A-Files Release / Tom Lantos Research Center

Marisa Louie - Archivist NARA SF

“May 22, 2012

National Archives at San Francisco Opens Immigration Files and Dedicates Tom Lantos Research Center

San Bruno, CA… Today the National Archives at San Francisco officially opened to the public over 40,000 case files on immigrants to the United States, and dedicated its research room to the late U.S. Representative Tom Lantos who was a leading force in having these files re-designated as records of permanent historical value.”

To read more about the ceremony visit the San Mateo County Genealogy Blog.  

Kay Speaks with Images from Ancestors A-Files

“A rich source of biographical information A-Files may include visas, photographs, affidavits, and correspondence leading up to an alien’s naturalization, permanent residency, or deportation.  Some A-Files contain records consolidated from the older immigration Case file series currently open for public research in San Francisco.”  To read more about the contents of the case files, what files have been released and how to access them visit the NARA website.

The A-Files, Federal immigration case files compiled since 1944, represent over 100 countries of origin.  Those files that will be available at the National Archives San Francisco (San Bruno) come from the San Francisco, Reno, Honolulu and Guam offices of INS.    A few sample documents are shown below.

(All images, descriptions of records, and wording in quotes courtesy of the National Archives at San Francisco)

Antonina Lite Sanchez (A-File 

A014528076)

Antonina Lite Sanchez was born May 8,  1903 in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. In 1928, she married Paulino Sanchez, who later immigrated to Guam and opened a barber shop in Agat, Guam. Antonina remained in the Philippines and worked as a housekeeper. In 1965, Antonina received a visa to join her husband and two sons in Guam. Her Alien Case File includes copies of her birth certificate and baptismal record from her hometown in the Philippines. Antonina Sanchez died in 1994 in Santa Rita, Guam.

  •  Abstract of baptismal record for Antonina Sanchez

Jesus Garcia Perez (A-File A002582772)

Jesus Garcia Perez was born June 17, 1905 in Durango, Mexico. He came to the United States in March 1924 by walking across the border at El Paso, Texas. In 1950, he was living and working in San Francisco, California as a gluemaker for the Consolidated Chemical Industries. He was married and had eight children. His Alien Case File includes his alien identification card from 1927 and his border crossing card from 1950.

Alien Registration Form of Jesus Garcia Perez, October 1940

Ok Nam Shin (A-File A008964764)

Ok Nam Shin, born May 26, 1901 in Pusan, Korea, came to Hawaii in 1920 to work at his father’s grocery store. By 1933 he was married with four children, all born in Hawaii. The family left for Korea and spent five years there caring for Ok Nam Shin’s parents. When Ok Nam Shin attempted to return to the United States in 1938, he was denied entry because his return permit had expired while he was in Korea. With the help of lawyers in Hawaii, he appealed the decision and was granted reprieve. He became a naturalized citizen in September 1962 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Nonquota Immigration Visa of Ok Nam Shin, issued September 27, 1937

Umeyo Kawano (A-File A002579173)

Umeyo Kawano (nee Nakahara) was born March 3, 1889 in Hiroshima, Japan. In 1913, at the age of 24, she came to the United States as the picture bride of Saikichi Kawano, a farmer in Tulare, California. The Kawanos raised a family of three sons and five daughters in Selma, California. They were interned in World War II at Jerome War Relocation Center in southeastern Arkansas, returning to Selma after the war. Umeyo’s son Tom Kawano served in World War II while his family was interned. Umeyo Kawano died in October 1972 in Selma, California.

Photographs of Umeyo Kawano and Saikichi Kawano, 1913

Pasha Semenov (A-File A003778882)

Pasha Semenov (nee Strelkova) was born October 17, 1901 in Tversk, Russia. At the age of 22, on November 1, 1923, she came to the United States through Seattle in search of employment as a dressmaker. She married Anatole Semenov in August 1927 in San Francisco, and they had a son in 1934. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1965, 42 years after her arrival.  She died in 1988 in San Francisco.

  • Visa of Praskovia Strelkova (later Pasha Semenov) issued by American Consulate in Harbin, China, September 1923.

Marie Katherine Weseth (A-File A013683289)

Marie Katherine Guenter Weseth was born in Engers, Germany on April 18, 1903. She, her parents, and seven siblings immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island in May 1906.  They journeyed across the United States and settled at a farm near Tulare, California, where her father became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1912. Because she was a minor when her father naturalized, she received derivative citizenship from him. In 1963, married and then living in Tiburon, California, Marie applied for proof of her citizenship. She received a Certificate of Citizenship from the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

German-language abstract of birth record of Maria Gunter

William Jang (aka Jang Foo) (A-File A004840685)

William Jang, also known as Jang Foo, was born November 15, 1890 in Guangdong Province, China. He came to the United States abroad the SS Coptic on May 3, 1900, to join his older brother and to study English in San Francisco. He was able to stay in the United States as a Chinese merchant, with a share in Sun Chong Company on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. In 1918, Jang Foo brought his wife Young Shee to the United States. They would have eight children. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States – whereby changing his name to William Jang – in October 1959. William Jang died in 1986 in San Francisco.

Visa issued to Chang Woo [Jang Foo], March 14, 1900

Questions?  Want to Set up an appointment to view a file?  Contact AFiles.SanBruno@nara.gov

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Cath Madden Trindle - CSGA Special Projects Chair
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