She joined Colgan Air in January 2008 and had flown more than 2,000 hours with the carrier.
The family has gathered at her home in the southeast Seattle suburb. Her mother, Lynn Morris, says the family heard at 4:30 a.m. that she was on the flight.
Morris told an Associated Press reporter that Shaw's husband is on the way to Buffalo.
Morris says her daughter decided in her senior year in high school she "wanted to fly."
Morris says Shaw loved to fly and was an awesome pilot, adding, "We love her and miss her terribly."
The commuter plane dropped out of the sky without warning and nose-dived into a suburban Buffalo house in a fiery crash that killed all 49 people aboard and one person in the home on Thursday night.
It was the nation's first deadly crash of a commercial airliner in 2½ years.
The cause of the disaster was under investigation, but other pilots were overheard around the same time complaining of ice building up on their wings - a hazard that has caused major crashes in the past.
The twin turboprop aircraft - Continental Connection Flight 3407 from Newark, N.J. - was coming in for a landing when it went down in light snow and fog around 10:20 p.m. Thursday about five miles short of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
Witnesses heard the plane sputtering before it plunged squarely through the roof of the house, its tail section visible through flames shooting at least 50 feet high.
"The whole sky was lit up orange," said Bob Dworak, who lives less than a mile away. "All the sudden, there was a big bang, and the house shook."
Two others in the house escaped with minor injuries. The plane was carrying a four-member crew and an off-duty pilot. Among the 44 passengers killed was a woman whose husband died in the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Continental said relatives and friends of those on Flight 3407 who want to give or receive information about those on board can call a special family assistance number, 1-800-621-3263.