Some organizations have records dating back into the 19th century. The records of Chinese associations are private records, and that privacy had to be defended during the anti-Communist period of the mid-1950s.
Chinese societies often kept records of contributions and disbursements for various causes and could be a good source for genealogical research. One such Record of Disbursement and Contributions for Building of a temple for the Young Wo Association (1900) is available on microfilm through the Asian American Studies Department of the University of California at Berkeley at http://ethnicstudies.berkeley.edu/. It lists individual donors by name and village origin.
Many societies and organizations published anniversary volumes or yearbooks. Those printed by village or district societies often include detailed descriptions of the localities. An example from the library of the Hawaii Chinese History center is the 1966 Lung Doo Benevolent Society Diamond Jubilee Edition, which contains a history of the society, a list of the officers from 1900 on, and a detailed map of the lung Doo (subdistrict).
Hawaii Chinese History Center
111 North King Street, Room 410
Honolulu HI 96817