At this year’s Family History Day a wide variety of speakers shared fascinating stories of the different ethnic groups and nationalities that were detained on Angel Island including: Russians, Koreans, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese and Austrians. We captured these on video so you could enjoy the richness and diversity of the American experiences that began on Angel Island.


Russians on Angel Island
Public Historian Maria Sakovich explores the reasons for leaving, routes taken and sources for genealogical research as she profiles Russians processed through the Immigration Station. Russians comprise the largest non-Asian group to go through the Immigration Station, many of them journeying more than 7,000 miles to get to the US.

A Paper Son’s Journey to Gum Sam
Sam Louie portrays his father, born in 1902, as he tells his immigration story. Louie Senior arrived on Angel Island as a 14-year old paper son, carrying upon his shoulders the weight of the aspirations of his family left behind in China.

I Am Not a Number: Japanese American Nameplates and Family History
Nancy Ukai Russell talks about halting the auction of nameplates and other items made by internees at the Japanese internment camps. Ukai Russell explains what valuable genealogy tools these nameplates are and what was unethical about auctioning off these items made by people who were wrongfully imprisoned.

My Mother’s Journey From Austria to Angel Island
Jeff Klein shares the story of his parents, Rosa Ginsberg and Herbert Klein, who escaped Nazi-led Vienna. Jeff read on our Immigrant Voices Archive the story of his mother who with her family escaped Austria through Shanghai and reached out to us to share the story of his parents.

Reverend David Lee and Korean Immigrants at Angel Island
Grace J. Yoo Talks about engaging younger generations with family histories focusing on Rev. Lee, a hero to Korean immigrants who came through Angel Island and head of the Korean Nationalist Association, key leaders and advocates for the newly arrived Koreans.

The Orpilla Family History
Mel Orpilla recounts his father’s story arriving in the US as an American National from the Philippines in 1926. And while there were no immigration restrictions at the time on Filipinos, there were anti-Asian laws, anti-miscegenation laws, and racism to combat.