Chinese immigrants and Chinese American citizens traveling in and out of the United States after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 were intensively monitored by the federal government. Nearly all immigrants and travelers from the Chinese Exclusion Act era have case files containing interview transcripts, correspondence, government forms, photographs, and other records about individuals and families.
These Chinese Exclusion Act records are maintained by the National Archives. The Reference Information Paper from the National Archives "Chinese Immigration and the Chinese in the United States" describes these and other records for Chinese immigration research in their holdings nationwide. By knowing what port of entry your ancestor arrived at or traveled through, you will know which branch of the National Archives may have their Chinese Exclusion Act records.
The National Archives at San Francisco offers these Basic Research Steps for Immigration Records for researching case files from the San Francisco and Honolulu district offices of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.