Shinn Collective

Welcome to the Shinn Collective!

Welcome!  Included on this website are some of the branches of my family tree, specifically the Shinn, Healey, Berger, and Wellons branches. All people included on this site are deceased. All living family members of mine will not appear on this site, their information is private and if you write to me requesting any info on living people in my tree, your request will be ignored. All images (except stuff I found online like at Ancestry: i. e. draft cards, census returns, etc.) on here belong to me, please do not take my images. If you want a copy of an image on here, e-mail me and I will happily send you a copy. I have sources for and have checked and double-checked all the information on here (where possible), so I am fairly sure of the accuracy of the information presented. That being said, if you do see any errors or have any additions, e-mail me and I will amend the information. Speaking of additions, the key word in the title of my site is Collective, which means that I will be more than happy to put up pictures, information, etc. that you send me as long as it connects with either my Shinn, Healey, Berger or Wellons family in some way (the exception to this would be living people. Please don't send me any info or pictures which include living people!). All that being said, I do hope you enjoy my site and come back again soon!

An explanation concerning my lines: The surnames listed below are my maternal lines. While there are many surnames on this side of my family, the main four are listed below and the main ancestor for each are as follows: Elmer John Shinn Sr., his wife, Gladys Viola Healey, Rev. Gideon Gottlieb Berger and his wife, Georgiana Wellons. While my ancestors came from all over the world, they all ended up in California at some point for some duration and that is the geographical emphasis of this site. My Healey family lived in the San Francisco area for over a generation, while my Shinn family came to the San Joaquin area in the 1850's in a covered wagon. My Berger family came to the Alameda/Oakland area in the 1890's and my Wellons family left one homestead in Colorado for another in the Siskiyou/ Mt. Shasta region in the 1880's. So, if you have stumbled across this site and think we might have a shared relative due to the surnames, the chances of this being the case will go up if you're from California or had relatives from here.

                                                                                                                        - Leah


Switzerland: vonAllmen, Steiner

Denmark: Nielsen, Petersen (via Schleswig-Holstein)

Germany: Berger, Matz

UK: Shinn, Healey (orig. Haley), Wellons, Tock, Mott, Scott, Webb, Hudson, Mason, Wadd

Ireland: Doyle

Index of Surnames Main Surnames

Searchable Index of Allied Surnames

Searchable Index of Related Surnames
Allied surnames are surnames of people I am not related to but married into my family. Related surnames are surnames of people I am related to and of people that married in to either the Shinn, Healey, Berger or Wellons branches of my family.





Locations Documents

San Joaquin, CA

Siskiyou, CA

San Francisco, CA

Alameda, CA

More to Come
Links to maps and other pieces of information to various places where my ancestors established roots.  Please Note:  Since my ancestors and their families came from ALL over, I've decided to just do location histories for places where four or more generations of my family lived.

 J. R. Shinn Journal

More coming soon!

Special Projects Tombstone Project

I have done more work on some surnames than others and have more resources on some surnames than others.  This is the place where you can find the additional info that isn't in the surname indexes. This is the place where you would come to 'dig deeper' with these names and others to be added soon.

Family Tombstones

Pictures of tombstones of various branches of my family.  Most are from California cemeteries.

Photo Album Forums

Photo Album- Coming Soon!
While most photos are interspersed throughout the various pages, there wasn't room for all of them in the mix, so additional photos can be found here.

NOTE: All my photos are watermarked to protect them from internet pirates. Do not take any of my images, just ask and ye shall receive!

