April 26, 2023
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, celebrating Asians and Pacific Islanders in America. According to asianpacificheritage.gov, “The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.”
I have a good friend who is a Japanese American, and it has been eye-opening to hear her stories of growing up in Japan, how she came to live here, and the differences and similarities in our cultures. Wanting to know more about Japanese genealogy, I did a research project, and was awed by the culture, long history, and struggles and triumphs of the country. I have appreciated learning how we are different but also how much we are the same. I am glad that we can celebrate our AAPI friends and family this month.
Do you have Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry or know someone who does? Are you wondering where to find more information about those AAPI relatives? Alternatively, maybe you just want to learn more about Asian or Pacific Islander experiences in America. Here are a few websites you might want to explore:
- Densho.org – Denshō offers a collection of oral histories, photographs, name registries, and other historical materials documenting the Japanese American experience, particularly throughout the forced incarceration by the American government during World War II.
- Museum of Chinese in America – Learn more about the Chinese experience in America through their online journal, historical collections, and more.
- Library of Congress Resource Guide – A guide for researching Asian American and Pacific Islander resources
- The Vietnam Center & Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive – A collection of documents, oral histories, and digital materials chronicling the Vietnamese American experience
- FamilySearch.org – Has record collections for many Asian countries and research guides on how to research different countries
MCPL also has some great books and digital resources:
- Asian American Genealogical Sourcebook edited by Paula K. Byers – This is a great resource for understanding how to research Asian American ancestry.
- Asian American Histories of the United States by Catherine Ceniza Choy
- The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee
- Ancestry Library Edition (in-Library use only) – Includes record collections for Japan, Korea, the Philippines, India, and more
- MyHeritage Library Edition – Has collections of Asian records, particularly from the Philippines, India, and Israel
Be on the lookout for upcoming classes and events at the Library this year that focus on Asian and Pacific Islander culture and genealogy. We hope to see you there!
Midwest Genealogy Center