Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Case Files of Chinese Immigrants (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Case Files of Chinese Immigrants, 1900-1923 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
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Record Description
Record Group RG 85: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service
Collection years 1900-1923
Microfilm Publication M1144. Case Files of Chinese Immigrants, 1895-1920, from District No. 4 (Philadelphia) of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
National Archives Identifier 4497864
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in the Collection?

This collection includes case files for Chinese immigrants arriving through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the years 1900 to 1923. This collection corresponds to NARA publication M1144: Case Files of Chinese Immigrants, 1895-1920, from District No. 4 (Philadelphia) of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

A detailed Romanized surname index is provided in alphabetical order on pages 8-96 (image #13-101) with corresponding case numbers listed. A separate index of ship names is on pages 97-117 (image #102-122). A table of the 51 rolls of microfilm included in this collection is also given with corresponding case numbers contained in each roll listed on pages 118-119 (image #123-124).

The files are part of the records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group (RG) 85, and are housed in the Federal Archives and Records Center, Philadelphia, Pa. 

These case files were prepared by the staff of the regional office to enforce the various Chinese exclusion acts passed by Congress during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The information was supplied by the immigrant or a traveling companion (usually a family member). Incorrect information was occasionally given, or mistakes may have been made when the clerk guessed at the spelling of foreign names.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia - Case Files of Chinese Immigrants, 1900-1923.

Collection Content

Sample Images

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Records usually include the following information:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Birthplace
  • Name of ship
  • Date of arrival

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • Name of your ancestor
  • Identifying information such as the approximate date of immigration

If you do not know this information, check the census records after 1900.


View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Index Type" category which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

Be aware that when you select an image to view, sometimes the manifest includes more than one page, and when you use the "click to enlarge manifest" link, the image that appears is not always the first page of the record. You may need to click on the "previous" or "next" links to view the remaining pages of the full manifest.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

Use passenger lists to:

  • Learn an immigrant’s place of origin
  • Confirm their date of arrival
  • Learn foreign and “Americanized” names
  • Find records in his or her country of origin such as emigrations, port records, or ship’s manifests.
  • If your ancestor had a common name, be sure to look at all the entries for a name before you decide which is correct.
  • Continue to search the passenger lists to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who may have immigrated at the same time.
  • If your ancestor has an uncommon surname, you may want to obtain the passenger list of every person who shares your ancestor’s surname if they lived in the same county or nearby. You may not know how or if they are related, but the information could lead you to more information about your own ancestors.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes of other port cities.


Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.  

Collection Citation:

"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Case Files of Chinese Immigrants, 1900-1923" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1144. Washington D.C.: National Archives, n.d.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia - Case Files of Chinese Immigrants, 1900-1923.


How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.