant both ”testified in a straightforward manner” and there was a physical resemblance between them. The board determined that the relationship had been established. Hom Sit was admitted to the U.S. as a United States Citizen, son of an American born Chinese, on 10 October 1938, one month and a half after his arrival.

“Form 143 photo of Hom Sit; Hom Tin Affidavit; map of village” 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Hom Sit case file, Seattle Box 767, file 7030/11371.

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.”

Raymond Wong – Short trip to Canada – much paperwork & copius family information

Raymond Wong 黃瑚, age 38, of Fresno, California, was applying to visit Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, via United Airlines from Seattle on 9 October 1942 with his wife, Moe Fung Ha, alias Moe Wong Ruth. They were returning to Seattle two days later, on the 11th  then flying home to Fresno. Raymond’s San Francisco file #12017/54189 and Ruth’s Los Angeles file #14036/2809 were forwarded to the Seattle Immigration office for their inspection.Wong Raymond Birth Cert 1903
Mrs. Hi Loy Wong Death Cert Mother 1940

“Birth Certificate for Raymond Wong, 1903; “Death Certificate for Mrs. Hi Loy Wong,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Raymond case file, Seattle Box 827, file 7030/13662.

The San Francisco office also sent the applicant’s Form 430, birth record, death record of his alleged mother, affidavits and testimony of his witnesses, report of the examining inspector, and San Francisco related files for eight Wong individuals. They were to return the files to the San Francisco office after they had examined them. Ordinarily the records would have been examined at the San Francisco office, but the applicant was already left by plane for Seattle. Wong carried with him a permit from his Local Draft Board #128 giving him permission to depart from the United States.

In 1942 Raymond Wong testified that he was also known as Wong Bow Woo, Raymond Arthur Wong, and Ray Wong. He was born on 6 October 1903 in Fresno, California. He was a produce buyer for Levy and J. Zentner and married Moe Fung Ha in Portland, Oregon on 28 March 1931. She was born in Portland. Their two sons, Ronald James Wong, Chinese name Wong You Guai, age 10; and Richard Gene Wong, Chinese name Wong You Keung, age 3, were born at Fresno.

Raymond’s father, Hi Loy Wong, marriage name Wong Wun Gum, died about 1924 or 1926. Raymond’s mother, Lillie Wong, died in 1940. Raymond had five brother and four sisters. His brothers Harry Wong (Wong Bow/Poo Sun), Charley Wong (Wong Bow Que), Frank Wong (Wong Bow Yuen), Fred Wong (Wong Bow Quong), and George Wong (Wong Bow Sing) were all living in Fresno except for Harry. His sisters were Lena Wong (Wong Bow Chee), now Mrs. Lew Yuen; Grace Wong (Wong Bow Yook), now Mrs. Emory Chow; Mary or Marietta Wong (Wong Bow Yut), now Mrs. Philip S. Ching; and Pearl Wong (Wong Bow Jin), now Mrs. Charles Luck. Grace and Pearl were living in Los Angeles and Lena and Mary were in Fresno. Another brother, Herbert Wong (Wong Bow/Boo Quan) died at Delano, California in 1941 and his brother Willie Wong (Wong Bow Son) died about 1922 in Fresno.

Raymond’s sister, Lena, was a witness for him. She stated she was born 18 September 1894 in Fresno. She married Lew Hock Choon in Fresco on 30 November 1911 according to Chinese custom. In 1926 they married according to the American custom. They had eleven living children and a daughter died in infancy. She listed the names and ages of her surviving children; her siblings and their spouses and children.

Lena swore in an affidavit that she was the “natural sister to Raymond Wong…” The affidavit with her photograph also states the Lena lost her U. S. citizenship through marriage and was repatriated. She held a certificate of citizenship issued in 1934 at the Superior Court of Fresno County; she had never made a trip outside of the United States; and she resided in Fresno.
Wong Raymond Aff Lum Shee 1942“Affidavit photos for Lena Lew and Lum Shee,” 1942, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Raymond case file, Seattle Box 827, file 7030/13662.

Another witness was Lum Shee also known as Lum Choy Len. She was born in Sun Wooey City, China and entered the United States at age 11 at San Francisco about 1882 with her parents, Lum Wing Gwai and Fung Shee. She married Lew Yick Song. They had four sons and three daughters. She listed their names, age, and place of residence. She was a neighbor of the Wong family and first saw Raymond when he was about two years old. She correctly identified photos of Raymond’s parents. In an affidavit she swore to much of the same information in her interview and stated that she had not made any trips outside the United States. Her photograph is attached to the affidavit.

