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. A life-long interest in her family's history led to an active involvement in genealogical research over the past 25 years. Ms. Gillins earned a Bachelor’s degree at Howard University and Master’s Degree at the University of the District of Columbia. Her career spans over 40 years in education, retiring as Associate Professor at Riverside Community College. She frequently calls upon her career background as a college educator to present workshops and deliver courses at regional and national genealogy conferences, among them the National Genealogical Society, Federation of Genealogical Societies, International Black Genealogical Summit, and the Creole Family History Conference. She has served as adjunct faculty at Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Birmingham, AL since 2006 and was recently faculty for the Alabama State University Genealogy Colloquium in Montgomery. Ms. Gillins’ research and teaching emphasize strategies that can be used to discover details of Southern life and ancestry in the 19th Century, including the lives of planter slave owners, enslaved people and free people of color in underutilized sources. Favorite record groups and teaching topics include Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office records, Southern Claims Commission records, conveyance records, and records of incarceration.
At present, Ms. Gillins is a Research Associate at the Mary Moody Northen Endowment in Galveston, Texas where she is responsible for the Moody family and business archive of manuscripts and photographs that date to the early 1800s. She is also a consultant in the placement of historically-significant hidden family manuscripts with appropriate library special collections for preservation, conservation and researcher access.