Meet our Members: Sharon Hinshaw-Payne

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Hi everyone!

It's time to meet another one of our wonderful WikiTreers! This week's member is Sharon Hinshaw-Payne.

Sharon became a Wiki Genealogist in October of 2018.  She is a Data Doctor and also a member of the Notables Project, the Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project, the Ireland Project, and the US Civil War Project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?  

My main focus at this time is on my parental line of Hinshaw, also spelled Henshaw, Henshawe, Hanshaw, Hanshall, Henschall, and Hanchey. (Whew that’s a lot.)  I am also always looking to attach ancestors under Hopkins, Griffith, Proffer and Blaha (my maternal line).

What are some of the locations you are researching?  

Right now I am going through the orphaned list for “Hinshaw”, and 1700’s and 1800’s North Carolina is where most of my Hinshaws come from. I have adopted, sourced, and connected about 400 orphans so far. I also research England, Wales and Ireland, specifically the Ulster area of Northern Ireland, Counties Armagh and Tyrone, and Czechoslovakia/Austria where my maternal grandparents were born. Ireland, Wales, and Czechoslovakia/Austria are a wee bit harder to research, as I do not speak or read the language. I do have a cousin in Slovakia that I correspond with, and sometimes he is happy to help find and decipher a source or certificate.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history? 

When my Dad passed in 1999, I started writing down what I could remember of all the stories he had told us. His grandfather was a Civil War POW at Alton Prison, and that started me on an 11 year quest to find out about his life and where he was buried. I traced him from North Carolina to Indiana to Kentucky to his final resting place in Ravenden Springs, Arkansas. And the genealogy bug bit me hard and it spiraled out of control from there. I have met many wonderful people on my genealogy journey, some related, some not, but all were great.

Who's your favorite ancestor and why?  

I would have to say my gr. grandfather Thomas Bartholomew HinshawHe was a share cropper and tobacco farmer in Sassafras Ridge, Ky; father of 11 children; a Confederate soldier, a private; wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, and again at Chicamauga; was a prisoner of war, twice, once taken to Louisville Ky. then to Alton Prison, and the second time straight to Alton Prison; he was released on a trade for a Union Captain and made to take the oath of allegiance, that resulted in him being branded a traitor and a deserter and cost him his pension; he lost his home and all of his family's possessions in a house fire; and still he kept going. His name was placed on a monument erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1926, at the main gate entrance to Hickman City Cemetery, Hickman, KY., called the Confederate Memorial Gateway.  He was a survivor; he persevered through all that was put in his path. I wish I could have met him face to face.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.  

My brick wall is my 7th gr.grandfather, John Griffith. He was born in Ireland, came to America in 1729 with his daughter, Ruth, and son, Christopher. He settled in Pennsylvania. My line comes down through his daughter Ruth Marshill, wife of Jacob Marshill. I have only assumptions of where he ended up. Not sure on his parentage, or even the exact year of birth or death. Still looking for that needle.

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?  

Hmmmmm, good question. I would have to say Abraham Lincoln. I have read many books on Lincoln, including one on his speeches and papers. I find him to be a fascinating man, both in the political arena as well as his private life.  

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?   

Since retiring from the Postal Service in 2012, I find that I like to putz around in the garden, growing both flowers and veggies; I read – mostly history related and biographies; and I make jewelry.

[interview continues below]

WikiTree profile: Sharon Hinshaw-Payne
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I’ve been on WikiTree since Oct 2018. I started working on my Gedcom and cleaning up my immediate family tree. Currently, I’m spending most of my time on WikiTree adopting orphan Hinshaws and connecting their family lines to the Global Tree. But I do partake in the Clean-a-Thons with the “Cornbread- Catchers”, and I’m a Data Doctor. I am also a member of the Notables Project, the Early Pennsylvania Settlers Project, the Ireland Project, and the US Civil War Project to name a few.

What brought you to WikiTree?

I came to WikiTree because I was looking for a place to expand my personal family tree without having to spend hundreds of dollars “paying” for information that was free somewhere but I could not access it. Plus the sources and links on Ancestry were not reliable. Here, I found the idea of everyone helping expand a world tree was very intriguing. I have added more reliable sources to my tree than ever before.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I love participating in the Connect-a-Thons and the Sourcerers Challenges, and being a Secret Santa was fun.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be? 

There isn’t much I would improve upon other than some of the technical jargon is a little beyond the normal comprehension of us older retired folks. Maybe examples instead of just words?

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?  

WikiTree people are always available to help with Brick Walls, or just answer a question in general. When I find a new source I always post a link to it and I get many “thank yous” from many wonderful people. WikiTree has opened up new avenues on a couple of my dead ends. Everyone is eager to help. The collaboration of numerous individuals has cleared up some questions on a few of my profiles too. You just can’t have too many nuts in the pot!

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Watch the videos and don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions on WikiTree, just lots of good helpful answers.

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