We began 2023 with about forty-eight thousand C.I.9s and we end with almost double. The questions that come up for me are: Is this it? Do we have all the C.I.9s now?
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.
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.
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.
A case study for finding people on the General Register of Chinese Immigration 1885-1949
The Tyee interviews Linda Yip and Catherine Clement on the impact of the Chinese Immigration Act - July 1, 1923.
In this post I look at the follow up to the Chinese Immigration Act and share a startling period in Canadian immigration: the use of X-rays to determine the chronological age of Chinese teenagers and young adults. Put simply, X-rays were used to measure bone formation, called ossification, and by comparing the measurements of bone… Continue reading Order-in-Council PC 2115: When immigration met the X-ray machine
[Updated 6 May 2023] When I was young, I found my father's Chinese Immigration certificate in his desk. I was confused: I knew he was born in Vancouver, BC, Canada, but the document said Department of Immigration and Colonization. Was he an immigrant? Why was he an immigrant? For pity's sake, my grandfather was born… Continue reading Do you have a Chinese Immigration certificate?
In this blog, I explore the finding aids for Chinese Immigration Act Case files at Library and Archives Canada
Ancestry Canada invited me to give a webinar on Chinese genealogy on April 21, 2020 on Facebook Live. For those who may have missed it, or for those who had trouble accessing the site, here you are. I can't think of a better way to kick off Asian Heritage Month. In this webinar, you will… Continue reading Webinar: Exploring Chinese genealogy on Ancestry