Category Archives: reference sheet

Mei Lai Gay (Agnes) – Washington D.C.

Mei Lai Gay Agnes 1927 baby photo
Mei Lai Gay (Agnes) 1927 birth registration
“Mei Lai Gay (Agnes), Form 430 photo and birth registration” 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mei Lai Gay (Agnes) case file, Seattle Box 817,file 7030/13284.
The father of Mei Lai Gay (Agnes), Mei (Moy) Kong Kay (marriage name: Mei (Moy) Kung Sun) first came to the United States in 1908 and was admitted as a merchant at the Port of San Francisco. He was born in 1882 in Sai Yuen village, On Fun section, Hoy San district, China. He and his wife, Ng Shee, had six children; two sons living in China and four in D.C. where they had been living since 1923. Mei Kung Sun was a merchant at Hong High Company, 343 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.

Agnes’ 1927 birth was registered by Dr. Mary Parsons. Dr. Parsons had been practicing medicine in D.C. for fifty-three years and had worked with the Chinese population for 31 years. It was thought that she officiated at the birth of the first Chinese baby born in the city.

The return certificates as American citizen applications for the parents, Agnes, her two brothers and sister were approved and they left Washington, D.C. for China in 1927.

In October 1940 Mei Lai Gay Agnes and her sister Mei Bow Ngook Ruby returned to the U.S. through the Port of Seattle. They were going to live with their brother, Mei (Moy) Bow Duen Earnest, in Washington, D.C. The interrogators questioned Ruby, age 16, then Agnes, age 13. Their father, Mei (Moy) Kung Sun, died in the U.S. in 1938. Their mother moved from her husband’s home village to Hong Kong after her husband’s death. The examining inspector had no questions about the identity of Ruby and noted after careful examination of the photograph of Lai Gay Agnes that “the left ear of this applicant shows outer and inner rim close together and a ridge in the center of the right ear.” [Evidently this scrutiny of her left ear agreed with her baby photo.] Their applications were approved and they were admitted into the U.S.

Mei Lai Gay Agnes 1940 photo
“Mei Lai Gay (Agnes) M143 photo,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mei Lai Gay (Agnes) case file, Seattle Box 817,file 7030/13284.

The Reference Sheet in Mei Lai Gay (Agnes Mei)’s file includes the name, relationship and file number for Agnes’ parents, four brothers and her sister.

Floor plans for Schoolhouse in Gong Mee Village, China

Yee Tom Wing Schoolhouse F
“Floor plan for Schoolhouse in China, Exhibit F” 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Ton Wing case file, Seattle Box 805,file 7030/12842.

This file contains nine floor plans for the schoolhouse and family home in Gong Mee Village, China and an affidavit with photos of Yee Ton Wing and his father, Yee Gim Cheow. Yee Ton Wing was coming to live with his father in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

Additional information: 11/17/2018
Yee Ton Wing was 16 years old when he arrived in the Port of Seattle with his 12- year old brother, Yee Ton Yow, on 2 February 1940. They were students joining their father in Ohio. The transcript of Yee Ton Wing’s first interrogation was nine single-spaced typed pages long. (Eventually there were almost fifty pages of questioning.) Most of the inquiry pertained to his extended family and their village. He correctly identified photographs of his alleged father, grandfather, and uncles. He was asked things like: Where does your mother keep the rice that she cooked for your family? Who lives in the house on the first lot in the 4th row in your village? What are that person’s occupation, age, and the names of his children?
There were five diagrams of the floor plan of the schoolhouse in Gong Mee Village. They were made by the applicant, his younger brother, their grandfather, Yee Bock; their paternal uncle, Yee Gim Gin (Gane); and Yee Gim Cheow, a witness. The witness’ diagram looked considerably different than the other four. There were four diagrams of the floor plan of the 1st and 2nd floors of the family home. They were all in agreement.

Yee Ton Wing House Diagam I
“Floor plan of family home in China, Exhibit I” 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Ton Wing case file, Seattle Box 805,file 7030/12842.

Yee Ton Wing and his brother Yee Ton Yow were interrogated on 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 March 1940 and finally admitted to the United States on 25 April 1940 as citizens and as the sons of Yee Gim Cheow, a citizen.
The reference sheet in the file contains the file numbers, names, and relationships for Yee Ton Wing’s bother, grandfather, four uncles, aunt-in-law, cousin, and his mother.

