San Francisco passenger lists 1893-1953 online
“Passenger lists of vessels and alien manifests arriving at San Francisco, California, 1893-1953 : NARA publication M1410” is available online via the Family Search website.
Why: most often, the way to find any record of alien files or other Chinese immigration case files via NARA or USCIS, the researcher must have a record of entry to the United States, basically a passenger list you can refer to in order to provide dates, places, manner or mode of entry, name of the carrier, and the name used by the ancestor or subject you seek. The quickest and easiest way to seek these are by using Ancestry.com, or your local library, institution, or other subscriber service (such as through NARA or Family History Center computers). The one caveat to finding passenger lists on Ancestry.com is that they often do not include the secondary page of a two-page passenger list, which can provide lots of extra information! If you are curious about the second page, here is what it can contain:
Column 17: the name and complete address of nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came, or if none there, then in country of which citizen or subject.
Column 18: final destination: foreign country or U.S. state and city/town
Column 19: Whether having a ticket to such final destination
Column 20: By whom was passage paid?
Column 21: Whether in possession of $50, and if less, how much?
Column 22: Whether ever in the United States before, and if so, when and where?
Column 23: Whether going to join a relative or friend; state name and complete address, and if relative, exact relationship
Column 24: Purpose of coming to the United States
Column 25: Ever in prison…
Column 26: Whether a polygamist
Column 27: Whether an anarchist
Column 28: Whether you believe in overthrowing the government (paraphrased)
Column 29: Whether coming by offer or solicitation (paraphrased)
Column 30: Whether excluded and deported within one year
Column 31: Whether arrested and deported at any time
Column 32: Condition of health, mental and physical
Column 33: Deformed or crippled…
Column 34: Height
Column 35: Complexion
Column 36: Color of hair, eyes
Column 37: Marks of identification
Soooo, if you are interested in the items above, you will likely want to see the second page of the passenger list you find your subject on. If it is not available on Ancestry.com, use the vessel information to find the corresponding page in the Family Search website — note this is not for the faint of heart! There is no searching by name, just think of it as browsing as you would spin a reel of microfilm, in reverse chronological order. You can get your alien files without a problem without the second page, but it is interesting to see to get a fuller picture of your ancestor at the time of travel.
Check it out here: https://familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://familysearch.org/searchapi/search/collection/1916078