Monday, January 19, 2009

The Early Chinese Canadians, 1858-1947 - New On-line Exhibit at Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada has another new virtual exhibition on-line, The Early Chinese Canadians, 1858-1947. This complements the index, Immigrants from China, already available.

This exhibit includes historical information by author Paul Yee, whose fictional pieces accompany the history, a research guide written by LAC staff, and a gallery of documents and photographs - both published and archival materials, for instance, a signed petition from 1894 from Chinese residents of Victoria, British Columbia to extend the time allowed away from Canada to visit China and a film clip showing a 1918 Chinese funeral procession in Victoria, B.C. But as the exhibit notes, most of these documents are about Chinese Canadians, not by or from Chinese Canadians.

The index is to three sources of immigration information - the General Registers of Chinese Immigration 1885-1949 (often called the Head Tax registers. The Head Tax was an entry fee legislated to control Chinese immigration to Canada). This shows immigrants of Chinese origin arriving in Canada between 1885 and 1949; the Port of New Westminster Register of Chinese Immigration - Chinese immigrant registrations at New Westminster, British Columbia from 1887 -1908; and the Newfoundland Register of Arrivals and Outward Registrations - Chinese entering Newfoundland as immigrants from 1910 - 1949 or leaving from 1906 - 1950.

You can also read an essay by Dr. Henry Yu, from the book, Finding Memories, Tracing Routes: Chinese Canadian Family Stories. His grandfather, Yeung Sing Yew, was among those Chinese immigrants forced to pay the Head Tax.

Visitors to the exhibit are being encouraged to submit comments about their family's experiences and these will be added to the exhibit. Teachers' resources will also be on-line soon.


The Early Chinese Canadians: 1858-1947, Library and Archives Canada:

Finding Memories, Tracing Routes: Chinese Canadian Family Stories by Shirley Chan, Belinda Hung, Roy Mah, Dan Seto, Hayne Wai, Candace Yip, Gail Yip and Ken Yip. Editor. Brandy Liên Worrall. Bilingual Chinese/English edition and an English only edition. (Vancouver, B.C.: Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia, 2006):

If you are researching a Chinese Canadian family, these two Vancouver Public Library's websites will be of help -

Chinese-Canadian Genealogy:

Chinese-Canadians: Profiles from a Community, a wiki:

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