An online treasure trove in fond tribute to the family of Albert T. Quon & Lily C.C. Ho
How the Quons Came to the US
I told the story for the Southern California Genealogical Society's 2022 Jamboree conference.
My presentation focuses on Quon Mane, uncle of Albert T. Quon. Albert is not mentioned by name, but is referenced as one of Quon Mane's nephews, and many images of young Albert appear.
Albert's own father died relatively young (in his 40s), but we assume that much of his story parallels that of Quon Mane. They were only about a year apart in age, and the #4 and #5 brothers of their family.
Updated Conference Handout, etc.
Below are the latest companion materials for my SCGS Jamboree presentation, "Acts of Inclusion: How the Quon Family Took Control of Its Story".
The materials are also available here: tinyurl.com/4rerbewy. At this link, you'll also find my browsing log for: “California, Chinese Partnerships and Departures from San Francisco, 1893-1943,” on Family Search.
This should shortcut the process for anybody seeking to browse the Partnership sections image by image, as they are not covered by the automated search feature. (More information in the Updated Handout.)
...and perhaps most importantly of all: here is the story of what happened to Quon Mane's wife who was forced to leave San Diego to go to a village she had never lived in.
1) Updated Handout
2) Presentation References/Slide Notes
3) Presentation Transcript
Join me on August 22!
I'm joining the Genealogy Jamboree FREE Roundtable on Chinese genealogy on Monday, August 22, 1-2pm (PDT).
The full version of "Acts of Inclusion" is part of the recorded library for the Genealogy Jamboree, available to conference participants until October 31.
Handout available here from August 27.
Full presentation blurb:
Acts of Inclusion: How the Quon Family Took Control of Its Story
From 1882 to 1943, in spite of the Exclusion Act, the Quon family of Hoiping built a Southern California retail network selling Asian handicrafts and asserted a right to partake in American society. Using store ads, contemporary images, and other sources, this session will retell the Quon success story and reveal the hidden stories of paper sons and daughters and other lesser known uncles and aunties.
This is my attempt to start to answer some of the questions raised in my March 2021 blog post.
Brothers Between Two Lands
In 2021 I connected with some little known branches of the family, including a UK branch. In sharing information about our ancestral Quon village with them, I started wondering about the larger narrative of how two generations of the family - Albert and his brothers, and Albert's father and uncle - moved back and forth between China and the US for many decades. With our strong US ties, I wondered how or why relatives ended up in the UK.
Family photos also indicate that quite a few cousins and other unidentified young men were also part of the narrative. When you dig into the details, both their mobility and at times immobility can be surprising. And despite a shared China-to-America arc to their lives, their individual stories often ended up quite differently.
So Many Question Marks
Is it pure happenstance that Quon Mane, who we believe was the first Quon in the US, arrived in 1881 or 1882, just before the US Exclusion Act of 1882 went into effect in 1883? Such legislation was restrictive and even punitive, but doesn't seem to have constrained our family's ability to stay in the US or to travel back and forth - or not to the point that any such stories have filtered down to me.
Why did eldest brother Frank, who arrived earliest and who one would assume was most at home in the US, end up moving back East (we know he died in Hong Kong and may have lived in Canton before that)? Is it correct that 3rd brother Nathan only came to the US at a much later age than his older brothers? If so, why?
And how did marriages with women back in the village affect travel patterns? The intervals between the births of children shed some light on the frequency of such visits. Gung Gung's stories, which were attentive to the lives of the ladies, hint at some of the dynamics. Is there significance in the fact that Albert, unlike his brothers, found his own wife in the US?
And what of various "nephews", "cousins" and "employees"... How many were true relatives? Were any paper sons (I haven't heard of any)? What were the family relationships that determined who came to the US and who did not?
What was the larger historical context of US legislation and attitudes, as well as unrest in China? The 2019 book American Exodus: Second Generation Chinese-Americans in China 1901-1949 brings to the light the fact that as many as half of the Chinese born in the US in the early 20th century ended up moving to China because they felt stymied in the US. How much do we really know about the layered Chinese-American identities of those preceded us?
I will endeavor to find out more and update this site in due course!