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28 June 2013

Chinese-American Family History Workshop Saturday, July 27, 2013

Paper son Leong Wing Ding,  age 6, Case 3116/7-3, arrived 20 Dec 1930 at Port of San Francisco. Interrogation by immigration inspectors of Wing and his mother and sister lasted three days. His personal case file had forty-four pages of documents, including these photographs.

Saturday, July 27, 2013
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

California Genealogical Society and Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
Oakland, California 94612

Getting Started: Basic Research Techniques and Setting Research Goals

Join researchers Christine DeVillier, Kay Speaks and Doug Joe for a Chinese-American family history research workshop. The class is geared towards those newly beginning their Chinese-American research. No Chinese language skills required.

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Beginning Chinese Genealogy: Basic Training, Doug Joe
Learn the steps you need to start your Chinese family heritage research. Discussion will include: surnames, phonetic spellings, Chinese characters, multiple ancestors' names, the family interview, heirloom archeology, and gravestone inscriptions.

11:10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Beginning Chinese Genealogy: Internet Resources, Christine DeVilliers
This talk will cover both popular and lesser known English and Chinese online resources. A full list of internet resources and tools will be provided.

12:10 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Lunch - Bring your own lunch and join us for informal discussions.

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Passenger Lists: Annotations and Markings, Kay Speaks
Immigration records, known as “passenger arrival” records, provide valuable genealogical information. After April 1, 1924, immigrants in the U.S. who wanted to travel abroad could apply for a reentry permit. These permits required their original port of entry, ship and date of arrival. The immigrant’s provided information was verified against the original passenger list. Verification clerks would annotate the permit request on the original passenger list. Bring copies of your passenger lists if you have any.

2:10 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Open discussion, technique review, hands on research, review. Bring copies of your personal research records for sharing and review as possible research tools. You are welcome to stay later until the library is closed.

Register online.

Please note:
  • Class is limited to twenty participants. Fee for both days, $20.
  • No walk-ins.
  • Priority will be given to first time attendees. (Attendees who attended our previous Chinese-American workshop may be wait-listed.
  • Bring your wireless laptop and copies of your family records. if you would like the instructors to provide feedback.

Christine DeVillier has been practicing genealogical research as an avocation for more than ten years. She is of multiple ethnicities: Chinese, German, Danish, English, Tahitian, and possibly other European ancestry. This background, and her on-going active research into all facets of her ancestry, has presented her with numerous rich opportunities for her to explore the international dimensions of her ancestors. These opportunities have broadened her research skills with a wide range of techniques. Culturally, Christine identifies Chinese-American, having grown up in a bilingual Taishan (Hoisanwah)/English speaking household. Christine’s research into her Chinese ancestry culminated in a visit to both of her Chinese grandparents' villages in China in 2010, during which she learned more family history, and has uncovered even more since.

Kay Speaks, a California native, is first generation Chinese American on her paternal side, Irish on her maternal side. She began her genealogy journey over thirteen years ago while trying to solve a family murder mystery never talked about by her Chinese elders. Through her research, she finally “meets” her Chinese grandfather, a paper son, and discovers he was so much more than the photo that hung on her parent’s wall--his silent stories waiting discovery. Along the way, Speaks’ Leong family great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and other extended family have become part of her genealogical written stories and award winning poetry. Her Chinese adventures includes the serendipity of ancestors found, solving the 1928 murder mystery cited in case law today. Speaks teaches and lectures on genealogy research techniques, methodology and other research topics, writes articles for various society newsletters, co-teaches a software genealogy class, as well as organizes genealogy workshops and seminars for the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society located in the East Bay of San Francisco and for other organizations in the area.

Doug Joe is a second-generation Chinese American “baby boomer” whose elders initially landed in the U.S. at the end of the 19th century. He has been able to trace and document several hundred years of his heritage without Chinese language skills. Doug Joe lives and works in Modesto, California but enjoys helping others worldwide in their search for their Chinese roots. His mantra is, "You can study your Chinese family history without knowing the Chinese language."

Photograph courtesy of Kay Speaks.

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.


kspeaks said...

Did your family migrate from China to the United States? Did you grow up hearing about paper names, Chinese Exclusion, stories about your parents, grandparents, or great grandparents experiences?

Wish you knew how to research your Chinese family history but don't know where to start? This beginners workshop is for you! We will show you how to get started with your research and provide guidance after the workshop for a month or two. Then as a group we'll visit the San Francisco National Archives in San Bruno to help those who have family records located there. During the workshop we will show you how to order records from different resources, provide you informaton to start your research.

Researching your Chinese ancestors' journey as they made a new home in American is an incredible personal experience. If they came during the Chinese Exclusion Era, there may be many amazing surprises waiting to be found in their immigration records.

The type of records that might be available depends on when, where and how they come to America. Are your family stories waiting for you to start this journey? Register for this class--it may be your first step to finding information as we did. If your family enter the U.S. other than through Angel Island/San Francisco, there are resources available for your research.

The photo above is my father's photo, found in his immigration file in the SF Archives--it was waiting for me. What might you find?

Kay Speaks