Sharon Batiste Gillins is a native of Galveston, Texas with paternal ancestral roots in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana and maternal roots in Fort Bend County, Texas. She is a passionate family history researcher who has been actively involved in genealogical research and teaching for more than 25 years. Her professional career spans 40 years in education, retiring as Associate Professor at Riverside Community College, Riverside, California. She frequently delivers lectures and workshops at regional genealogy conferences and national genealogy institutes.
Sharon’s research and teaching focus on African Americans in the 19th Century through the mid-20th century. She emphasizes strategies researchers can use to extract and analyze information from underutilized record sources. Favorite research and lecture topics include the Freedmen’s Bureau, Southern Claims Commission, probate records and Juneteenth history. It is her work with slave-era manuscripts that motivates her desire to encourage more open communication and information exchange between families holding private manuscripts that document the presence of enslavers and/or enslaved people.
A determined gardener, Sharon has learned many lessons from gardening that she applies directly to her work in genealogy.