Uncovering and Memorializing the Hidden Stories of Your Family’s Past

BACGG invites you to join us on Tuesday, October 11 at 6:30 p.m. for a Zoom Meeting featuring author and historian Dr. Russell N. Low.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Here is Russell’s description of what he will share with us:
I believe that your family’s stories are much more important and interesting than a laundry list of names and dates. Discovering and recording those stories and making them inspiring to a broad audience is our challenge for those who chronicle the human experience.

We will explore the decades-long research process that led to my uncovering the previously unknown family stories that became the books “Three Coins” and “The All-American Crew.”

Memorializing your family story is essential to preserve what you have spent years uncovering. You can create a book, photo book, documentary, or video. Choosing the right format depends upon your interests and skills. I will discuss how I wrote “Three Coins” and “The All-American Crew.” 

Finally, I will discuss the pros and cons of publishing your work by using traditional publishers vs. self-publishing. In my case, this journey I described in these words took decades to complete. There is no time like the present to begin.image.png

“Zoom Presentation: From Mui Tsai to World War II Heroes – A Multigenerational Tale of Courage, Resilience, & Diversity”, presented by Russell Low

Saturday, July 16, 2022 10:00 a.m. PDT and 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time – on Zoom.

Zoom Presentation:

Join author and historian Russell N. Low in an exploration of the early Chinese American Experience and its effects on Chinese Americans of the Greatest Generation in WWII with ripples that continue to shape our experience today.   

Click  Ripples here to register

Date/time  – Saturday, July 16, 2022 at 10:00 AM PST

                 This presentation will NOT be recorded.  

In a multimedia presentation, Russ Low will share a story that took decades to uncover using long-forgotten letters, old photos, interviews, and historical archives. 

Russell Low is a California-born 4th generation Chinese American physician who is a great-grandson of Hung Lai Wah, a Transcontinental Railroad worker, and Tom Ying, a rescued child slave. Russell’s passion for research, family history, and storytelling come together in recently published novels entitled “Three Coins” and “The All-American Crew.” 

In exploring the Ripples of Three Coins, Russell celebrates the heroism of the Chinese Americans in WWII from a very personal perspective. In 1941, two Chinese American brothers left the Oregon hop fields for the battlefields of the Pacific. One returns home with a Silver Star and the other is missing.  Now, 80 years later, their long-forgotten letters and dusty photographs finally tell their story in the new narrative nonfiction work The All-American Crew: A True Story of a World War II Bomber and the Men Who Flew It.

“Three Coins” immerses us in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1800s. The day-to-day life is set against human trafficking, racial discrimination, Tong warfare, and insidious anti-Chinese laws that threaten their existence in America.  

The unlikely strong protagonist in “Three Coins” is Ah Ying, a nine-year-old girl who comes to Gum San as a mui tsai or child slave in 1880. Ah Ying is horribly abused by her owners but defiantly holds out hope for freedom and love. Life at the Mission Home is good until her rescuers become her captors, and she must flee to be with her Gee Sung.

The estimated 20,000 Chinese Americans who fought for the United States in World War II did not simply appear at the recruiters’ offices. Instead, they were the products of their parents’ and grandparents’ struggles to be American in a country that did not want them and actively excluded them.  “The All-American Crew” presents Ah Ying’s grandsons, Loren and Stan, who enlist in the Army Air Force and go off to the Pacific to fight for their country’s freedom. 

Ripples of Ah Ying’s three Chinese coins helped to define the Greatest Generation for our Chinese American family. Yet, all of the Chinese who fought in WWII are connected to that same past. These men served their country, and some died before the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in December 1943.

Order Books: Russell Low is offering signed copies of “Three Coins” and “The All-American Crew” for a tax-deductible donation to the  

(Click Dr. Russell Low and Carolyn Hesse-Low Nursing Scholarship to donate.

Select “Other” and enter $ for your donation. Fill in the other information and email Russ Low of the donation at threecoins1@yahoo.com and indicate your choice of book(s).) Suggested donation of $20 per book (includes shipping) and credit cards or PayPal are accepted. 

Donations are for students at California State University San Marcos School of Nursing (CSUSM)

Books ordered from Amazon do not include the donation to CSUSM.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~  Watch for Part 2 BACGG event, to be announced soon ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

The Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group will host a presentation by Russell N. Low, where he will share his research experience.  Researching the immigration of Chinese to America in the 1800s requires painstaking patience, diligence, and a healthy dose of good luck. “Three Coins” is the result of 30 years of turning over stones to uncover the unexpected truth about how one Chinese family came to be American.

Researching Your China Lineage – Chan/Chin Surname Case Study

Saturday, June 4, 2022, 11AM start.

Location: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4770 Lincoln Ave, Oakland, CA. Library Meeting Room

To register for this workshop, fill out the following survey: https://forms.gle/2A8JFDPLNRkxdYBE6

This is a special, limited seating, 2022 BACGG Member Only Workshop Event. Workshops are not regular BACGG meetings. They are Special Interest Groups (SIG), held from time to time, doing a deep dive on a very specific subject … in this case, the Chan surname. If your family has Chen, Chan, Chun, Chin, or Tan linage, this workshop is for you.

Moderators. Ron Chan, Executive Director BACGG. John Jue and George Chin, Chan Subject Matter Experts

Chan/Chin Character

Although the Chan/Chin Special Interest Group focuses on the Chan/Chin surname, this session will benefit all surnames. Chan/Chin will be used as a case study to gain an understanding of the methodology to secure, interpret and discover your Chinese ancestral lineage. We will go beyond the simple lines and boxes of a family tree, and discuss, appreciate and apply rich Chinese historical context to our lineage. Guest Moderators are John Jue and George Chin, Chan/Chin genealogical subject matter experts. Ron Chan and Joe Chan will share their genealogical journey tracing their heritage to 2697 BC, and how they created family legacy documents (handout prior to the meeting). This session will be a roundtable format of open Q&A with “mini” presentations from participants. Because of the intimate interactive nature of this meeting, there will be limited seating.

Bring a brown bag lunch.

If you wish to become a BACGG member, go here https://bacgg.org/index.php/due/


Iris Chang Park, 688-694 Epic Way, San Jose, CA

April 23, 20221:00 PM – 3:30 PM

CHCP invites you to visit Iris Chang Park to celebrate Earth Day and to honor Iris Chang. Iris Chang was a Chinese American journalist, author of historical books, and political activist. She is best known for her best-selling 1997 account of the Nanking Massacre, The Rape of Nanking, and in 2003, The Chinese in America: A Narrative History.  The 2.6-acre park near Montague Expressway and Seely Avenue was inaugurated in 2019 to honor Iris. The park’s six installations were very thoughtfully researched and beautifully created to carry on Iris’ messages.

Special guests at the event will be Iris’ parents. Ying Ying Chang, Iris’ mom, will speak briefly about Iris and give us a tour of the park.  Then we will clean and beautify the park to honor Iris, while also celebrating Earth Day, Women’s History Month, and AAPI month. Some yard/landscape maintenance tools will be available, but best if you could bring your own broom, greenery disposal bag, small clippers, sunhat, kneeling pads, gardening gloves, etc.

This is a free event with refreshments served after the clean-up session.

Please RSVP to CHCP Director Brenda Hee Wong at brenda.wong@chcp.org or 408-946-4015.

To learn more about Iris Chang:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_Chang 

National Archives Operations

As local public health metrics allow, research rooms will open on a limited basis and by appointment only. You must have a virtual consultation before the on-site visit. Staff at all locations will continue to respond to emailed requests for records. Further information is in this press release

The Rotunda of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and some Presidential Library museums are open with limited capacity.

Reopenings and operations will rely on local public health metrics. Check the specific facility page for updates. More information about the National Archives’ response to coronavirus can be found at archives.gov/coronavirus.

Print allIn new window[chineseamericanfamilyhistory] National Archives Announces Limited Reopening of Research RoomsInbox

Marisa Louie Lee
6:37 AM (3 hours ago)to chineseamericanfamilyhistory

Hi everyone: Sharing the news about NARA reopening most research rooms starting August 2! I don’t yet have an appointment on the books for our local facility in San Bruno (the National Archives at San Francisco) but I’m looking forward to returning after so many months away. 

———- Forwarded message ———
From: National Archives <public.affairs@nara.gov>
Date: Fri, Jul 16, 2021 at 11:21 AM
Subject: National Archives Announces Limited Reopening of Research Rooms

Media Advisory graphic banner with the National Archives Logo

National Archives Announces Limited Reopening of Research Rooms WASHINGTON, July 16, 2021–The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is starting to resume research room operations. Several locations have already begun pilots to test research room policies and procedures that promote social distancing, while otherwise allowing us to serve records in a secure manner, and starting Monday, August 2, most National Archives research rooms will reopen for research on a limited basis. NARA services will look very different from the services provided prior to COVID-19. Research visits will be by appointment only and will require a virtual consultation prior to the onsite visit. Boxes of records will be pulled in advance and will be waiting at an assigned table. Research appointments will initially be for 4-5 hours total, depending on the location. In addition, we have implemented a number of measures to ensure the safety of our researchers and staff: Requiring that unvaccinated visitors wear face coverings during their visit.

Limiting the number of people in each research room.
Requiring that those who are sick or do not feel well stay home.
Implementing safe social distancing through stanchions, physical barriers, floor markings, one-way paths, and directional guidance. Chairs will be removed and workspaces will be blocked to promote physical distancing between researchers. Following CDC cleaning guidance. In addition, researchers will contribute to sanitizing procedures by cleaning their assigned tables and equipment before and after their research.
Researchers should wash their hands thoroughly before entering and after exiting research rooms and regularly throughout their visit to the facility. Hand sanitizer will be readily available outside of the research rooms. Records quarantine: All record material accessed by a researcher will be quarantined after use for three full days, and the records will not be available to other researchers during the quarantine period.
Contact tracing: If a researcher or NARA employee experiences COVID-19 symptoms while in a NARA research room or later reports symptoms, a diagnosis, or a close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, NARA will use contact information collected during the researcher registration process to notify other researchers of a potential exposure.Please email the relevant facility using the contact information on their facility page to request an appointment. Researchers should check the specific facility page for details and updates, as the situation can change quickly. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to reopen our facilities in a careful and deliberate manner that prioritizes the safety of staff and the public. We look forward to welcoming you back to our research facilities.#  #  # For press information, contact the National Archives Public and Media Communications staff at public.affairs@nara.gov21-50NARA locations nationwide
Our mailing address is:
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC, 20408

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