Tag Archives: Yee Shee

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.

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Chin King Jin – Kenneth Hazeyama, Japanese boy adopted by Chinese family

Chin King Jin (Kenneth Chin)
“Chin King Jin (Kenneth Chin) affidavit photo,” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin King Jin case file, Seattle, Box 759, 7030/11066.

Chin King Jin, was the adopted son of Chin Ne Toy and his white wife, Gertrude Copeland (Kopelian–Chinese name Dong Shee) of Seattle. He attended Pacific Grammar School. He visited China when he was seven years old and returned when he was 12. He left again when he was 14 and was returning in 1938 at age 21.
During the time he was in the U.S., he made trips to Portland and New York with his father. He gave the following information in his 1938 interrogation: his father was Chin Toy, marriage name Chin Don Koon, and he did not know his birth mother’s name. The file contained a certified copy of Chin King Jin’s birth certificate which said both of his parents were Japanese. His name was listed as Kenneth Hazeyama; his father was Fumio Hazeyama, born in Japan; and his mother was Susie Hazeyama, born in “America.” [Her maiden name was not listed. Chin King Jin did not know he was adopted so this news must have been shocking.]
Chin King Jin married Yee Shee on 17 September 1936 in China. His marriage name was Chin Suey Beow. Their son, Jun King, was born 15 September 1937. Chin King Jin’s wife and son stayed in China and lived in Woy Pon Lee Village. Chin King Jin spoke in See Yip Hoy Ping dialect.
Chin King Jin’s adopted father, Chin Ne Toy, testified that he lived at Yee Chong Company in Seattle and he had an orange ranch in Bakersfield, California. He first saw Chin Kin Jin when he was about six years old. A Japanese acquaintance brought the boy to him and said he needed a home. Chin Ne Toy’s attorney, Mr. Lysons, obtained a birth certificate from the Board of Health for the child saying he was born on 2 November 1916 and drew up a certificate of adoption in the Superior Court in Seattle. The birth certificate lists the midwife for the birth as Tsuya Hirano. The interrogator thought Chin King Jin looked white, not Japanese, and that Chin Ne Toy could not legally adopt the child because his wife was not in the U.S. [There is no further mention of Gertrude/Dong Shee but she is listed as a stepmother on the file reference sheet.]
Chin King Jin and Chin Ne Toy were interrogated several times separately. Many questions about the family village were asked—How many houses in the village? The location of their house; direction it faced? What style? How many stories? The size of tiles on each floor? Where was the open stone court? Who lived in the house? Where is the nearest market?
In spite of many unanswered questions, since the applicant had been admitted to the United States on one previous occasion in 1929 as a U.S. citizen, the inspectors unanimously approved his application and he was admitted to the U.S. as a returning native-born American citizen.