San Francisco's Ellis Island
Your ancestors who arrived on the West Coast may have been recorded at the "Ellis Island of the West." Here's where to look for them.
Opened in 1910 in the area of San Francisco Bay known as China Cove, Angel Island became the top immigrant receiving station on the West Coast—hence its nickname, "Ellis Island of the West." Its function was to control the flow of Chinese—who were officially "unwelcomed" by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882—into the country. The National Archives has a variety of microfilmed records for the Port of San Francisco, including:
  • Indexes to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Francisco, 1893-1934
  • Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Francisco, 1893-1953
  • Registers of Chinese Laborers Arriving at San Francisco, 1882-1888
  • Lists of Chinese Passengers Arriving at San Francisco, 1888-1914
  • Lists of Chinese Applying for Admission to the United States through the Port of San Francisco, 1903-1947
For information on locating these microfilms, see NARA's Immigrant and Passenger Arrivals catalog.
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