Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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Chandra, Kanta : So Close But, So Far by Liana Belloni
Year of Arrival 1910

My grandmother Kanta Chandra was born in Delhi, India, in 1896, the oldest daughter and fourth child of six.  After the death of her parents and to avoid being sent to live with a dreadful uncle, five of the children decided to run away to America with what money their father had left them.  The only place they knew in the U.S. was San Francisco because their oldest brother had attended the University of California, Berkeley, a few years earlier.  To save money, they reported younger ages to secure tickets at children fare.  On a summer’s day in June 1910, they boarded a ship in Calcutta not knowing what they would find or where life would take them, just knowing that they wanted to stay together as a family.

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Chong, Gim Suey : Gim Suey Chong: Our Quiet Man by Raymond Douglas Chong with Michael George Chong
Year of Arrival 1932

HOYPING

on
Gim Suey Chong with Grandfather in Hoyping.

Our father, Gim Suey Chong, was our quiet man. He was a 4th generation sojourner to Gold Mountain, America. He and his forefathers were from Yung Lew Gong, Village of the Dragon, in the heart of Hoyping near the magnificent Pearl River Delta of Kwangtung Province of China, southwest of Hong Kong. Gim was born in the 9th gray brick house on the 6th narrow alley on December 26, 1922, Year of the Dog, to father, Moi Chung, and mother, Cun Chuen Wong.  He lived and studied in the poor farm village. Moi Chung was a 3rd generation sojourner who had arrived in San Francisco through Angel Island Immigration Station in 1912 as a student.  In 1923, after Gim’s birth, he left China for Boston. Gin's grandfather, Hoy Lun Chung was a 2nd generation sojourner and also the Village chief. He was an entrepreneur and had gambling hall and opium den in Boston Chinatown. Bein Yiu Chung, his great grandfather, the 1st generation sojourner, was the pioneer at Gold Mountain. In 1865, he arrived in San Francisco to help build the Transcontinental Railroad. Gim lived in the ancient village founded in 1466, with its ancestral hall for school and recreation and its Diaolou, Castle in the Sky, as sentinel. With other boys, he roamed the river glen of rice fields and banana groves at the foot of Mount of the Eight Immortals near Hill of the Flying Swan, ancestral tombs.

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Singh, Hazara : Accountant Turned Farmer by Harjit K. and Hardeep K. Gosal
Year of Arrival 1913

Editor’s Note:  Twenty-one year old Hazara Singh “Janda” arrived at the Angel Island Immigration Station in 1913. He told immigration inspectors that he had worked as an accountant in India and was now coming to the United States to study mechanical engineering at a university in Berkeley. He brought $90 in gold and assured inspectors that his father would be able to support him in his studies. The inspectors were impressed by Singh’s appearance, and he was admitted into the country as a student after nine days in detention on Angel Island.  Some of that time was spent at the hospital “under observation” for trachoma.  Nearly ninety years after Hazara Singh arrived on Angel Island, his great-grandnieces, sisters Harjit K. and Hardeep K. Gosal, researched and wrote the following family history.  They found that while Singh was ultimately successful in getting admitted into the country, his time on Angel Island, and specifically the harsh treatment that immigrants received at the hospital, left a strong impression on him.

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Wong, Shee : Teacher, Mother, Wife by Larisa Proulx
Year of Arrival 1922

On November 16, 1922, Wong Shee, a 33-year-old schoolteacher, mother, and wife, arrived in Hong Kong with her 14-year-old son. Leaving their village in China was the first leg of their journey to be with her husband and his father in America. After about ten days in Hong Kong, the mother and son boarded a ship bound for San Francisco.  Her husband, a businessman who operated a meat market in Chinatown, had an attorney prepare their paperwork and awaited their arrival in America. Ahead of them was a journey that required hopeful determination. This is their immigration story.

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Sue Tin, Susie : Unbound from Tradition - Susie Sue Tin's Adventure from Australia to California via China by Cathy Huang and Sue Pon
Year of Arrival 1923

From the Orient to Oceania

Oh, to be a young woman in the 1920’s, unbound from tradition. This is the story of Susie Sue Tin, unbound, who journeyed from Australia to California to marry, in her own words, “for the adventure.”

