Ancestry, a genealogy company that keeps historical records, has released a new database containing information from the Chinese exclusion era, which banned Chinese people from immigrating to the U.S. and Canada.
The new database: Ancestry digitized half a million records dating back to the mid-1800s, including when former President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 to suspend Chinese immigration for 10 years and limit the rights of those already in America.
The database reportedly includes official records, photographs and immigration case files, according to The Washington Post. Users may also find information about family relationships that could help descendants learn about their ancestors’ experiences.
Liu’s history: According to Ancestry president and CEO Deb Liu, her family was among the people who were restricted from entering the U.S. due to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
“My grandparents were not eligible to immigrate to the U.S.,” Liu said. “As an American of Chinese descent, I am grateful for everything America has meant to my family, but I also know that there was a time when we were blocked from building a life here.”
Her parents were able to move to the U.S. after the exclusion acts were revoked in 1943.
“These records serve as a sobering reminder of the discrimination and inequities faced by Chinese people living in, and immigrating to, the U.S. and Canada during this time,” she said.