Shinn Message Board
Healy Message Board
Healey Message Board
Haley Message Board
Barger Message Board
Berger Message Board
Wellons Message Board
Jackman Message Board
New Hampshire Message Boards
California Message Boards
Indiana Message Boards
Illinois Message Boards
Kentucky Message Boards
Virginia Message Boards
Canada-Nova Scotia Message Board
Massachusettes Message Boards
New Jersey Message Boards
California Cemetery Message Boards

Shinn GenForum
Haley GenForum
Wellons GenForum
Berger GenForum
Jackman GenForum

Boards I Admin:
Tock Message Board
Nielsen Message Board
Croad Message Board
vonAllmen Message Board
Haley Message Board

Surname Meanings External Links

Shinn: English: metonymic occupational name for a Skinner, from Old English scinn, Middle English shin ‘hide’, ‘pelt’. In Middle English this word was replaced by the Norse equivalent, skinn.

Haley: English (chiefly West Yorkshire): habitational name from any of several places named with Old English heg ‘hay’ + leah ‘wood’, ‘clearing’.

  1. German, Dutch, Swedish, and Jewish (Ashkenazic): topographic name for someone who lived in the mountains or hills (see Berg). As a Jewish name it is mainly ornamental. It is found as a surname throughout central and eastern Europe, either as a surname of German origin or as a German translation of a topographic name with similar meaning, for example Slovenian Gricar, Hribar, Gorjan or Gorjanc.
  2. Norwegian: habitational name from any of various farms so named with the plural of Berg ‘mountain’.
  3. French: occupational name for a shepherd, from Old French bergier (Late Latin berbicarius, from berbex ‘ram’).

Or Barger:

  1. Dutch and North German: variant of standard German Berger.
  2. Variant of French Berger.

Wellons: Family legend says that it is an altered form of the Llewelyn surname.

Llewellyn: Welsh: from the Welsh personal name Llywelyn (anciently Lugobelinos), probably derived from the element llyw ‘leader’, although the exact formation is unclear. This was the name of two princes of North Wales who held the Normans at bay for many years in the 13th century. Etymologically speaking, the form with a fourth -l- is an error, not found as an original Welsh name, but this is now much the most common spelling in the U.S.

 More Surname Etymologies!

Merrill: The Merrill family married into the Jackman family (who connect to our Shinn family)in several places but our specific line is through Sarah Merrill (b. 1677, dau. of Daniel and Sarah Clough Merrill) who married William Morse (b. 1674).

Shinn: While this is not a close branch of our Shinn family, the site has lots of wonderful info including a fascinating etymology of the surname.

vonAllmen: Susanna vonAllmen is a Berger ancestor.  Her uncle, Jakob vonAllmen, is the line this site traces.  Offers lots of wonderful information on the surname and pictures as well as some geographical info on this unique Swiss name.

Egburson: This is our one and only (possible) Dutch connection.  Barbary Ebgurson married Joseph Rose in 1766 and their daughter married a Mott which connects to our Healey family.  This is a wonderful, very thorough database on the family and all of its spelling variations.

Trinity Church: This connects with the Rose/Egburson/Mott link above.  This church, a landmark in New York, has a thorough database of parish records which happen to include many of our Motts and Roses among others.

Siskiyou Cemetery Central:  Don't let the name fool you, this site has lots of vital records and Siskiyou history as well and is a must stop for anyone researching family in the area (also includes info for the defunct Klamath co.).  This site connects to our Wellons family who were early residents of Siskiyou and Klamath, eventually settling in Yreka.

Siskiyou History:  Another wonderful site for anyone researching the area.

1895 Atlas:  Never mind this being a great genealogy tool, this site is just plain fun to look at!  I could spend hours pouring over all the old maps and have actually bookmarked this site because I enjoy visiting it so much.  a wonderful, thorough, database of given names.  Well worth checking out!


Veterans Affairs


Honoring Our Ancestors



Harvard's Immigration Database

Newspaper Archive from the Library of Congress

Library of Michigan

NARA's Page on Genealogy

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors

Golden Nugget Library



Some links to other sites I either use a lot for family research or sites which contain related family information.  Note: while many commonly used links by me are listed here, I have about a ton of other sites that I find valuable- drop me a line if you are interested in any of the URLs. 


Family Myths- Debunked!

