Benjamin James – 1923 Certificate of Identity sold on EBay

[Amy Chin brought this to my attention in a few weeks ago. The Certificate of Identity for Benjamin James was being offered for sale on Ebay. She did a quick Ancestry search and found a ship manifest and a U.S. Consular application. Mr. James’ record showed that he was born in Philadelphia. His Certificate of Identity was issued in Seattle so she thought there may be a file at Seattle NARA on him. The indexes for San Bruno and NY show they both have files on him.  Amy searched the Social Security Death Index and found a Benjamin James who died July 1969. NARA-NY has files on Benjamin and siblings Harry, Lillie and Arthur. In 1911 Benjamin and at least 2 other siblings returned to China for 10+ years.]

[Amy asked if I could check the Seattle files to see if we could connect a descendant to Benjamin James so they could obtain the Certificate of Identity from Ebay. Unfortunately the certificate sold quickly, before I had a chance to make this blog entry on Benjamin James’ file. ]

Benjamin James 1898 Birth Certificate
“Benjamin James, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1898 birth certificate,” 1908, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Benjamin James file, Seattle Box 109, 734/2-1.”

Benjamin James was born 6 July 1898 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Joe and Tillie James. His birth certificate was presented to immigration in 1911 as proof of his U.S. citizenship before the family left for China.

Instead of inteBenjamin James photo 1911rviewing each of the children individually only Benjamin’s parents were interviewed before they left the U.S. in 1911. Joseph James’ Chinese name was Chu Gee Cim [Gim] and his married named was Chu Chuck. He was born in Ling Yung village, Sun Ning, China about 1852 and came to the U.S. through San Francisco in 1868. He stayed there about eleven years working as a merchant and sometimes a laborer then went to New York City until 1880. He lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; New York, New York; and Paterson, New Jersey. He was in Atlantic City in 1894 when he registered as required by the Chinese Exclusion Act and obtained his merchant’s papers. He married Chung Suey Ping, (English married name: Tillie James). She was born in California. They had three sons and five living daughters and a daughter, Sou Ying, who died at age four. Their children, all born in the United States, were Lillie James (Mrs. Lee), Mamie James (Mrs. Bing), Harry James, Annie James, Margaret James, Benjamin James, Alice James, and Arthur James. In 1911 the older children stayed in the U.S. and Joseph and Tillie took Harry, Benjamin, Alice and Arthur to China so they could attend school there.

Benjamin James photo 1923
“Benjamin James, form 430 M143 photos,” 1911 & 1923, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Benjamin James file, Seattle Box 109, 734/2-1.

In 1923 Benjamin James informed Immigration that he would be returning to the U.S. via Seattle in the near future. He gave the immigration officer three photos for his certificate of identity and asked that the certificate be sent to him in San Francisco. In January 1924, writing on stationery from Washman Co., importers and Exporters at 259 Fifth Avenue in New York City, he requested that the certificate be sent to the Washman address. His Certificate of Identity #49650 was forwarded to him there.

[There is no more information in the file.]

Edward Bing Kan: 1st Chinese-American Naturalized after Repeal of Chinese Exclusion

Kan Edward Bing Citizenship
Edward Bing Kan: The First Chinese-American Naturalized After the Repeal of Chinese Exclusion:

Edward Bing Kan: The First Chinese-American Naturalized after Repeal of Chinese Exclusion

[05/17/2013 article on the website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at https://www.uscis.gov.%5D

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.]

Lynne Lee Shew – Heung Shan Benevolent Hospital

Shew Lynne Lee collage
“Lynne Lee Shew photos, Form 430,” 1922 -1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lynne Lee Shew case file, Seattle Box 796, 7030/12446.

Lynne Lee Shew 蕭悔塵 was born in San Jose, California on 27 September 1890 to Chu [Chew] Wing Shew and Shee Nee. Her Chinese name was Shew Fuey Chun. She attended public grammar schools at San Jose and Pajaro, California; high school at Watsonvillage, and received her B. A. and M.A. degrees at University of California at Berkeley, majoring in education and philosophy. Her brother, George Shew, a medical student at the University of California at Berkeley, was killed by an automobile in 1917 when he stepped from a street car. He planned to give medical treatment to the poor in China. Miss Shew gave up her advanced studies at Berkeley to obtain funds for Heung Shan Benevolent Hospital, a hospital to carry out his goals.
Miss Shew made several trips from the U. S.—three to Canada and one to Cuba. She traveled throughout the United States and Canada to raise funds to build the Heung Shan Benevolent Hospital at Shekki, Heung Shan District, Kwang Tung Province, China.
Shew was well known to the immigration officials and she was readily re-admitted on each of her trips. She obtained U.S. passport No. 4031C and Certificate of identity No. 49662 in 1924. She had files in Seattle, Cleveland, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Jacksonville. She showed the immigration inspector a certified copy of her birth certificate but requested that it be returned to her so no copy is in her file. In February 1925 Miss Shew made her first trip to China with a layover in Honolulu, Hawaii and did not return to the U.S. until June 1939. While in China she helped build and manage the Heung Shan Benevolent Hospital.

