I have always envied white Americans who talked about researching their genealogy as what little of my family’s written records were lost in WWII, but soon, some other Asian Americans will not have that envy. Immigration records for Asian Americans, some dating back more than 100 years, are being made available to the public.
“Just the other day, I had a woman see a photo of her father. She burst into tears in our research room. Just those kinds of visceral reactions make you realize how much this means to our researchers,”
said archivist Marisa Louie.
Asian Americans are so often portrayed as foreigners, but records like these defy that notion, showing that we have a long history in the United States. I guess it shouldn’t seem surprising that the records were originally targeted for destruction or eternal storage in the National Archives limestone cave. An effort lasting through four presidents will make them available at the Federal Records center in San Bruno, California. The first set of records will be released this summer, including records from before 1910, with millions of records to follow in later phases.