Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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Quock, Jim (Wah Bo) : My Father Was a Paper Son by Steve Kwok
Year of Arrival 1929

From 1882 until December 1943, immigration restrictions, namely the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, made it nearly impossible for Chinese to immigrate to the United States.  It was the only law in American history to deny citizenship or entry into the United States based upon a specific nationality.  Only merchants, diplomats and sons of citizens were allowed into the U.S.  During the 1920’s 30’s and 40’s many immigrants from China arrived in the United States with purchased citizenships.  Those who utilized this method to enter the U.S. were known as “paper sons.”

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Wong, Moon Tung : Eat More Potatoes and Go Back to China: The Life of Moon Tung Wong by Edward Wong
Year of Arrival 1929

As a child, I was often confused about the three different names associated with my father.  First, there was Fook Gooy Wong, the name on his citizenship papers.  Then there was Frank Wong or Frankie as he was known to the customers at the laundry he and my mother, Siu Fong Yu Wong, ran for 40 years in Hollywood, CA.  And finally, there was Wong Moon Tung, a name only used by his friends and cronies from Bak Hang Toon, his birth village.

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Lee, Bak Huen : Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station by Lia Chang
Year of Arrival 1937

In recognition of my grandmother’s 90th birthday, I am sharing this article I wrote about her experience of being detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station, which appeared online in the September 19, 2000 edition of A. Media, Inc.

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Fong, Gain : The Story of Gain Fong by Cindy Sue
Year of Arrival 1917

Granddaughter Cindy Sue describes the life of Gain Fong, who emigrated from Canton at age 15 in 1917.  Like many immigrants, Mr. Gong began his stay in the U.S. as a laborer and eventually saved enough money to start a grocery business in Castro Valley, California. His legacy endures through the values of hard work, sacrifice, and education that he instilled in his children and grandchildren.

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Siegried, Unger : A Summary of His Immigration File by Greg Anglemyer
Year of Arrival 1940

 

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Felipe, Eliseo : Angel Island Profile: Eliseo Felipe by Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation
Year of Arrival 1933

Eliseo Felipe, a 100 year-old retired serviceman, shares his journey to the United States and his pride in becoming an American.

At the age of seven, Eliseo learned to work on the fields to support his family in the Philippines. He immigrated to the United States in 1933 where he met his brother and uncles who worked on the farms in Salinas, California.

Over the years Eliseo held many jobs across California, working as a farmer, bellman, and eventually a serviceman for the United States Army.

Currently, Eliseo is retired and tends to his garden at his house in Salinas, CA. He recently celebrated his 100th Birthday with his wife, four children, and grandchildren.

This film was Produced by Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation.

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Gee, Wong Quock : Life in America by his grandson David Gee
Year of Arrival 1915

After immigrating to the U.S. in 1915 at age 11, Wong Quock Gee settled in Montgomery, Alabama where he owned a laundry and restaurant.  His grandson describes the hardships of Mr. Gee’s life.

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Gong, Edna Ow : From Picture Bride to American Housewife – A daughter’s remembrance by Linda Gong
Year of Arrival 1940

After arriving at Angel Island in 1940 from China, Edna Ow married Tom Gong and settled in California’s Central Valley and worked with her husband in the chicken ranching and grocery business.  Linda Gong, the youngest of four children, paints a loving portrait of a generous and hardworking woman, her mother.

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Der, Gwing : Memories of Centenarian Gwing Der (aka Der Nea Yick & Nelson Der) by Nancy F. Fong, Dorothy Fong, and Sandra Tye
Year of Arrival 1926

The following narrative was culled from previous interviews conducted with Mr. Der (including two interviews by UC Davis Pacific Regional Humanities Center’s Phong Chau in November 2004, and Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation’s Executive Director Eddie Wong in June 2010).

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Gong., Tom L : Life in America by Linda Gong
Year of Arrival 1936

Like many Chinese immigrants, Tom L. Gong arrived at Angel Island in 1936 as a “paper son.”  He came as Kong Leung Quong, a 14 year old boy, but he was actually 16 years old.  After a long life of work, he settled in Watsonville with his wife Edna, raised a family, and became a community leader actively involved in the Fah Yuen Association and the Sam Yick Association.

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Schwarz, Robert : The story of Robert Schwarz, a bank clerk from Vienna by Yulia B. Bartow
Year of Arrival 1940

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Inaba, Toshiko : Banned from America for Marrying an Alien Ineligible to Citizenship: The Case of Toshiko Inaba by Judy Yung
Year of Arrival 1928

On September 3, 1928, twenty-year-old Toshiko Inaba arrived in San Francisco with her eighteen-year-old brother Akira.  Both were kibeis (born in the U.S. but educated in Japan) who held birth certificates proving their right to return to the U.S.  However, while Akira was readily admitted, Toshiko was denied admission on the grounds that she had lost her U.S. citizenship by marrying Tatorao Yamamoto, an “alien ineligible to citizenship,” while in Japan.  It didn’t matter that the marriage had been annulled within a few months and that she had never lived with him as man and wife.  She would spend the next sixteen months on Angel Island, waiting for the results of her appeal to the Secretary of Labor in Washington, D.C., the U.S. District Court, and finally, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  A victim of racist and sexist immigration and nationality laws, Toshiko Inaba was deported back to Japan on January 15, 1930.  

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Horn, Fong : From China to the Keystone State by Jennie A. Horn
Year of Arrival 1922

Daughter Jennie Horn provides a vivid description of her father’s interrogation and detention on Angel Island. Her article transports the reader back to 1922 when two paper brothers boarded the S.S.Nanking in Hong Kong and set off on a journey that would end in Pennsylvania.

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