Canadian Genealogy · Chinese Genealogy · Genealogy How Tos

The startling details of a Chinese Case File, pt. 4 – How to get your ancestor’s file

This is the follow up post to "Chinese Immigration Act Case Files: Finding aids at LAC," written exactly three years ago. In that post, I'd hoped to one day acquire a Canadian Chinese Case file. Now I have seen four and they are everything I'd hoped - and feared - they would be. For my community, simultaneously ignored by some systems while being overdocumented in others, it feels right that we reacquire the information collected about us.

Canadian Genealogy · Canadian laws · Chinese Genealogy · Family history stories

The startling details of a Chinese Case File, pt. 3 – stories & tools for analysis

In this series, I have focused on one Chinese Case file as the source material and applied an intensive analysis to the correspondence. My advice to all those who have acquired one or more Case Files: Go slowly. Take your time processing. Write a story.

Canadian Genealogy · Canadian laws · Chinese Culture · Chinese Genealogy · Family history stories · Stories of WWII

The startling details of a Chinese Case File, pt. 2 – What happened to George’s sons?

When I reflect on this story about George Sing's ten year battle to bring his sons Gee and Get to Saskatchewan set against the backdrop of the Second Sino-Japanese War where twenty million Chinese died, I'm reminded of another sorry tale in Canadian immigration history. A high-level immigration official, when asked how many Jews should be admitted to Canada during the Second World War, said, “None is too many.” This xenophobic quote has been ascribed to Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King and Immigration Director Frederick Blair and is probably neither but shows the attitude at the highest levels of government. Canadian Immigration, helmed by Blair, was deaf to the pleas of Canadians desperate to shelter their relatives living under the threat of war and too many died as a result of his "careful control" of Canada's borders.

Canadian Genealogy · Chinese Genealogy · Family history stories

The startling details of a Chinese Case File – the story of Quon Hing, aka George Sing, pt. 1

I received my first Canadian Chinese Case file this summer. And it's everything I hoped (and feared) it would be. For some time my research into the records of the sixty years of the Chinese Immigration Act (1885-1947) has been hinting at something bigger. And that the currently available bits and pieces refer to an even bigger genealogical treasure in Chinese Case files.

Canadian Genealogy · Chinese Genealogy · Genealogy How Tos

My Chinese family in Vancouver was overlooked by the 1931 Census of Canada -a guest post by Carol F. Lee

Censuses are considered some of the foundational record collections in genealogy. However, as comprehensive as they are, they are not a full picture of who was in the country. Gaps include the people of all underrepresented populations. In this post, guest Carol F. Lee shares her story about looking for – but not finding – her grandfather Quan Gow in the 1931 Canada census.

Canadian Genealogy · Chinese Genealogy

When my house became a museum – celebrating the new Chinese Canadian Museum

I've been working on Chinese Canadian genealogy for almost three decades. It's almost laughable how forgotten our history has been. I think of how I have spent twenty years visiting used bookstores looking for any mention of Chinese Canadian history. The idea that it was possible for one person to collect nearly all significant titles in this genre speaks volumes about its underrepresentation. But no longer. There are entire groups across Canada, the United States, and in Jiangmen, Guangdong, that are devoted to the study of Chinese diasporic history. Our rich stories are being uncovered, our records released.

Canadian Genealogy · Canadian laws · Chinese Genealogy · How To Videos · Womens History

Coffee Chat Series: Canadian voters lists for Asians and other disenfranchised folks

In this post I'd like to talk about navigating a "common record" set - voters lists - when the population was disenfranchised. There's an assumption in genealogy of "common records." Voters Lists fall in this category, along with censuses, vital records, and city directories. Chinese, Japanese, South Asians, and Indigenous were disenfranchised for decades, meaning that entire record sets that would generally be available for others have gaps for these groups. Knowing when this does and does not apply is important work for a genealogist.

Canadian Genealogy

When Canada excluded us: remembering 1 Jul 1923

The Senate has created a website of events. Sign up to get notice of events and / or register your event. Let's make this a year to remember. I wish my father and uncle could see this. I think they'd be proud to see their struggles honoured this way - not a single speech, not with a single day, but a year's worth of events from bottom to top. There are archivists, authors, curators, historians, societies, and speakers all lined up. The aim is to connect this whole wide country together in recognizing the rights and freedoms given to us by our forebears.