Tag Archives: San Francisco

Look Fee – Columbus, Ohio

Look Fee Look Yuen Affidavit 1938
“Look Fee and Look Yuen, affidavit photos” 1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Look Fee case file, Seattle Box 794, 7030/12331.

In October 1938 Look Yuen 陸元 swore in an affidavit that he was a citizen of the United States who was admitted at the Port of San Francisco in October 1922 and granted Certificate of Identity 40415. His son Look Fee wanted to come to the United States to live with him. Photos of father and son were attached to the affidavit.

Look Fee 陸惠 arrived in the Port of Seattle on 23 August 1939 on the SS Princess Marguerite with the status of a son of a citizen. He was admitted to the U.S. almost two months later. He was a student, age 18 years Chinese reckoning; 16 years 9 months per American calculation. He would be joining his father, Look Yuen, in Columbus, Ohio. Look Fee was born in Sun Chong City, Toy Shan District, China on 4 January 1923. His family lived there one year and then moved to Sam Gong in Hoy Ping. His father was born in Look Bin village and had six brothers and one sister. During his interview Look Fee enumerated all of his father’s siblings, the names of their spouses and children and where they were living. He described his paternal grandfather and gave the names of his paternal great grandparents. His mother, Lee Shee, was the daughter and only child of Lee Wah and Chin Shee. Her parents both died prior to 1939. Look Fee was questioned about the village, the location of his neighbors’ houses and details about their extended families.

Some of the questions during the interview were: Who lives in the 8th lot, 3rd row from the east? What is his occupation? Who lives with him? What are their ages? Where do you get the water which you use for household purposes? Is there any space between the houses in the rows other than the cross alleys? Do you cross any streams or bridges going to the market? Which way does the door in the ancestral hall open? His interrogation was over seven pages long.

Look Fee’s father, Look Yuen, (marriage name Look Wing Bing) waited in Seattle almost two months for his son to be admitted. Look Yuen testified that he was a part owner of the Nan King restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. He first arrived in the U.S. though San Francisco in 1922 three months before Look Fee was born. He made one trip back to China in May 1929, returning to Ohio in September 1930. His other son, Look Wee, was born in March 1930 and was presently attending school in their home village. Look Yuen was asked many of the same questions as his son but in more detail about his siblings. Look Fee was called back to clear up some discrepancies. Although his father had left China sixteen years previously and had only spent one year there, six years prior to this interrogation, the interviewers expected their testimony to agree in most aspects.

Look Fee and Look Wee
“Look Fee and Look Wee photo” ca. 1934, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Look Fee case file, Seattle Box 794, 7030/12331.

Look Yuen gave the interrogators this photo of Look Fee and his brother Look Wee which was taken about 1934 or 1935. They wondered why Look Fee had a tennis racket and Look Wee had a basketball. Look Fee explained that their mother had a photographer at the Shung Sar Market take the photo. The props were just for fun.

After the interrogations the chairman of the immigration committee concluded that the relationship between the alleged father and his son was satisfactorily established. They were impressed that the father came from Ohio to testify for his son and stayed so long. They discounted the minor discrepancies because it had been so long since the father had been in China. They were satisfied that Look Fee knew when and where the photo of him and his brother was taken. Look Fee was admitted into the United States as a U.S. citizen.

May Sophie Lee – Physician from Philadelphia

May Sophie Lee 1924
“May Sophie Lee, Form M143 photo” 1924, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, May Sophie Lee case file, Seattle Box 178, 2850/6-2.May Sophie Lee 李美(Chinese name Lee Soon Wah) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 18 May 1898. Her parents were Lee Toy 李才and Chee Fung. She had a younger brother named John Paul Lee 李進普, born on 9 May 1900.

In October 1908 May Sophie Lee, age ten, her mother and brother were preparing to leave the United States on the SS Siberia through San Francisco for a trip to China. The Immigration inspector examined May Sophie’s passport no. 64231, two affidavits with photos and a certified copy of her birth certificate. The birth certificate states that she is white.