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Honigberg, Zelik, Rajzla Matla, and Bronislaw : From Warsaw to San Francisco by Larisa Proulx
Year of Arrival 1941

On May 10th, 1941 the Honigberg Family: Zelik, Rajzla Matla, and Bronislaw, arrived in San Francisco, California and were held at an immigration facility on 801 Silver Avenue. Here they were detained, interrogated, and inspected by U.S. Immigration Officials due to ‘suspicion’ concerning the family’s paid passage to the United States. Immigration officials stated that not only did they need to verify who paid for their steamship tickets to the United States, but that they also needed to verify the family’s ability to sustain themselves financially while residing in the country. The family’s interrogation on Silver Avenue was just one of the many challenges for the Honigberg family in finally obtaining their liberty and safety.

 

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Yep, Ernest : Ernie's Story by As remembered by his children, Marilyn, Rosalyn, Raymond, & Helen on March 12, 2012
Year of Arrival 1926

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Jang, Louise (AhLee) : Louise Lee Jang's Journey from Courtland to China. by Jeffrey Lehman with editing by Eddie, Louise and Randy Jang
Year of Arrival Born in U.S.

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Ang, Mabel Lim : Mabel Lim Ang - In Utero on Angel Island by Kathy Ang
Year of Arrival 1924

In 2009, after Mabel had passed away, our family obtained the Freedom of Information Act A-files on Mabel’s mother Soto Shee. Within those files were details of their immigration experience that were previously unknown to us. It is a story of survival and hope.

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Wong, Myron (Yao Nam) : Through a Child’s Eyes: Myron Wong (Wong Yao Nam) and His Immigration Experience by Erika Alvarez
Year of Arrival 1940

Though many detained in the purgatory of Angel Island remember it with no great fondness, for Myron Wong, it was simply part of a boy’s great adventure. It brought the 10-year-old Wong Yao Nam from the mountainous Chinese province of Guandong across the sea to America to live with a father he had never met. It is an immigrant story that begins with ancestors; is triggered, as so many are, by war; is sprinkled with hardships and hard work; and ultimately ends well, with an old man looking back on a full and happy life.

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Choy, Ben (Buck-tone) : Stories from a Paper Son  by Larisa Proulx
Year of Arrival 1930

Ben Choy (Choy Buck-tone) was born in China, in a little village called Wing Ho Wan in 1917. His father left for Australia soon after he was born.  There he worked as a cook and squandered all his earnings at the gambling table.  Ben remembers seeing his father only twice in his life—in 1927, when his father returned to China for a visit, and in 1963, after his father had retired in Macau.  The decision to bring Ben to America was made by his father in 1930.  “As a thirteen-year-old, I couldn’t refuse,” said Ben.  “When they say, you go, then I go!”

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Ginsberg (Guensberg), Rosa Sara : Looking for Love…or Just a Better Life by Anne Hawkins
Year of Arrival 1940

On March 7, 1940, 18-year-old, Rosa Sara Ginsberg, arrived in San Francisco, California aboard the Asama Maru.  An Austrian Jew, carrying a German passport, Rosa traveled alone to the United States via Shanghai, China where she left behind her parents, Bernhard and Erna Guensberg, as well as her sister and brother-in-law.

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Lee Masters, Margaret : Margaret Lee Masters, M.D. (Lee Jee Jung): From Churches to Pediatrics by Larisa Proulx
Year of Arrival 1900

In the early fall of 1940, sixteen-year-old Lee Jee Jung (Margaret) left war-torn Hong Kong with her seventeen-year-old brother Lee See Jung (Philip) to go to America. Margaret’s father, Rev. Shau Yan Lee, had sent for them.  Eleven years ago, he himself had gone to America to be a Baptist minister to the Chinese in Northern California and later, Mississippi and Texas.  Initially, Margaret’s father did not intend on bringing her to America. However, due to the death of her oldest sister and brother in China from typhoid fever around the time of the Japanese invasion in Canton, and her second oldest sister being no longer a minor, she and her brother were selected to join their father in America.

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