The Hinshaw Family Association is an informal group of people with an interest in the genealogy and history of the Hinshaw/Henshaw family and allied lines. We maintain this web site for the purpose of collecting and disseminating information from Hinshaw researchers everywhere. We encourage you to join.
Click here for more information about us and how to join:
Current members click here for email list instructions:
The Starting Point
You probably will want to begin with our Name Lists. The lists are divided into sections: one covering only Hinshaws and Henshaws; another covers all other related surnames. Each section is further divided alphabetically.
You should also read about our sources and database accuracy:
and our policies regarding privacy issues:
We do ask for something in return: after you have browsed our gene pool, please contribute any corrections or additions!
Click on the initial letter of the surname of the desired individual:
If you already know the database ID number for the desired ancestor, then enter it below to go directly to that ancestor's page:
For the power user, click here to search the database for arbitrary text strings:
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The English Henshaws and Henshalls
The surname Henshaw is found throughout England (and some in Scotland). Henshaw is noted in the Domesday book as "Hofinchel". Other variant spellings found in English records are "Henshawe", "Henshall", and "Hanshaw".
Today Henshaws, Hanshaws, Hinshaws, Henshalls and other variations can be found throughout the U.K., but as a generalization there have been a few notable places in England with a strong Henshaw presence and history:
Several English Henshaws were granted coats of arms. And at least one Henshaw line (the line at the source of many American Henshaws) can be traced back to English nobility and royalty.
Click here for some background information about our English ancestors:
The Irish Hinshaws
Sometime in the mid 1600s, one or more Henshaws migrated from England to what is now Ulster Province, Northern Ireland. Many things changed for them during their 100-or-so year stay in Ireland, They forever severed their ties to their English cousins. Their family name was pronounced differently with a local Irish accent, and so it came to be spelled Hinshaw (at least this is how family folklore tells it). They became converts to the new Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers, which no doubt had a profound impact on their lifestyles and relationships.
Click here for some background information about our Irish ancestors:
Today Henshaws, Hinshaws, Hanshaws, Henshalls and other branches of the family tree can be found throughout the world, most notably the U.K. (of course), Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Australia and South Africa.
There is no single emmigration event that represents the ancestry of all of these family branches - many Henshaw/Hinshaw etc. individuals emmigrated over the past several centuries. But there have been a few notable emmigrations that begat large family branches:
New England Henshaws
About the year 1652, the orphans Joshua and Daniel Henshaw, heirs of William Henshawe (Henshall) of Lancashire, England, were "fraudulently abducted" and sent to New England. They resided in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Click here for the story of Joshua and Daniel:
Although Joshua and Daniel begat a large line of New England Henshaws, they were very likely not the only Henshaws to have settled in colonial New England. Thomas Henshaw of Woburn, Massachusetts is thought to have immigrated to the American colonies about 1670.
Virginia / West Virginia Hanchers and Henshaws
Most all Henshaws and Hanchers of Berkeley County, West Virginia trace their ancestry to a Nicholas Hancher who settled in Virginia in the early/mid 1700s. Nicholas has been often erroneously reported as connected to the Henshaws of New England, but that concept has been discredited. Click here for more on Nicholas:
North Carolina Hinshaws
In 1741, Jacob Hinshaw, with his wife Rebecca Mackey and children, emigrated from Ireland to Pennsylvania.
In 1755, Jacob's brother William emigrated from Ireland to North Carolina, eventually settling near the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting in 1763.
In 1765, Jacob's sons Thomas and Joseph moved to North Carolina to join their family.
Several more Hinshaws emigrated together from Ireland to North Carolina in 1768:
Nova Scotia Henshaws
A large line of Henshaws of Nova Scotia can trace their ancestry back to a Samuel Henshaw & Sarah Elizabeth Morgan. Samuel probably settled in Nova Scotia in the late 1700s.
DNA testing for genealogical analysis is still fairly new, but offers great opportunities for breaking through genealogical brick walls. Darrell Hanshaw started a surname-specific project at FamilyTreeDNA.com for all Hanshaws, Henshaws, Hinshaws et. al. See: The Hinshaw DNA Project for more details. All are encouraged to participate. [Note: FTDNA is a commercial enterprise with which we have no connection whatsoever, however they offer a valuable and interesting service. They do charge a fee for DNA analysis.]
Our Quaker Heritage
Genealogy is far more than simply lists of names and dates. To fully appreciate your family history you should understand what daily life was like for them.
There is already much background information on Quaker life available on the internet, so we will not attempt to duplicate it here. But we do encourage those with Hinshaw ancestry to learn more about your ancestor's beliefs, lifestyle, and Quaker society. Here are some pointers to useful Quaker information on the net:
The English Henshaws settled in New England, eventually spreading to Pennsylvania and Virginia, and from there to all over the United States.
The Irish Hinshaws settled in North Carolina. As the western frontiers opened up these early ancestors became pioneer settlers in states such as Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas, which were "the far west" in the early 1800s. Eventually Hinshaw descendents spread all over the United States and into Canada.
The Hinshaw/Henshaw Orphanage
We have a long list of Hinshaws encountered during our research for whom we cannot identify their parents (and thus we don't know their lineage or relationships to our other Hinshaws). Please help us to identify these lost children so that we can return them to their proper families.
Some of our members need your help. Click here to visit our Queries Page:
If you are planning an upcoming family reunion then so it can be posted as an announcement for you on these pages.
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