May Sophie Lee passport

May Sophie Lee passport seal
May Sophie Lee’s passport
1908 Affidavit with photos of Lee Toy and May Sophie Lee
1908 Affidavit with photos of Lee Toy and May Sophie Lee
May Sephie Lee's 1898 birth certificate
May Sephie Lee’s 1898 birth certificate

Mr. and Mrs. Lee’s marriage certificate was examined, authenticated and returned to the Lees.  Seven white residents from Philadelphia swore in an affidavit that they were not Chinese; they were well acquainted with Lee Toy, a merchant at Chong Woh Company;  May Sophie Lee was his lawful daughter, and that she was born in Philadelphia.  The signers of the affidavit were:

Signatures on Affidavit
Signatures on Affidavit

Peter Hackett, 50 So. 4th Street
Frederic Poole, Chinese Mission, 918 Race St.
William Gallagher, 1231 Arch Street
Thomas W. Cunningham, 2112 Cherry Street
Katharine A. Lacy, Principal John Agnus School
Florence B. Scott, First Baptist Church, 17th & Samson St.
Neida S. Gilman, teacher in John Agnus School

While in China May Sophie attended school until she was 21 then attended medical school in Canton City and received a medical degree. She practiced as a physician in Shanghai for over a year before returning to the U.S.

May Sophie Lee was admitted to the United States at the Port of Seattle on 15 December 1924 as a returning citizen. She was 27 years old and was on her way to the Chung Wah & Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with plans to continue her medical career.

[There is no further information in the file.]

Yee Shee, Chan Sheung and Chan Git Oy – Cleveland, Ohio

Yee Shee, Chan Sheung and Chan Git Oy
“Chan Sheung 陳相 Affidavit photos,” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Shee case file, Seattle Box 1155, 11627/3-3.

Yee Shee, age 27, arrived at the port of Seattle on the Princess Marguerite on 28 September 1929. Her admittance status was “wife of merchant.” She was accompanied by her husband, Chan Sheung 陳相, and daughter, Chan Git Oy, age three. Yee Shee’s paper work consisted of a U.S. Consular certificate, an affidavit with photos of her, her husband and daughter, signed by her husband and sworn by a Washington State notary public; a Declaration of Non-Immigrant Alien sworn by Kenneth C. Krentz, Vice-Consul of the U.S. at Hong Kong; and Visa No. 118.

Yee Shee was born in 1902 in Lung Tin village, Toysan District and lived there until she married Chan Sheung in November 1920. After marrying she moved about 3 or 4 lis [about a mile or a mile and a third] to Sam Gong, her husband’s village, Hoy Ping district. Her father, Yee Won Jung, died when she was young and her mother, So Ho Shee, raised her with money he had left them. Now Ngon, a marriage go-between, arranged Yee Shee and Chan Sheung’s marriage; they were married under the new customs. They did not see each other until their marriage day. Yee Shee’s dowry was a dresser table, dining table, two chairs, leather trunk, wooden trunk, clothes cabinet, and a wash-stand. Chan Sheung gave her a gold ring after they were married. Their wedding ceremony consisted of worshiping her husband’s ancestors and serving him a cup of liquor. Their red marriage paper shows three generations of Yee Shee’s family. [mentioned but not included in the file]

Yee Shee’s interrogation describes her family, her husband’s family, their village and home—six pages in all. When Chan Sheung returned to China from the U.S. in May 1929 he brought with him an American trunk, suitcase, sea bag, one box of laundry soap and some eatables.

Their first son died shortly after his birth. A woman doctor, Dr. Look Ooh, attended Yee Shee for the birth of her second child. Their daughter, Chan Git Oy, born 17 June 1926 was accompanying them to the U.S.

Yee Shee described their trip to the United States: they left the village about 7 a.m. and walked to the landing, took a row boat to Chung Sar market, transferred to another boat to Bok Gai, then boarded a steamer to Hong Kong. They were in Hong Kong a little more than two weeks at the Ung Nom Hotel, room number 13 before sailing for the U.S. While in Hong Kong they went to see a Chinese show and made several trips to the American consul to get the necessary forms and photographs.

