Oral Histories and Interviews

On this site you can view video and read transcripts of interviews of people who have descended from the Chinese laborers who worked on the first transcontinental railroad. The interviews seek to discover as much as possible about the workers as transmitted through family lore. The amount that we can learn is limited and dimmed by time, of course, but at least names, home villages, and other material can be added to our understanding of these workers. We can also learn the dynamic histories of the families who, despite cruel discrimination, struggled and flourished in the United States.

An introductory essay by Connie Young Yu, a descendant of a railroad workers and one of the interviewers, describes how the interviews were conducted and provides more background, photos of artifacts, and interpretation of the experiences of early Chinese immigrants and their families.

Also included are three additional videos: interviews with two historians, Charlie Chin and Philip Choy, and Maxine Hong Kingston reads passages from her book China Men that recount the experiences of her grandfather and other men who worked on the railroad.

 → “History from Descendants: An Introduction to Oral History Interviews” Connie Young Yu

Browse interviews by family. Descendants of the same railroad worker are grouped together. Non-descendant interviews are listed under “Affiliates.”


Bein Yiu Chung Family

Chin Lin Sou Family

Chow Zun Yok Family

Eng Mun Dom Family

Fong See Family

Hom Yi Yoon Family

Hong Lai Wo Family

Jim King Family

Lee Family

Lee Wong Sang Family

Leong Way Fong Family

Leung Family

Lim Lip Hong Family

Lum Ah Chew Family

Mock Family

Mok Chuck Family

Tow Fung Jon Family


All materials on these pages © Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford.