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California, San Francisco Chinese passenger lists - FamilySearch Historical Records

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California, San Francisco Chinese passenger lists, 1882-1947
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
San Francisco, California, 
United States
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Record Description
Record Type Passenger lists
Record Group RG 85:
Collection years 1882-1947
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National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

This is a collection of passenger lists for Chinese immigrants applying for admission to the United States the years 1882 to 1947. NARA Series M1414 and M1476, Record Group 85. The images are arranged in groups according to the names of the vessels and ports and dates.Some have a few images some have more. On the page titled All Chinese Passengers is the information with the person who is on the ship giving pertinent information such as name, sex, birth, destination and physical description. At the end of that information is a column that gives a line number . Sometimes you will find another image that correlates with htat number, but not usually. Other pages with information found in this collection are Born in the United States, Domiciled Merchants, Excepts and Wives and children .

Image Visibility

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Chinese passengers

  • Name
  • Age
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Occupation
  • Last place of residence
  • Physical description
  • Name of vessel
  • Port of departure and arrival
  • Date of arrival

Born in United States

  • Name of father
  • Name of mother
  • Residence of parents
  • Date of first trip to China
  • Port from which vessel sailed
  • Place of residence in China
  • Names of brothers sisters, or others cognizant of facts
  • Chinese signature

Collection Content

Sample Images

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The age or date and port of arrival or departure

Search the Index

Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

Indexes and transcriptions may not include all the data found in the original records. Look at the actual image of the record, if you can, to verify the information and to find additional information.

I Found the Person I was Looking For, What Now?

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Use the information found in the record to find other records such port records, and ship’s manifests
  • Use the record to learn the place of origin and find vital records such as birth, baptism, and marriage records
  • Use the information found in the record to find land and probate records
  • Use the record to see if other family members may have immigrated with the person you are looking for are listed and have additional information
  • Search census records for additional information on family members
  • Look for the Declaration of Intent soon after the immigrant arrived. Then look for the Naturalization Petition five years later, when the residency requirement would have been met. Look for naturalization records in federal courts, then in state, county, or city courts. An individual may have filed the first and final papers in different courts and sometimes in a different state if the person moved. Immigrants who were younger than 18 when they arrived did not need to file a Declaration of Intent as part of the process

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby town or county
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name
  • Chinese names may have three characters and not written in the order of Western names. Their surnames may be recorded as their given names. Try searching all parts of their names.
  • If a male, he may be known by an alternate name.

Research Helps

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of California.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.