The testimony of Chan Sheung (marriage name Chan Leung Park) was also six pages long. He stated that he was 31 years old, a salesman and member of the Wing Wah Chong Company in Cleveland, Ohio. He first came to the U.S. at San Francisco in July 1912. He had made three trips to China since then; once as a student, then as a laborer, and currently as a merchant. Chan Sheung described his family in great detail.

The village of Sam Gong had nine houses and one lantern house. Their home, which he inherited from his father, was “a regular five-room brick building; tile floor in every room; court is paved with cement; two outside windows in each bedroom with five iron bars, wooden shutters and glass door in each window.” There was an alarm clock on the table in the bedroom and several photographs hanging on the west side wall of the sitting room. The village had a brick wall about six feet high at both ends with bamboo trees in the back. A granite stone road ran in front of the village. Beyond the road was a stream where they obtained their household water.
After lengthy interviews of Yee Shee and Chan Sheung there were only a few minor discrepancies—the exact houses their neighbors Chin Yoon Ying and Chan Wee Lee lived in the village; the number of suitcases they had when they left their village; and Yee Shee forgot that her husband bought her a brown purse in Hong Kong. The inspectors asked Yee Shee about these inconsistencies and her new testimony agreed with her husband’s statements. They were admitted to the United States.

“Yee Shee Visa Application” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Shee case file, Seattle Box 1155, 11627/3-3.

Yee Mollie – Ambridge, Pennsylvania

Yee Mollie Form 430 1923 photo
“Yee Mollie, Form 430 photo,” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Mollie case file, Seattle Box 773, 7030/11550.
[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 Molllie Birth Certificate 1929
“Yee Mollie, State of Pennsylvania Birth Certificate,” 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Yee Mollie case file, Seattle Box 773, 7030/11550.
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.

Ng Chuen Yong of Ellwood City, Pennsylvania

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.

Ng Chuen Yong Medical Card 1939
“Medical Card for Ng Chuen Yong,” 1939, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ng Chuen Yong case file, Seattle Box 792, 7030/12239.

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 Form 430 1929
“Ng Chuen Yong, Form 430 Photo” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ng Chuen Yong case file, Seattle Box 792, 7030/12239.

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.

Ng Chuen Yong US Birth Reg
“Notification of Birth Registration” 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ng Chuen Yong case file, Seattle Box 792, 7030/12239.

Ng Chuen Yong was admitted in 1939.

Gin Mon Louie – Chinese Herbalist in Seattle

Gin Mon Louie 1913

In 1912 Gin Mon Louie was applying to visit China. His witness, Willard A. Norse, testified that he was 50 years old and living at 1902 Yesler Way and was in the hotel business. He owned two hotels– at 114-1/2 2nd South and 122 2nd South in Seattle. For the past five years M. Hee Woo (He Wo), a Chinese doctor, rented five rooms at the hotel on 122 2nd South. Dr. Woo was Gin Mon Louie’s employer and when Woo visited China in early 1912, Gin Mon Louie took over the business for him until his return. Then it was Gin Mon Louie’s turn to visit China.
F. T. Carlton, a druggist, age 52, living a 1942 10th Avenue West in Seattle, also testified for Gin Mon Louie in 1912. They were both druggists in the same building and saw each other four or five times a day. Carlton knew that Gin Mon Louie was going to China to get married.
Gin Mon Louie application was approved. He visited China, married, returned in September 1913 and received his Certificate of Identity #12747.
When Gin Mon Louie applied to visit China in 1921 his witnesses were Dr. J. E. Godfrey and Axel Hedberg. Godfrey was a physician and surgeon residing at 103 Second Avenue South. He had lived in Seattle since 1914. He knew about a couple dozen Chinese and named Dr. Louie, Quon Foy, Chin Him and Tom Leong as examples. He stated that Gin Mon Louie was a Chinese herb doctor, not a regular licensed physician, but a sanipractor [drugless-healer/naturopathic doctor]. Dr. Lamb was his partner. Godfrey and Gin Mon Louie were friends and saw each other about once a month.
Gin Mon Louie’s other witness, Alex Hedberg, was the newspaper publisher for the Swedish Tribune and lived at 44 Rose Avenue in Sunnyside. Hedberg did not know many Chinese but was acquainted with Gin Mon Louie because Louie advertised in his newspaper. He went to Gin Mon Louie’s office monthly to collect the five dollars owed him for the ads.
Charles E. Keagy, Immigrant Inspector, visited Dr. Louie at his office and obtained a copy of M. Hee Wo (Hee Woo) Company’s income tax report for 1920. He recommended that Gin Mon Louie’s application to visit China and return as a merchant be approved.

