Brick Wall Case Studies #25: Finding the hometown of a Japanese immigrant to New York

Masazo was known to have come from Japan but there hadn't been a document located that listed his home town. Naturalization papers and passenger lists named his place of origin.

What We Knew

  • Masazo Sato was born in about 1863 in Japan. There was information from the family that he may have come from Yokahama. Other information about his life story was known by the family.
  • Masazo married Della Grace McIntyre in about 1894 in New York City, but no marriage record had been located.
  • Masazo died in 1938 in New York City. His death certificate did not name his parents.
  • Masazo had been located in the census records living in Brooklyn in the 1900 and 1920 census records. Nothing had been located about him previous to 1900.

Records We Located

  • We looked for naturalization papers for Masazo Satow which have recently been indexed on FamilySearch. We located a 1907 declaration of intent for Masazo which listed his birth place as Yokahama, Japan. This verified his place of birth. The declaration also stated that he came in 1887 on a ship called Arripee.
  • We located Masazo listed as M Saito on a ship passenger list in 1887 on a ship called Aurania, birth place in Japan. There was no ship called Arripee in that year, so we assumed that the ship was actually called Aurania and not Arrippee as listed on the naturalization papers.
  • We were not able to locate a marriage record for Masazo to his wife Delia. However, the New York City marriage index is incomplete, so a page by page search through the records themselves could possibly reveal a marriage record for this couple.


Masazo Sato came from Yokohama, Japan. The documents and sources we gathered are found on the person page of Masazo Sato and his family members in the FamilySearch Family Tree, ID G9B6-389.

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