Chin Wah Pon (Frank) – School teacher, Portland, Oregon

Chin Wah Pon Birth Certificate 1916“Chin Wah Pon birth certificate,” 1916, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Wah Pon  (Frank) case file, Seattle Box 810,file 7030/13041.

In 1921, Wong Ah Look applied for a return certificate for her son, Chin Wah Pon 陳華泮. She presented his Oregon State birth certificate stating that he was born on 6 July 1916 in Portland. She was leaving for China with Chin Wah Pon and her other children, Chin Wah Ching (James), age 3; and Chin Oy Gim (Marguerite), age 2 months. It was alleged that her husband, Chin Ten/Ton, the father of the children, absconded with a large sum of money and his whereabouts were unknown. Wong Ah Look did not plan on returning to the U.S. so she gave the immigration office her Certificate of Identity to be cancelled. Chin Wah Pon 1921

“Chin Wah Pon Form 430 photo,” 1921, CEA case files, RG 85, NA-Seattle,  Chin Wah Pon  (Frank) case file, Seattle file 7030/13041.

Their applications were approved and they left for China on 15 October 1921.

James Chin and Marguerite Chin both returned to the U.S. in 1939; were married and living in Seattle, Washington. Chin Wah Pon, also known as Frank Chin, [marriage name Moon Sin] arrived in the United States via Seattle in June 1940. He was a school teacher in China and hoped to continue teaching in the U. S. He married Wong Shee and they had three sons. J. P. Sanderson, Immigration Inspector, asked the following questions about their sons:
“Is it your understanding that it is customary for American Citizen Chinese to claim that all their children are sons, until after five sons are born?” [Answer: “I don’t know about that.”]
“What are the names of your three alleged sons?”
“Do you expect that another son will be born to your wife in the near future?” [Answer: “No.”]
Chin Wah Pon was admitted to the U.S. at Seattle. The Immigration Chairman concluded that his birth certificate was legitimate; he had some of the same identification marks as the person in the 1921 application; and the ears in the 1921 photo appeared to be the same as those of the applicant in the 1940 photo.Chin Wah Pon 1940

“Chin Wah Pon Form M143 photo,” 1940, CEA Act case files, RG 85, NA-Seattle,  Chin Wah Pon  (Frank) case file, Seattle 7030/13041.

The reference sheet in his file includes the file numbers for his parents, three brothers and a sister.

Harry Chinn – WW II Veteran and POW in Germany

Harry Chinn, a World War II veteran, died in 1951 from complications of frostbite of both feet and pulmonary tuberculosis which he developed when he was a prisoner of war in Germany.

Chinn Harry Birth Cert 1922
“Harry Chinn – Seattle, Washington Birth Certificate of Birth,” 1922, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Harry Chinn file, Seattle Box 734, 7030/10246.

Harry Chinn 陳光漢 (Chin King Ging), son of Shaw Chinn (married name Chin Shu Num 陳召南) and Moy Shee (Moy King Sam or May Sem), was born in Seattle on 25 August 1922. He attended Bailey Gatzert School, Washington School and Broadway High School in Seattle. Harry, his parents, and his four brothers and sister visited China in August 1937 and returned in November 1938. While in China Harry married Til Wui Lee (Lee Tie Win) according to the old Chinese custom in May Hong Tune, How San Province in January 1938.
Harry Chinn obtained his Certificate of Identity in 1942 a few days after he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
Harry Chinn – Certificate of Identity
“Harry Chinn – Certificate of Identity #84891,” 1942, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Harry Chinn file, Seattle Box 734, 7030/10246.

Mrs. Chinn arrived at the Port of San Francisco on 6 March 1947 as the wife of a U.S. citizen and a war veteran. She was admitted twenty-two days later. Harry Chinn was a patient in the U.S. Marine Hospital in Seattle when she arrived so his father and brother went to San Francisco to meet her. They asked Immigration Services to expedite their investigation of Mrs. Chinn. They had been waiting three weeks for her release and it was very expensive for them to stay in San Francisco. Paul D. Mossman, Medical Director of the U.S. Public Health Service in Seattle verified that Harry Chinn, a patient in the hospital since 2 January 1947, was bed-ridden and unable to leave the hospital. His prognosis was guarded and it was expected that he would be in the hospital for some time.

[There is no information in the file about Harry Chinn’s length of time in the hospital but he died in July 1951.]
The Reference Sheet in the file contains the name and file number for Harry Chinn’s grandfather, parents, four brothers, one sister, and his wife.

