Source Information

Ancestry.com. North Dakota and Washington, Chinese Passenger Arrivals and Disposition, 1903-1944 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data:

Immigration and Naturalization Service, Seattle District, Chinese Passenger Arrival and Disposition Volumes, 1903–1944. ARC: 646080, 41 vol. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85. The National Archives at Seattle. Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

About North Dakota and Washington, Chinese Passenger Arrivals and Disposition, 1903-1944

Contained in this database are passenger arrival and disposition lists for Chinese immigrants between the years 1903 and 1944. The primary port of entry was Seattle, Washington; however, some additional entry ports, listed below, are also included in these records. Information that can be found includes surname, vessel name, arrival date, class or citizenship status, and whether the individual was admitted or denied.

Ports of entry in these records:

  • Seattle Washington, 1903–1944
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 1911–1916 (in transit to U.S.)
  • Sumas, Washington, 1903–1909
  • Portal, North Dakota, 1903–1910

Conditions affecting Chinese immigration to the United States during the time period of these records were prefigured by harsh restrictions. The large influx of Chinese immigrants between 1865 and 1882, estimated at 300,000 individuals, created resentment among American workers competing for the same jobs. Most individuals who emigrated from China were young married men drawn to the California Gold Rush and construction on the transcontinental railroad. Although they planned to return home to their families or send for them, an act passed by Congress in 1882 suspended all Chinese immigration for 10 years. Chinese already in the U.S. could stay, travel abroad, and return, but could not be naturalized or bring their family members with them on their return. Exemptions to these regulations were teachers, students, merchants, and travelers who were required to submit a certificate from the Chinese government upon arrival in the U.S.

The Geary Act of 1892 further restricted conditions for Chinese residents and immigrants preventing them from marrying Caucasians or owning land. These restrictions lasted through World War II until China and the United States became allies. While restrictions on Chinese immigration to the U.S. were eased at this time the next large influx of Chinese immigrants did not occur until 1965 when the U.S. expanded immigrant quotas.

Some of the above information was taken from:

  • Loretto Dennis Szucs They Became American: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins,(Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, Inc., 1998).
  • Lowell, Waverly, B. Chinese Immigration and Chinese in the United States,(Washington D.C.: National Archives, 1996).

Information in these records:

  • Vessel name
  • Date of arrival
  • Passenger name
  • Class or citizenship status
  • Residence
  • Whether admitted or denied

Information that may be in this database:

  • Serial or Chinese Exclusion Act Case File number
  • Attorney’s name
  • Date of deportation
  • Certificate of identity numbers and ticket numbers or cross-references to additional Chinese Exclusion Act case file numbers.

For copies of the original files write to:

National Archives at Seattle
6125 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98115-7999

Phone: (206) 336-5115

Fax: (206) 336-5112

Email: seattle.archives@nara.gov

Website: www.archives.gov/seattle