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.
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.
“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 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 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.
Look See, wife of Chin Quong, a manager of the Wa Chong Company, 719 King Street, Seattle, Washington, made two trips in China—one in 1904 and another in 1917.
After the first trip Look See was re-admitted to the United States at Port Townsend, Washington on 22 June 1905. She testified that she was thirty-six years old and first came to the United States with her sister, Mrs. Chin Gee Hee, in about 1882 or 1883 when she was around thirteen years old. When asked if she knew any white men in Seattle, she replied that she knew Mr. Whitlock, a lawyer; and three white ladies: Mrs. Hambeck, a Christian teacher; Mrs. Thomas, an old lady, also a teacher; and Mrs. Greene. Chin Kee was her Chinese witness. He testified that Look See and Chin Quong had been married according to the Chinese custom for at least twenty years; they had six children—three sons and three daughters, all born in Seattle. Her maiden name was Ah Quan. Chin Gee Hee, a merchant, labor contractor, and well-known early settler in Seattle, performed their wedding ceremony in October 1886.
Look See’s husband Chin Quong testified that he had been a member of the Wah Chung (Wa Chong) firm since about 1890. There were seven partners whose capital stock equaled $60,000 [worth almost $1,600,000 in 2017]. The partners were Chin Quong (himself), Chin Quok Jon, Woo Jen, Chin Wing, Chin Wing Mow, Chin Wing Yon, Chin Yen Gee, and Chin Ching Hock. [That adds up to eight partners but the John H. Sargent, Chinese Inspector did not ask about the discrepancy.] Chin Quong was also a manager at the Wah Chung Tai Company in Butte, Montana.
John C. Whitlock, testified that he was forty-eight years old, had lived in Seattle more than sixteen years–arriving in the spring of 1898, and since he collected the rent from the Chinese tenants of the Wah Chung building he was well acquainted with Chin Quong. Whitlock usually had to go to the building night after night to find all of the tenants. He was aware that Look See was in the detention house in Port Townsend when this testimony was taken. Whitlock, Samuel F. Coombs, Justice of the Peace; and Chin Quong all testified in affidavits in Look See’s favor in 1904 before she left for China.
Look See left Seattle again in September 1916 with her sons Chin Dan and Ah Wing, and her daughter Ah Lan. She was returning in June 1917 with her son, Chin Dan, and her daughter, her daughter’s husband, Pang Chung Cheong; and their infant son. They were admitted.
The Reference Sheet lists these files: RS 910 & 34,380, Look See; 35205/1-1, Archie Pang, son-in-law; 35205/1-2, Annie M. Chin, daughter; 35205/1-2, Victor Ernest Pang, grandson; 35205/1-5, Chin Dan, son; 36918/3-8, Chin May Goon, daughter of husband by secondary wife; 40231/2-16, Anna Pang (Annie M. Chin) Chin May Young, daughter; RS 2033, Chin Quong, husband.
Soong May Ling (sometimes spelled Soong Mai-ling) age 9, and her sister, Soong Ching Ling, age 14, (Seattle RS Box 39, RS 1479) arrived in Port Townsend, Washington on the S.S. Minnesota. They came from their home in Shanghai, China as Section 6 students and were admitted.
The 1907 Section 6 Certificate is the only document in the file. The file contains correspondence from 1943 between Earl G. Harrison, Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Raphael P. Bonham, District Director of Immigration and Naturalization in Seattle, Washington. Harrison asked Bonham to confirm that Soong May Ling was admitted into Seattle as a student in 1907. Bonham replied that “a charming little Chinese maid” had arrived with her sister “now also a lady of renown.” Bonham asked a local Chinese Consul to examine the document for its authenticity. It passed his scrutiny. Bonham concluded that Soong May Ling “was the now world-famous and accomplished Madame Chiang Kai Shek.” Bonham had the photo from the 1907 certificate copied and sent three prints and the negatives to Harrison hoping that he would forward one to Madame Chiang Kai Shek.
Bonham received this letter dated 5 May 1943 from Harrison:
Information not in the file:
Soong May Ling1 and her sister graduated from Wesleyan College. Soong Ching Ling became the second wife of Sun Yat-sen, one of the leaders of the 1911 revolution that established the Republic of China.2
In 1943, Madame Chiang Kai Shek “became the first Chinese person, and only the second woman, to address a joint session of the United States Congress as she sought to have the United States repeal the Chinese Exclusion Act, which had been in effect since 1882 and prohibited new Chinese immigration.”3
“Mrs. T. C. White, newspaper article,” 1917, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Mrs. T. C. White case file, Seattle RS Box 285, RS 34,283.
Undated newspaper article included in the file: “Princess is Here, has Shopping Fad”
“Princess Der Ling, who is shown with her husband, Thaddeus Raymond White and little son, Thaddeus, Jr., during stay of family in Seattle.” [Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, Washington, 10 April 1917, p.22] [See complete article below.]
Mrs. Thaddeus C. White entered the United States with her husband and son, Thaddeus Raymond White, on 20 October 1916. Mrs. White was also known as Elizabeth Antoinette Der Ling or Princess Der Ling, former lady-in-waiting to China’s Dowager Empress, Tzu-hai. Mrs. White was born in Tientsin, China; her husband, a Caucasian, was a U.S. citizen and businessman in China. The caption under the photo in 1917 newspaper article: “Daughter of Manchurian Prince declares that department stores of Seattle furnish never ending round of wonder and desire to buy.”
A letter in the file states that In April 1917 Mr. White complained to the Commissioner-General of Immigration in Washington, D.C. about the way he and Mrs. Konigsberg were treated by Inspector Thomson on their arrived in Seattle in October 1916. The Commissioner was satisfied that Mr. Thomson had no intention of being discourteous although he may have seemed “rather abrupt.” [The file doesn’t give any details about Mr. Thomson’s behavior or give the identity of Mrs. Konigsberg .]
Another note in the file says that Mrs. White was Princess Der Ling and had lived in U.S. about one year in 1888.
Mrs. White, her husband, and son traveled from Vancouver, B.C. via Seattle, Washington in August 1922 to New York City and were admitted as U.S. citizens. They traveled again in 1927 and were admitted.
A final memo in the file dated 28 November 1944 says, “Our attention has been called to the accidental death of this person as reported in the San Francisco newspaper Call Bulletin, on November 22, 1944. [Mrs. White died from injuries in Berkeley, California after being struck by a truck. She had been teaching Chinese in the language War Program at the University of California. More information about Princess Der Ling can be found on Google and Findagrave.com.]