National Archive Center post #1

Paul Hogue

The trip to the National Archive Center, in Washington, D.C., was very informational. My goal was to find documents about early South Asian immigration to the East Coast including marriage records and ship manifest. I was able to discover essential documents from these early 1900’s immigrants from Europe and East Asia that included: marriage records, letters between couples, ship manifest, deportation letters from the government, and letters between immigrants and the Department of Labor discussing citizenship status.  From that research, I came across a letter between the Board of Special Inquiry and Gastano P. Moronan, an immigrant from Goa, Portuguese, East India, translated from Portuguese to English it discusses his reasoning to remain in the United State.

The document reveals the conversation between Mr. Moronan and an inspector from the Department of Labor giving his reasoning of why Mr. Moronan should stay in America. The inspector, a man only listed as Bruno, ask Mr. Moronan standard questions such as; do you have relative in this country, how long have you been in the country, “do you have a seamen book or any discharges with you”[1] (he was able to provide papers confirming that he is a seaman) and do you have proof of papers. Overall, he was asked standard question that would be asked in an immigration court, pertaining to if he is eligible to stay in America.  The document shows in detail the court battles new immigrants had to go through in order to stay, if they were eligible to stay in America.

While looking at these documents, I noticed that they were immigrants that moved from Europe to Ellis Island, Manhattan, and Philadelphia. These documents disclosed reasons why each person wanted to stay in United States. For example, one stated that a man by the name Emile Taggbert, an immigrant from Switzerland, wanted to stay in United States because he was married to an American woman. His wife wrote a letter to the Department of Labor defending him so that he would not be deported; another document showed a letter of deportation from the Secretary of Labor stating that he had the right to appeal his deportation.

Hopefully, on the next trip to the National Archive Center, I can find more primary sources from South Asians immigrating to the East Coast. I will be able to find more material that consists of South Asian ship manifests, marriage records, letters of deportation, or letters to the Secretary of Labor petitioning for them to stay. I believe these are important because it gives an essential understanding of who they are and why they came to the United States. It also gives reasoning to why they left their countries of origin and came to the United States, and if they have any family that already immigrated to the United States previously.

[1] Bruno, Ellis Island, Immigrant Inspector, New York Harbor, N.Y., December 7, 1918, File 54436-253; Court Transcript, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, (National Archives, Washington, DC.)

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