Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

 

IMMIGRANT VOICES

 

Learn How to Create your Story
Stories by Immigrant's Last Name

        
Sort stories by 


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.

Read More

 

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.

Read More

 

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!”

Read More

   

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.

Read More

 

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.

Read More

   

Tom, William : From a young boy from Hoi Ping, Guangdong, China to a successful optometrist in Los Angeles, CA by Steve Kwok
Year of Arrival 1937

The following was written by Steve Kwok based on an interview by Roy Chan with William Tom in Monterey Park California on March 15, 2012.

Read More

 

Yee, Tet Ming : Activist, Entrepreneur by Lia Dun
Year of Arrival 1932

After arriving at Angel Island on September 6, 1932, Yee Tet Ming (the true son of a Chinese merchant) was almost deported back to China for fraudulent entry when certain answers that he gave during the immigration interrogation did not match those of his father and brother.  As a result, he had to spend six months locked up on Angel Island while his attorney appealed his case to the higher authorities.  The experience would mark him forever.  After he was admitted into the country, he devoted much of his life to fighting racial discrimination, labor organizing, and helping to build a stronger China.  His work served to better the lives of Chinese Americans both during his time and for future generations.

Read More

   

Rubin, Jakob and Ernestine : Riding the Trans Siberian Railroad to Angel Island by Lia Dun
Year of Arrival 1940

Jakob Rubin and his wife Ernestine arrived at Angel Island from Vienna, Germany on August 28, 1940.  Jakob and Ernestine were both Jewish, and although neither directly stated their reason for leaving Germany, it can be assumed they were trying to escape the mounting persecution against Jewish people in the years directly preceding World War II.  In Vienna, Jakob worked as an office clerk buying and selling men’s clothes in a department store; however, according to his interrogation records, he “was forced to leave that business.”  His response hints at actions of Hitler’s early regime that forced Germany’s Jewish population out of employment (Krystallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, in which over 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed in Germany and parts of Austria, had occurred just two years prior).  Jakob also mentioned not being able to contact his brother in France for five months “Because it was impossible to get anything” and that his other brother in Vienna was no longer operating his business for similar reasons—“because it is impossible”—again suggesting the presence of the Nazi regime.  According to an account by Jakob’s brother-in-law Alfred Marill, at the time Marill Rubin left the country (Jakob mentioned in this interrogation report that his sister Klara and her husband Alfred came to the US with him and Ernestine on the same ship), 25,000 out of Vienna’s 30,000 Jewish residents were “fed by the community.”

Read More

 

Pera, Philipos : Locked Out by the Quota Law: The Case of Philipos Pera, Assyrian Refugee by Judy Yung
Year of Arrival 1922

World War I and religious persecution wrecked havoc in the pastoral life of Christian Assyrians in Persia and the Ottoman Empire.  Their participation in the war, fighting on the Allied side with the Russians and the British, left them vulnerable to massacres by Turks, Kurds, and Persians of the Moslem faith.  By the end of the war, nearly 100,000 Assyrians, along with tens of thousands of Armenians, had been slaughtered, their homes looted, their lands destroyed, and their women carried away.  Approximately 10,000 Assyrians found shelter in Russian Transcaucasia while many others escaped to Europe, Australia, and the Americas.  Over 600 men, women, and children sought refuge in the United States, 200 arriving in San Francisco on Japanese ships from Yokohama between 1918 and 1922. Among them was 16-year-old Philipos Pera.

Read More

   

Hernandez de Policarpo, Reyna : A Journey to Los Angeles for a Better Future by Victoria Gurrola
Year of Arrival 1989

The United States has served as a beacon of hope for immigrants for centuries.  Immigrant populations vary by state and city location. Current political debate has brought attention to high immigration rates to the United States from Mexico, backed by Conservative attacks on illegal immigration specifically.  Like many immigrants to America, Mexican immigrant hopefuls saw, and still see, America as a land of opportunity.

Read More

 

Frank, Lotte Loebl : From Vienna to Angel Island by Reese Erlich
Year of Arrival 1940

For many years Lotte Loebl Frank didn’t want to talk about her ordeal. The memories were too painful. She and her family had escaped occupied Europe in 1940 along with a few hundred other Jews who crossed the USSR, China and Japan - ultimately arriving at Angel Island.

Read More

   

Fong, Jimmy Mee Ning : Angel Island Story by Madeleine Fong
Year of Arrival 1936

Jimmy Ning Fong (aka Fong Mee Ning) of Sacramento, California thinks his Angel Island experience did not have much of an effect on him.  He can recall it well and likes to start with the day he first left his home in China. 

Read More

 

Lee, Charlie : A Family Profile of the Charlie Lee and Mary Sullivan Family by Marilyn Lee McConnell
Year of Arrival 1911

My name is Marilyn Lee McConnell, and I am a member of the Ng family.  I grew up in Oakland, California, not knowing that I belonged to the Ng/Eng family. Why was that?

Read More

   

Page 4 of 9

Join our e-news list