Did your ancestors immigrate to America? Are you interested in learning how to research their journey and find out more about family history?
This Saturday at 10 a.m., Claire Kluskens discusses immigration (passenger arrival) records for our ongoing “beyond the basics” archival research skills lecture series.
It’s free at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
(Image: Photograph of Lee Wai Shee and Children, ca. 1913, ARC 594998)
American historian Erika Lee found her Chinese grandmother’s file while doing research at the National Archives in San Bruno, California.
When 27-year-old Wong Lan Fong and her new husband, Yee Shew Ning, traveled to the United States, they were aware of anti-Chinese prejudices. They took measures to emphasize their respectability and economic status. They delayed their departure for the United States until they had enough money to travel in first class. They also submitted a letter from the clergyman who performed their wedding ceremony, attesting to their good character.
Immigration officials seized further evidence when they confiscated the couple’s wedding photograph as proof of their marriage. The couple’s strategy worked. They were detained on Angel Island only one day before being allowed to land.
Some 70 years later, their granddaughter, American historian Erika Lee, was conducting research for her book on Chinese immigration at the National Archives in San Bruno, California, when she discovered her grandparents’ wedding photograph in her grandmother’s immigration file. Since the photo was not returned and her grandparents could not make a copy, she had never seen it before.
Our “Attachments” exhibit closes September 4, so catch it while you can (http://www.archives.gov/nae/visit/gallery.html)!
Today’s Facial Hair Friday featured man is Francesco Zaccaro, who was deported in 1907. His paperwork describes him as having “small, thin lips, medium chesnut mustache.”
He arrived from Italy on the SS Hamburg on February 17, 1907, and was headed to his mother-in-law’s house in New York City. However, he was deported and back on the SS Hamburg just 3 days later. He was excluded due to his crime of moral turpitude: He had served eight days in prison for “applying vile names to a woman.”
Read the full story on “Facial Hair Friday: Mustaches and Moral Turpitude.”
Zaccaro’s paperwork and photograph is currently on display at the National Archives in the "Attachments" exhibit.
Erika Lee’s grandfather saved his wages for an entire year to bring his wife (Ms. Lee’s grandmother) to the United States.
"Chinese immigrants really looked to the United States. They called it Gum Saan, or Gold Mountain,” Lee said. “The United States was seen as the place where you could make your dreams come true.”
Come see the exhibit soon—it closes on September 4!
Today at noon, Grace Delgado examines the Chinese diaspora in the U.S.–Mexico borderlands and looks at immigration, nationalism, and racism during the late 19th and early 20th century through the experiences of Chinese migrants in this region, against the backdrop of national unrest in Mexico and the era of exclusionary immigration policies in the United States. A book signing will follow the program.
"Making the Chinese Mexican: Global Migration, Localism, and Exclusion in the U.S.–Mexico Borderlands" is today at noon in the McGowan Theater in the National Archives in Washington, DC. Enter in through the "Special Events" entrance.
Image: Photograph of Chun Jan Yut with His Father Chun Duck Chin, 1899
On Friday, June 15 at noon, curator Bruce Bustard discusses the stories featured in “Attachments: Faces and Stories from America’s Gates,” a new exhibition opening to the public on June 15.
Historian Erika Lee, co-author of Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America, will also discuss her grandparents’ experience immigrating through Angel Island. A book signing will follow the program.
Join us in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives for "Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America." Enter through the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue.
Our new exhibit opens June 15! Attachments: Faces and Stories from America’s Gates draws from the millions of immigration case files in the National Archives to tell a few of these stories from the 1880s through World War II.
Come and explore the attachment of immigrants to family and community, and the attachment of government organizations to laws that reflected certain beliefs about immigrants and citizenship. There are dramatic tales of joy and disappointment, opportunity and discrimination, deceit and honesty.
"Attachments" will be on view through September 4 in the National Archives. Admission is free!
Just 22 days left until the release of the 1940 Census!
Although shown as president on June 1, 1850, Taylor had been dead eight weeks when he was listed as President on the census on August 31.
How is this possible? The census was taken on August 31, 1850. But the enumerator was asking was for “the name of every Person whose usual place of abode on the first of June, 1850, was in this family.”
As of June 1, 1850, Zachary Taylor was still alive. He would not be taken ill until July 4, and he would die just 5 days later.
(Take a look at the column that lists place of birth for this 1850 census page. The 42 people listed on this page come from Virginia, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Massachusetts, as well as Germany, Ireland, Mexico, and England.)