Letterhead for Heung Shan Benevolent Hospital Fund in San Francisco, California and Vancouver, B. C., Canada

Letterhead for Heung Shan Benevolent Hospital Fund
“Letterhead for Heung Shan Benevolent Hospital Fund,” 1923 & 1924, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lynne Lee Shew case file, Seattle Box 796, 7030/12446.

Yale University Library has information about Heung Shan Benevolent Hospital at http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/wmicproject/node/2279
Western Medicine in China, 1800-1950 Guide to Collections at Yale University
Additional reports related to hospitals, medical schools, and organizations:
Heung Shan Benevolent Hospital.  Records of the Heung Shan Benevolent Hospital, (Proposed) n.d. Yale Divinity School Library HR547

[Unable to find any information on Lynne Lee Shew after 1943.]
[This file was researched by Hao-Jan Chang, Volunteer at National Archives at Seattle.]

Moy Mee Ting (Georgia Moy) – Chicago, Illinois

Photo of Moy Mee Ting Family
“Photo of Mrs. Moy Chuck Poy (Woo Shee) and family,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Moy Mee Ting (Georgia Moy) case file, Seattle Box 737, 7030/10320.

Back row: Tai You (servant girl), Moy Mee Ting (applicant)
Front Row: Moy Ngoon See, Woo Shee (mother), Moy Fang Dhl, Moy Mon Dle

Moy Mee Ting 梅美清 (Georgia Moy) and her bother Moy Fang Dhl 梅宏資 (Stanley Moy) were admitted to the U. S. at the Port of Seattle on 3 September 1937 as native born U. S. citizens. Georgia was 14 years old and Stanley was a year younger. They were joining their father, Moy Chuck Poy in Chicago, Illinois. Their native dialect was See Yip Sun Ning.

Moy Mee Ting Birth Cert 1923
Chicago, Illinois birth registration, Georgia Moy, 1923; Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Moy Mee Ting (Georgia Moy) case file, Seattle Box 737, 7030/10320.

The Moy family went to Sai How Gow Dee village, China in 1927 so the children could study Chinese. The children Georgia, Stanley, and Philip (Moy Mon Dle) were all born in Chicago. Their mother Woo Shee (maiden name: Woo Yin Po) stayed in China and their father returned to the U. S. about 1929. The children and their mother moved to Ng Gong market near Gow Dee village in about 1932 because there were many floods in their former village.

Moy Mee Ting’s paternal grandfather, Moy Fang Chung (marriage name: Moy Dip Nai), was living in Detroit in 1937.

Moy Mee Ting testified that Sai How Gow Dee village had over 100 houses and she attended the Sai How School. There were over 100 students and including about thirty or forty girls. There were no women teachers. In her interview she was asked about size of the village, the number of stores, the number of stories of various buildings, who lived where, where they got their household water, how their house was lighted, where everyone slept, the number of beds, who cut her hair, why her mother had a servant girl, and many more questions.

When they moved to Ng Gong market the children attended the gospel mission school called Jing Ock. They had women teachers at this school. Chairman Inspector J. H. Gee asked Mee Ting several questions about where her mother got the money to support them after her father returned to the U.S. and where she got the white gold wrist watch she was wearing. She replied that her father had been sending her mother money and her mother gave her the watch before she left for the U.S.

Their mother accompanied them to Hong Kong. They took a boat from Ng Gong market to Ow San market, a train to Bok Gai and a steamer to Hong Kong. Their mother said goodbye onboard and a man named Chin Deung Fun oversaw them on the trip to the U.S.

Mee Ting correctly identified photos of her father, Moy Poy, (SF file 20173/13-16) (Seattle file 10724/12-10) and her mother, Wu [Woo] Yin Po (SF file 20173/17-3) and her brothers. Six pages of testimony by her brother, Moy Fang Dhl, is included in her file. The next day Moy Mee Ting was recalled to the hearing. Three more pages of testimony are included in the file. The interviewers compared her answers to her brother’s and asked about discrepancies and included more in-depth questions. Mee Ting and Fang Dhl were both admonished for saying that they had a brother named Ngoon Jee. They admitted that there was no such brother and were cautioned not to say he was a brother. They provided a group photo of the family which did not include the “extra brother.”

The Immigration committee reviewed the parents’ files from 1917 and 1921 and the family’s files from when they left the country in 1927 and voluminous current testimony and unanimously approved the admittance of Moy Mee Ting and Moy Fang Dhl.

