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 Tracing Immigrant Origins

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* Chinese

Significant Chinese immigration to the United States began with the California gold rush in 1849. This immigration, consisting primarily of Southern Chinese men, continued unabated until the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882. In future years, despite immigration restrictions, significant numbers of Chinese came to the U.S. as a result of war and domestic conflict. This occurred primarily after World War II and the communist revolution of 1949. Today, Chinese-Americans can be found nationwide, although the largest concentrations remain in the West (especially California) and New York.

Contacts and Sources

Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco
750 Kearny Street (Third Floor)
San Francisco, CA 94108
Telephone: (415) 986-1822

Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSS)
650 Commercial Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
Telephone: (415) 391-1188

China Institute in America
125 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10021
Telephone: (212) 744-8181

Web Sites

In Helpful Web Sites, you can find links to useful resources about China.


  • The Extent and Preservation of Genealogical Records in China, by Hsiang-lin Lo (available at most Family History Centers, or can be ordered from the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City)
  • China Connection: Finding Ancestral Roots for Chinese in America, by Jeanie W. Chooey Low
  • Contemporary American Immigrants: Patterns of Filipino, Korean, and Chinese Settlement in the United States, by Luciano Mangiafico

For some tips on researching abroad, see the topic All about international resources.

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