Raymond Wong’s application was submitted with a favorable recommendation. The Special Inspector of Immigration at Fresno wrote in his report: “It might be stated that this family has been known to this office for quite a number of years and has always been found reliable.” Raymond and his wife were readmitted at Seattle after their short trip to Vancouver.
[It is hard to imagine how much time and money was spent investigation Raymond Wong and his family.]

Chin Yick Thlew – Bellingham, Washington

 

Chin Yick Thlew Affidavit 1940
Affidavit photos of Chin Yick Thlew and Chin Yock Can,“ 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Yick Thlew case file, Seattle Box 823, file 7030/13465.

Chin Yick Thlew, 陳溢秀, age 15, took the long journey from China alone on the Princess Marguerite, arriving at the Port of Seattle on 11 January 1941. She would be living with her parents, Chin Yock Can 陳煜芹 and Dong Shee, at 1211 Cornwell Avenue, Bellingham, Washington. Her father was the son of Chin Tong, an American born citizen. Their older son was living in Lung Hing Village, Look Toon Section, Hoy San District, China, with his grandparents. Their son, Chin Yick Goon, and daughter, Fee Lon, and two younger children were living with them in Bellingham.

Yick Thlew’s file contains a long letter she wrote to her parents. The original letter is in Chinese and a translation is included. She wanted her parents to know that she missed them; that her education was extremely important to her; she told them several time she was not ready to get married; and she wanted to join them in the United States. She signed her letter, “I am, your little daughter.” (The translation was made by the Young China Morning Newspaper in San Francisco.)

Chin Yick Thlew was admitted in spite of the District Director of Seattle Immigration, R. P. Bonham’s claim that there was some unsatisfactory testimony. Several of the family members changed their interview answers so that everyone’s story agreed. Their attorney, Henry A. Monroe, explained that the parents were afraid that if their testimony did not agree completely with their daughter’s, she would be sent back to China. Chin Yick Thlew was held in detention for almost five weeks. She mis-identified a family member in one of the photographs presented during the interrogation. Everyone involved was questioned over and over. The parents were distraught and decided that whatever their daughter said they would agree with it in their testimony. Finally, Monroe who had been working with Chinese immigrants for thirty-five years, stepped in. He got everyone to tell the truth and straightened out all the misunderstandings. There were over thirty pages of interrogations from Chin Yick Thlew, her father, mother, and her brother, Chin Yick Guoon/Goon. Files for her father, mother, grandfather, two great uncles, three uncles, a brother and a sister were reviewed.

Chin Yick Thlew was admitted on 19 February 1940.

Photos  included  in  the  file.

Ah Fook Family – Left Tacoma during Anti-Chinese Riots in 1885

Wong Ah One 1907

“Form 430 Photos of Ah One,” 1907, 1925,“ Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Wong Ah One case file, Seattle Box 822, file 7030/13432.

In 1907 (Wong) Ah One 黃穩 applied for admission to the U. S. as a native-born Chinese person. He was the son of Ah Fook and Lem Shee and was born in Tacoma, Washington. He went back to China with his parents and younger brother, Ah Wah, when he was about four or five years old, about 1888 or 1889. They lived in Chung Chi village then Hong Kong.

Ah Lung, a witness for Ah One, was a laundryman in Seattle and a good friend of Ah One’s father. He came to the U.S. about 1867. He lived in Tacoma for about 10 years and met Ah Fook there; they were friends but not related. At that time the Chinese businesses in Tacoma were all located near the sawmill. Al Lung remembered Ah Fook leaving Tacoma after the riots [November 1885] but a few months before the Chinese fire. Ah Fook went to Portland then came back to Tacoma briefly before moving to Seattle. He took his family to China about 1888 after he received reparations from the government for damage done to his property by the riot in Tacoma.

F. W. Southworth, a physician for most of the Chinese in Tacoma, lived there since about 1887 and testified that Ah One was born in Tacoma. In 1907 Dr. Southworth sworn that he was well acquainted with Ah One’s father, Ah Fook, a merchant. He believed that Ah One was his son.

S. J. Murphy was another witness for Ah One. He testified that he was a deputy sheriff and had been living in Tacoma for 31 years [since about 1876]. He was a teamster in 1885. He remembered that Ah Fook was the proprietor of Quong Yen Co., which was located “somewhere about where the Commercial Dock is now, or near the old Hatch sawmill.”
A. S. Fulton, the immigrant inspector questioning Murphy about what became of Ah Fook “after the so-called Chinese riots in Tacoma.” Murphy said Ah Fook and his family left the city immediately and may have gone to Portland but may have come back briefly. Ah Fook’s business was burned out during the Tacoma riots. Murphy said “Ah Fook was a friend of his in those early days and frequently used to invite him into his store and pass him a cigar and talk about his business and his boy Ah One.”

Immigration authorities considered the evidence and decided that Ah One was born in the U.S. and satisfactorily identified. Ah One was admitted to the U.S. in 1907.

