In our research, my husband and I discovered that his grandfather, Wong Hoo Chun was the manager of the Fook Wo Tong and Co., herbal and medicine store at 940 Grant Avenue in San Francisco, California from 1901 to at least 1941. For many years , this store also served as a temporary stopover for immigrating Chinese. We would love to hear from anyone who has personal experience with this store.
I have no personal experience, but I would love to hear or read about your research.
¿Do you have a web site or blog with which you have recorded your own findings?
My grandfather was a manager of the Chinese owned National Dollar Store during the first part of the 20th century. Reading the transcripts from the University of California Berkley Bancroft Regional Oral History selection of the daughter of the owner (Joe Shoong) gave me some insight on how my grandfather lived and operated.
Digital technologies mitigate against the necessity of Chinese literacy for initiating your family history research
My grandfather-in-law Lee Jew had ties to Fook Wo upon his 1912 arrival in the U.S. His March 13, 1912 application for an identification card indicates that the card should be sent to "Fook Wo Co., 1261 Grant Ave, S. F., Calif." (Three Angel Island witness statements for Lee Jew, all dated March 6, 1912, indicate that Fook Wo Co. was at 1261 Broadway in San Francisco; that it carried Chinese and Japanese goods, handkerchiefs, tea, curios, and little ornaments; and that it was the business of tea merchant Lee Gee.) I'd be very interested in knowing more about the history of Fook Wo/Wah and its association with early 20th century Chinese immigrants.
When doing foreign language research, in this case, Chinese it's important to see the actual characters. In English spellings, it's possible to have different shops with similar sounding names. In this instance we have Fook Wah (Wo) Tong and Fook Wo which may have been different shops, at several locations, and with different owners...
An example: Chinn, Thomas, "Bridging the Pacific," p.296, the 1876, Bishop Alphabetical List Chinese Business Houses in San Francisco reprinted, there is also a listing for Fook Woo Tong, & Co. general merchandise at 803 Dupont St. SF. ... today, Dupont St. is known as Grant Ave.
again, Chinn, Thomas, "Bridging the Pacific", p.302, the 1931 Business Directory, Fook Wo Tong is located at 940 Grant Ave. SF.
Additional resources for further research : 1) NARA.SF. for Chinese Business Partnership Lists. 2) Sutro Library to look at a copy of the International Chinese Business Directory, 1902 3) San Francisco Public Library. History and Special Collection Dept. (SF Chinese Directories) 4) UC Berkeley. Ethnic Studies Library. 5) UC Berkeley. Bancroft Library.
Since my research at NARA in San Bruno, I have written a book that contains, among other stories, two accounts of my discovieries. The title is MINDPIECES and is available at Amazon.com or from me personally. One of the accounts deals with factual materials about Wong Hoo Chun I have gleaned from the documentation; the other account is a creative non-fiction I wrote about his wife, Ng Shee who was sent back to China.
I have not yet added the transcripts of the interviews in my blog.
I've been reviewing my great grandfather's immigration transcripts and came across your post from 2010. My grandfather Wong Woey To immigrated to the US in 1903 and worked as a bookkeeper at Fook Wo Tong Co in San Francisco until 1914. Your husband's grandfather Wong Hoo Chun is listed in my great grandfather's interrogation transcript as the manager of the store. What a small world!
I am doing research on my grandmother; she was brought to SF in 1904 - reportedly by her uncle, Wong Hoo [Ho] Chuen and according to his interviews in his immigration files he was the manager of the Fook Wo Tong Co. Do you know his village? Her name was Wong Kum Hing. Apparently, my great grandfather was Wong Hoo’s brother.
Last Edit: Oct 3, 2020 12:27:27 GMT -5 by sclee415: Added info & corrected spelling