[Information not included in the file: According to The Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, Washington, 21 July 1951, page 4: Harry Chinn, age 30, of 1 Canton Alley, Seattle, died 18 July 1951 in Vancouver, Washington. The funeral was under the direction of the Cathay Post No. 186 and burial was in Washelli Cemetery. He was survived by his wife and parents and six brothers, Howard Chinn, Haley Chinn, Hopkin Chinn and Hansing Chinn, all of Seattle and Horace Chinn, Fort Lewis; and Henning Chinn, Fort Hood, Texas; and two sisters, Hannah Chinn, Seattle; and Toy Su Chinn, China.]

Mabel Kegiktok Long – born in Nome, Alaska; Eskimo mother, Chinese father

Long Mabel Kegiktok photo 1939
“Form 430, Photo of Mabel Kegiktok Long,” 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Long Mabel Kegiktok case file, Seattle Box 784, 7030/11925.
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.

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.”

Chin On family file

Chin Jan Affidavid
“Chin Jan Affidavit with photos of Chin Jan and Chin On,” 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin On case file, Seattle Box 594, 7030/5510.

Guest blogger –Darby Li Po Price
This week’s blog entry is by Darby Li Po Price. He researched his family in the Chinese Exclusion Act case files at the National Archives-Seattle and found many family files. The following information is from a file on his great aunt, Chin On. It includes an affidavit and testimony by his great grandfather, Chin Jan; Chin On’s application for her certificate of identity and maps of the family home in China.

Chin On Application for Certificate of Identity
“Chin On Application for Certificate of Identity with photo,” 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin On case file, Seattle Box 594, 7030/5510.

The 1933 immigration application and photos were submitted by Jan Chin (great grandfather) for his daughter On Chin. She was detained three days. There are diagrams of their house in China which both drew as part of their interrogations. Jan had U.S. citizenship by native birth of immigrants.

Such documents of Chinese women are rare compared to those of men. Even though the subject of the file may be a woman most of the interrogations and affidavits are usually by the men of the family. It is also nice to see Chin On and her family together.

1933 photos of Chin Jan, and daughter Chin On, age 22, for On’s application for admission to the US. Jan requested “to have my said daughter, Chin On, come to America, so that I can give her the benefits of an American education.” Chin On had written her father the year before to ask to come to America. On arrived in Seattle via President Taft June 6, 1933, and was placed in detention.

The affidavit and application are accompanied by 30 pages of testimonies of On, Jan, and Jan’s sister Len Toy, drawings of their home in Sun Woy [Sun Wui], and detention release are in Seattle file no. 7030/5510. Interviews include extensive details on family members’ relations, lives, and homes in China and the U.S.
Jan, age 53, resided at 124 Ninth St., Portland, OR, and was a native U.S. citizen by birth from Joe Jew Chin and Dew Shee. Jan described his wife Hom Shee, age 47, and their sons in Sun Woy as Mon, age 30, Kway, 12, Wing, 7, Haw, 5; and Soon, 29, living in Chicago whose wife with their two sons lived in Sun Ning. Mon lived with his wife and two sons in another house. Mon was admitted to the U.S. in 1922; Soon in 1923. Len Toy was born in Portland, and spent a year and a half with the family in Sun Woy.

Interviews were translated between English and Chinese. The Chins spoke See Yip dialect. There were discrepancies regarding existence or placement of: a house number above the front door, ladders, stairways, doors, windows, a mirror, an alarm clock, Jan’s pocket and wrist watches, where two of On’s brother’s slept, and where Len slept. On did not remember a prior house Jan said they moved from when On was 11. On said Jan’s mother’s name was Yee Shee, Jan said Leung Shee.
On June 9, 1933 Roy Matterson, Chair of the Board of Special Inquiry concluded: “while there are a considerable number of discrepancies in the record that have not been cleared up, applicant testifies in a frank, unhesitating manner and seems to be testifying from facts and not from coached testimony and I am of the opinion that she has established her claim to being a daughter of CHIN JAN, and I therefore move to admit her to the United States as a citizen.” Admission was concurred by inspectors John Boyd and Earl Botts.

House diagrams
“Four house diagrams of house in Sun Woy City,” 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin On case file, Seattle Box 594, 7030/5510.


The Reference Sheet in Chin On’s case file contains the file numbers and names of her father, grandfather, three brothers, five uncles, an aunt, sister-in-law, two nephews, cousin, and a niece.
Darby will be telling us more about his family in the coming weeks.