My mother's side is entirely Chinese. They immigrated to Canada in the 1950's from Guangdong province. I only know the Americanized spelling and pronunciation of her family name 'Young' and have not been able to find any records of her or her family members. I have checked immigration lists, telephone directories of the places they lived in, etc. ...Some of the challenge may be because some of them are are still living, but my grandfather passed away in the '80s and I still cannot find any records for him under the names my mother gave me. I do not have access to his passport and she is unwilling to give me any more information.
I've heard that many Chinese people go by multiple names, nicknames, 'milk names', etc.
Obstacles arise when the ancestor's name has been changed, either officially or unofficially, or recorded incorrectly. While such problems are common in genealogy, the challenge is greater for genealogists of Chinese origin. Chinese individuals often used several different names. For example, Chan Toy was a Chinese immigrant who became a leading merchant in early 20th century British Columbia. Many sources refer to him as Chang Toy, although how and when this change occurred is unknown. He may simply have invented the new version of his name himself. Chan Toy is also cited in some sources as Chan Doe Gee, a probable Cantonese romanization. Other forms of his name include Chan Chang-Jin and Chen Chang-Jin. In Mandarin, his name has been romanized as Chen Dao-Zhi. However, he was generally known as Sam Kee.
In a similar vein, the surname of C.D. Hoy, a photographer in the Cariboo area, was actually Chow. It can be very difficult to track an individual through the records when there are many variations on his or her name. http://www.vpl.ca/ccg/Names_Introduction.html
How can I find out if the name my mom calls him is even the same name that he used to register to get into the country?