The Legend of William Penn and the Shinn family:  I heard this story growing up and frankly, always had a hard time believing it becuase it was so flimsy.  Family myth goes that the Shinn family is related to William Penn because grey eyes run in certain parts of the two families.  Reasons why this story is false:  First of all, grey eyes run in a lot of families and I have never seen anything to suggest that William Penn was the only person to bring the eye color to the New World (I don't even know if he had grey eyes!).  However, I think part of this myth stems from the fact that the early Shinns were, like William Penn, devout Quakers.  The difference being that the Shinn Quakers were in New Jersey and the Penn Quakers were in, well, PENNsylvania.  I have never seen any records or connections to suggest any kind of link between our Shinns and William Penn and his family, nor have I found any record of Shinns (except later on) living in Pennsylvania.  When the family came to the New World, they came to New Jersey and there they stayed until later generations branched out.  Consider this myth debunked!

The Legend of the Wellons Family and Patriot George Mason:  This isn't so much a family legend as a frightening discovery I made while doing internet genealogy.  My gg-grandfather, George W. Wellons married Mary Anna Webb, the daughter of Andrew Webb and Priscilla Mason.  One day, while researching Priscilla on Ancestry or one of the other sites I was able to trace her back to the famous Virginian, patriot and politico George Mason.  Obviously, it was a very exciting find and it made me want to learn more about this famous ancestor.  I then went to Wikipedia, the George Mason University website, and a few other places to read his biography and my excitement soon turned to anger.  First of all, George Mason never had a son by the same name as my ancestor nor in that year period.  In fact, George Mason would have been eighteen at the time he supposedly had my ancestor which is a red flag right there.  George Mason was also never married to a Miss Armstrong (the supposed mother of my ancestor) either which pretty much puts the nail in that coffin.  Deeper searching revealed a Mason-Armstong connection with actually plausibility that could in some distant way connect to the George Mason (both Masons were from the same part of Virginia).  Never the less, I still see George Mason listed as the ancestor for my line and a few others which I know are false and it is frightening because this erroneous information is still spreading like wildfire.  Let this be a lesson to people who think they have made a connection to a famous person: go read the person's biography if possible and find out everything you can through official and non-genealogical sources before saying that that person is a definite relative.  Everyone wants a famous person in their family tree which is why I think so many people are quick to believe the George Mason myth and spread it, but the connection is WRONG and nothing you do can change it so please check and double check any info on anybody (whether famous of not) before passing the info on to other genealogists and future generations.  Let this be a lesson that in genealogy as in relationships, always pay attention to the red flags!  Consider this myth debunked and this lesson learned!

Generic Indian Princess Story That We All Have in Our Family Tree:  Everyone has an Indian Princess story running through their family and while my family never had an actual story the belief that we in some way had Native American ancestry was there.  I think this myth has to do with the fact that most of my family has been in this country since the Europeans discovered it practically.  I have ancestors that came on the Mayflower, others that helped start New Netherlands (now New York), and others that came to Jamestown and the Chespeake Bay as early as the 1620's.  People in the family must have thought that because we've been here so long there must have been a marriage to a Native American at some point, but I have never seen any evidence of it.  Granted, records for early Virginia are sparse and marriage records in general are sparse until at least the mid-18th century, but I have never seen anything which makes me put any truth into the myth.  There was one ancestor who I thought MAYBE, but then her parents were from Devonshire so I could be wrong. 

Fun Family Facts!

So, these are some interesting family facts that I've discovered over the years of researching our family tree.  Enjoy- I know I did!

Wellons:  The eldest Wellons daughter, "Flo" was born Hermosa Florita/Florida Wellons.  An odd name for an English family, but when you look at where they lived at the time it makes sense.  The family lived in La Plata co., Colorado for a time and are living in the town of Animas in the 1880 census.  Another town just north of Animas is Hermosa and a town just south of Animas is Florida.  It is the only "geographically inspired" name I've come across and a beautiful one at that (I think).  It means "beautiful flower" in Spanish.

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