City of Two Chinatowns

Hector Martinez, Features Editor

The Kern County Genealogical Society gave a presentation at the Beale Memorial Library, about the genealogy of Chinese people in Bakersfield, called “City of Two Chinatowns” on Aug. 21.

Mary Carroll, vice president of the Kern County Genealogical Society explained, that the event was to talk more about the lives of Chinese people from many centuries ago. She also explained that Gregory Kimm, a pastor at St. Joseph Parish at Cupertino California since 2005, “is also a genealogist with more than 45 years of experience.”

Kimm began by saying that he was happy to show the audience some of the lives of the Chinese people here in Bakersfield.

“The presentation has a genealogical focus and I will primarily be talking about my family throughout the whole presentation,” said Kimm.

Kimm explained that he has been able to preserve his paternal grandfather’s genealogy and his paternal grandmother’s genealogy as well.

“My grandfather’s genealogy goes back to the 7th century B.C.”

Kimm’s first few PowerPoint slides were about Chinese calligraphy, and he explained how some documents of his had been preserved for many years. After that, the next slides were about his maternal grandparents.

“My maternal grandparents were not from the same Chinatown. My grandfather came from what was known as New Chinatown and my grandmother was raised in what was known as Old Chinatown, here in Bakersfield,” explained Kimm.

Kimm also said that his grandmother was the first Chinese Christian in Bakersfield in 1907.

Kathy Walker president of the Kern County Genealogical Society explained that she was happy to have witnessed such an incredible event. She also explained that the person who came up with the whole event was Lynda Finch, who is in charge of the publicity for the KCGS.

“She began counting and enumerating all the different Chinese censuses, and she somehow came in contact with father Kimm, so he could explain to the audience more on Chinese genealogy,” said Walker.

She also said that the KCGS usually has monthly programs just like the one that had occurred that day. Walker informed that this program was one of the biggest ones because it is a topic that had not really been fully explored in a really long time.