Chinese Genealogy

Legacy Tree Webinar: Finding Genealogical Data in the Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files (free)

Trish Hackett Nicola works with the Chinese Exclusion Act Case files at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) office at Seattle WA. Don’t be fooled into thinking, Oh, those are American – they don’t apply to me. If your ancestors were Chinese and were in the USA for any reason – transiting, visiting, vacationing, or working – there may be a Chinese Exclusion Act Case file for them.

For example, see my blog post Aileen’s Chinese Case File in which I explore the Case file of distant relation Aileen, a Canadian Chinese woman who travelled in the USA in the 1920s and 1930s.

If you register before Monday, you’ll be able to catch the presentation, sponsored by Legacy Family Tree Webinars.


Chinese genealogical research is challenging. Even the names are confusing—a person could have two or three distinctly different names during his lifetime, and possibly an Americanized version. This webinar will give a brief history of the act, tell where the files are located, and how to access them. Examples of the rich genealogical information found in the files will be given—interrogations, affidavits, photographs, vital records, and more. The Act was in effect for 61 years—1882 to 1943. There are over 5 million Chinese Americans in the U.S. Many with ancestors who arrived in the United States before 1943 may have someone with a Chinese Exclusion Act case file.


Trish Hackett Nicola, CG®, has been working with the Chinese Exclusion Act files at the National Archives at Seattle as a volunteer for over eighteen years. Although she didn’t intend to, she fell in love with the records almost immediately. Trish enjoys getting a window into the lives of the Chinese immigrants and their families, working with original documents, seeing the photos (especially the kids) and learning the ins and outs of the history of the Act. She has written several articles and given many lectures on the Act. She writes a blog that highlights compelling case files. Trish has been certified since 2000, served on the APG Board of Directors for six years, and as a trustee for the BCG Education Fund. One of her research articles was recently published in National Genealogical Society Quarterly. She is also a history nerd and concentrates on the Pacific Northwest and anything Irish.


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