Sunday, August 10, 2014

Immigration Restriction and Genealogy

China Pavilion, Epcot

For the past several years I have pitched a talk to genealogy conferences on "unwanted ancestors" which would provide an introduction to anti-immigration feeling in the United States and how that might have impacted an ancestor's life. As an immigration historian, I know that as a country we have not always been so welcoming to immigrants and the present difficulties are really more of the same. I've always thought such a talk would provide family historians with a greater understanding of the world in which our ancestors lived. This talk has been routinely rejected, although perhaps I'll see a change this year since I have given the talk a new title and a spruced-up outline. 

In the meantime, I am heartened (or disheartened depending upon your viewpoint) by this story from NPR's Code Switch which demonstrates that American anti-immigration laws have had a direct impact on the ability of Chinese-American families to accurately document their family histories. 

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