Asian American genealogy is difficult. My experience is mainly with Chinese American genealogy, so I’ll start there. As Chinese Americans immigrated, their names were changed to approximately English phonetics. Or they immigrated under false names, like the paper sons. Or the records were lost in the San Francisco fire, or the Chinese Revolution. Family records were destroyed in the 1950’s as the US government scoured Chinatowns for communist sympathizers.
Asian American genealogy is difficult, but not impossible. For some Chinese Americans, the Canadian government is here to help. The Library and Archives Canada have digitized a good number of immigration records through something they call Ancestor Search. To search for a Chinese Canadian, you can use their special database, aptly called “Immigrants from China, 1885-1949”.
Less genealogical, bust still wonderful is their digital image archive. A search for “Chinese” or “Chinois” brings up pages and pages of picture, like this orpailleur Chinois, vers 1875:
Bilingual equivalent: Chinese man washing gold
Date(s): Vers 1875
Place: Rivière Fraser, C.-B.
Place of creation: No place, unknown, or undetermined
Extent: 1 photograph
Language of material: French
Copy negative PA-125990
Additional name(s): Photographer: Inconnu.
Additional information: Described by the MSTRCAGE project.