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Source Information

Ancestry.com. California, Chinese Arrival Case Files Index, 1884-1940 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Original data:

This combined index to Chinese immigration arrival investigation case files is the result of work done by The National Archives at San Francisco in San Bruno, Bob Barde, and Judy Yung, with the assistance of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation and other volunteers.

About California, Chinese Arrival Case Files Index, 1884-1940

About This Database

This database consists of an index to Chinese immigrants to America who arrived between 1884 and 1940. The index is the result of work done by The National Archives at San Francisco in San Bruno, Bob Barde, and Judy Yung, with the assistance of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation and other volunteers. It was compiled from information found in the original immigration case files that reside at NARA San Bruno. The following details, when available, are included in the index.


  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Birth Date and Place
  • Arrival Date
  • Ship Name
  • Case Number
  • Box Number

About The Original Case Files

The original case files are part of the below collection held at NARA San Bruno.

    Immigration Arrival Investigation Case Files, 1884-1944. Textual Records. NAI 296445. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787–2004, Record Group 85. The National Archives at San Francisco.

Most archival case files documenting federal immigration investigations through 1944 relate to the enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Acts during the years 1882-1943 and are included in regional National Archives records for Immigration and Naturalization Service district offices and US district and circuit courts. Enforcing a policy of discrimination which excluded immigrants on the basis of race/ethnic/national origins and social/economic class or prevented those persons from returning to the US, the original Chinese Exclusion Act was passed as a temporary measure to restrict "Chinese laborers," but was extended and harshened by later legislation. Most case files cover Chinese immigration, but some National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regions have smaller amounts of archival files that cover immigrants from [other countries as well]... As a whole, the files are sources for documenting the history of Asian immigration to the United States, federal law-related agency policies and activities related to Asian immigration, and Asian American genealogy/family history. "Arrival Case Files" document immigration agency investigations of persons applying to land and reside in the US. While the investigation proceeded, immigrants applying to enter the US at San Francisco were detained in Federal custody- initially on board their ships, during turn-of-century years at a substandard "detention shed," and during the years 1910-40 at the famous Angel Island Immigration Station. The case files contain documents created by agency officials during the investigations such as memoranda, interrogation testimony, and case cross-reference sheets, as well as documents which became part of the case file when submitted as evidence by the immigrants. The latter may include family photographs and marriage certificates. In some instances, there are "village maps" of ancestral home villages. There are also occasional instances in which "confession documents" generated during the early 1960s "correct the record" regarding immigrants who outwitted immigration officials by obtaining residential status under the "assumed identify" of a "paper son," etc.

The above paragraph was taken from the catalog of The National Archives.