Moy Mee Ting Form 430 1927
“Form 430 Photo of Moy Mee Ting (Georgia Moy),” 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Moy Mee Ting (Georgia Moy) case file, Seattle Box 737, 7030/10320.

 

Chinese Ancestry Day at Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Saturday, 26 May 2018

May is Asian & Pacific Heritage Month

IT’S ALMOST HERE – REGISTER BY MAY 24
CHINESE ANCESTRY DAY
Chinese Ancestry Day Oakland 26 May 2018

Saturday, May 26, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 Ninth St., Suite 290, Oakland CA 94607

A unique opportunity for those of Chinese descent
Enjoy a day with the experts!
Learn the basics of Chinese American genealogy and how to build your family tree.

Keynote speaker: FELICIA LOWE
The Bay Area filmmaker discusses the Chinese American experience and shows excerpts from her movie “Chinese Couplets,” about uncovering her mother’s hidden past.

Other speakers:
GRANT DIN: “The Importance of Family Stories”

MARISA LOUIE LEE: “Chinese Exclusion Records at the National Archives”

JOHN WONG: “A Pilgrimage to Your Ancestral Village”

General Admission $60: California Genealogical Society Members $40
Door prizes: a DNA test kit, subscriptions to Ancestry.com, Fold3.com and more.
Lunch from Peony Restaurant included

Registration and details: https://tinyurl.com/yaw549p2

Go to CaliforniaAncestors.org for more information.

California Genealogical Society and Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2, Oakland, CA 94612-3031
(510) 663-1358

Marie A. Proctor – Seattle District Commissioner of Immigration

This is a continuation and expansion of last week’s blog entry on (James) Chin Shik Kuey. When Lily Eng gave her Uncle Jim a copy of his file, he told her that Marie A. Proctor, District Commissioner of Immigration of the Seattle District, was his godmother. This is what happened: In 1940, three-year-old Jim came to the U.S. with his father’s business partner. His father, Chin On 陳安, wanted him in the U.S. quickly because of growing fears of war. Once Jim arrived at the Port of Seattle, his father came from Yakima to the immigration office to pick him up and met Marie Proctor. It isn’t clear how or why it happened but at some point after meeting Mrs. Proctor, Chin On asked her if she would be Jim’s godmother. Maybe she was as taken by how cute Jim was in his little overcoat in the photo for his Certificate of Identity application.

Chin Shik Kuey M143 photo

“Photo of Chin Shik Kuey, Form M143,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Shik Kuey case file, Seattle Box 807, 7030/12930.

As Seattle’s District Commissioner of Immigration, Marie A. Proctor’s name appears in almost every Chinese Exclusion Act file from 1934 to 1940 but no personal information or photo of her is included. Jim Chin (Chin Shik Kuey) gave these photos to his niece Lily Eng, Data Entry Volunteer, for the Chinese Exclusion Act files at the National Archives at Seattle.

Jim Chin Shik Kuey and Marie A Proctor, ca. 1948;
Photo Jim Chin Shik Kuey and Marie A Proctor, ca. 1948; courtesy Lily Eng
Photo Chin On family
Jim’s parents: Chin On and Wong Yoke Lon: brother Kim Chin, brother Don, Marie A. Proctor and an unidentified toddler.

In January 1934 Marie A. Proctor was named commissioner of immigration for the Seattle District by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. She was replacing Luther Weedin.1 She held the position until June 30, 1940 when it was abolished by President Roosevelt in a reorganization of immigration services. She was the first woman to hold this position in the Northwest. She was responsible for immigration duties in Alaska, western Washington and Oregon, and several seaports. Before her appointment Mrs. Proctor was active in the Washington state Democratic committee.2
Marie Proctor was married to Robert L. Proctor. Their only child, a son, Capt. Gordon E. Proctor, was killed in Tezpur, India, in November 1944. He was an Army Air Forces pilot and served in transport service across the Himalaya Mountains.3 Marie Proctor’s husband died in June 1945.4 Marie A. Proctor lived to be 83 years old. She died in Seattle in September 1964.5

1.“Woman Appointed,” Bellingham Herald, Bellingham, WA, 17 January 1934, p.1 & 5; (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 29 April 2018).
2.“Marie Proctor Finishes Job and Leaves City,” ,” Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, WA, 30 June 1940, p.3; (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 29 April 2018).
3. “Capt. Proctor, Former Skier, Dies in Crash,” Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, WA, 3 Dec 1944, p.8; (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 29 April 2018).
4. “Robt. L. Proctor Called by Death,” Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, WA, 329 June 1945, p.24; (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 29 April 2018).
5.“Mrs. Robert L. Proctor,” Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, WA, 13 Sept 1964, p.65; (https://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 29 April 2018).