 1920 Income report
“Seattle Correspondence: Inspector to Commissioner, 35100/27-10,” 1921, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Gin Mon Louie case file, Seattle Box 1003, 7032/3549.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1924 Gin Mon Louie made another trip to China. Godfrey and Hedberg were his witnesses again.
Gin Mon Louie visited China again in 1934 and returned in 1937. The interrogators asked him about his interactions in China with Chinese who were residents of the United States: Did he visit with anyone in his village that was from the U.S? Did he attend a wedding of anyone from the U.S.? Did he arrange to appear as a witness for a prospective applicant for admission to the U.S.? Louie answered no to all these questions and there were not follow-up questions.
The Examining Inspector, Roy C. Matterson, reviewed information from when Gin Mon Louie originally came into the United States. He was first admitted at San Francisco as a student in 1904 and was sometimes known as Jin Mon Yuey. Immigration listed him as Chan Man Yai but Gin Mon Louie thought it was either misspelled or mispronounced. Matterson updated Gin Mon Louie’s family information. His marriage name was Jin Lip Moon. He was married to Yee Shee and they had two sons, Jin Ok Jung and Jin Hing Lok; all living in China.

Gin Mon Louie, 1913 & 1937
“Photos of Gin Mon Louie,” 1913, 1937, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Gin Mon Louie case file, Seattle Box 1003, 7032/3549.

Gin Mon Louie was admitted.

Bruce Lee – anniversary of his birth – 27 November 1940

Bruce Lee Form 430 Application
“Application for Citizen’s Return Certificate, Form 430,” 1941, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives at San Francisco, Bruce Lee (Lee Jun Fon) case file, SF file 12017/53752; https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5720262, image 8.

[The complete file (31 pages) for Bruce Lee is at National Archives at San Francisco and is available at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5720262.]

Bruce Lee (Lee Jun Fon) was born on 27 November 1940 in San Francisco, California. In order to establish his son’s right to his United States citizenship and before the family returned to China in April 1941, his father, Lee Hoi Chuen, filed a Citizen’s Return Certificate on his son’s behalf. This would document his son’s birth, his American citizenship and enable him to return to reside in the United States at a later date. His father was an actor at the Mandarin Theatre in San Francisco; he was 27 years old and was born in Fat San City, Nom Hoy, China. He testified that he and his wife, Ho Oi Yee, were married ten years and had four living children—one son died in Hong Kong and one daughter was adopted. Ho Oi Yee’s mother was English. Lee Jun Fon (Bruce Lee) was the only child born in the United States. The doctor gave Bruce Lee his American name. His father couldn’t pronounce it but went along with it.

Bruce Lee Birth Certificate
Bruce Lee, SF file 12017/53752, corrected birth certificate, image 23.

A copy of Bruce Lee’s birth certificate and a corrected copy are included in the file. In the original document, Item 3B stated that his mother’s usual residence was China. This was corrected to say that she had been a resident of California for one year, two months.

[Bruce Lee returned to the United States at age 18 and attended the University of Washington in Seattle for three years. He became a celebrated actor and martial artist. Lee died of a brain edema on 20 July 20 1973 in Hong Kong and buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Seattle, WA.]

Bruce Lee’s tombstone at Lakeview Cemetery