Ah One made several more trips to China. In 1911 Ah One testified that he owned a tide-land lot in Tacoma. He bought the property from Mr. Harmon and had a contract at the Pacific National Bank of Tacoma. He showed the interrogator some of his payment receipts. He paid $705 for the lot. He also had a $650 interest in the Shanghai Café where he was the manager.

In 1912 Ah One testified that he was born near the old Flyer Dock in Tacoma (described by a witness as Second and Pacific Avenues, North). He learned to speak English at Sunday school. When asked if he paid his witnesses to testify for him, he denied it. He said they testified because they knew him and they were acquainted with his father. Ah One had saved about $600 for this trip to China. He was going back to China to get married.

In 1917 Ah One testified that his marriage name was Chun Wong. He had a brother Ah Wan. His parents, Ah Fook and Lum Shee, both died before 1917. He was married to Chin Shee and they had one son, Ah Him, born in 1913. They are living in Jung Sai, Sun Ning, China. Although Ah One entered the U.S. successfully on previous trips, this interrogator wanted more witnesses to prove Ah One was born in the U.S. and that he was the same person who left for China when he was 4 or 5 years old. This is part of the testimony:

Q. “Do you mean then that you are relying simply on your two former admissions at this port to prove your right to readmission on your return from China?”
A. “Yes, and I have a certificate of identity as a native.”
Q. “Have you ever voted in this county?”
A. “Yes, I voted for Mayor in Seattle, I voted for Hi Gill when he last ran.” [Hiram Gill was mayor of Seattle from 1911-1912.]

Ah One stated that he attended a mission school in Tacoma for a few months. After he returned from China when he was 23 he worked as a cook for four or five years, then worked as a foreman at the Deep Sea Salmon Cannery Co., in Alaska. Since September 1916 he as the foreman of the Chinese workers at a company at Richmond Beach.

In 1923 he was living at 1346 Broadway in Tacoma, Washington and was a merchant at the Kwong Fat Lung Company in Seattle. In 1928 (Wong) Ah One had a problem with his eyes and could not see to write. His final trip to China was in 1941. Although Ah One’s earlier trips required several witnesses, affidavits and testimony, his later re-entries into the U.S. went smoothly.

To learn more about the Tacoma Anti-Chinese riot in November 1885 go to: The Tacoma Method, Aftermath.
or  Tacoma expels the entire Chinese community on November 3, 1885

 

Ng Toy Sun – Age 11, Shoes left at Immigration Center forwarded to Cincinnati, OH

Ng Toy Sun and Ng Ah Pang
“Affidavit Photos of Ng Toy Sun and Ng Ah Pang” 1941, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ng Toy Sun (Sin) case file, Seattle Box 822, file 7030/13428.
Ng Toy Sun, 伍彩新 age 11, arrived, unaccompanied, at the Port of Seattle on 2 January 1941 and was classified as the son of a citizen. He was born on 10 Feb 1930 in Ai Ong Village, Pang Sa Hon Section, Hoy San District, China. His father, Ng Ah Pang, was born in San Francisco, California on 28 May 1882.

His brother Ng Way Sin (Seattle file 7030/219) applied for admission to the U.S. on 16 July 1930 but was excluded. He appealed his case but died at Columbus Hospital [at 10th & Madison in Seattle], just before the Bureau received a telegram approving his admission. His other brothers, Ng Goon Sin 伍源新 and Ng Jin Sin were admitted in 1935.

Ng Toy Sun was interviewed in Seattle and his father, Ng Ah Pang, 伍亞彭 and brother, Ng Goon Sin were interviewed in Cincinnati, Ohio. They each made sketches of their village; the maps were compared and were alike.

Some of the questions asked during the interviews were: Does your mother have scars or marks on her face? How many persons keep water buffalos? Does anyone keep pigs? Does your village have gates? Who looks after the fish in the fish pond? Where are the toilets located? What is the name of your ancestral hall? What clans live in the nearby village of Gew Toon? Where does your family obtain water? Does your mother have a vegetable garden? Is there a clock in your house? Describe your village. Is there a hill near your village? Does the house in front of your house touch your house? Describe your house.

Only small discrepancies between the interviews were found. One difference was if there was a clock in their home. The interviewers decided the differences were not big enough to be important. Ng Toy Sun was admitted twenty-eight days after his arrival. The file does not tell us how the eleven-year old boy traveled to Cincinnati to be with his family.

Two weeks after Ng Toy Sun was admitted, E. Alexander, a guard at the Immigration Center in Seattle, found a pair of shoes belonging to Ng Toy Sun in the baggage room on the 3rd floor. He asked that they be sent to Ng’s father in Cincinnati. Alexander said they were “good shoes” and he wanted the boy to have them.