The Texas State Genealogical Society Conference was held at the Omni Hotel in San Antonio, Texas on November 1-4, 2018. Hopkins County Genealogical Society (HCGS) had several members in attendance. HCGS also won awards including first place quarterly with the Hopkins County Heritage.
The weekend was culminated with an awards banquet on Saturday night. The key note speaker was Andrew Carroll. Andrew is currently the director of the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University. In 1997, he created the Legacy Project, an all-volunteer initiative to honor veterans, active duty troops, and their families by preserving their wartime correspondence. The project has collected over 100,000 letters and emails from every war in U.S. history beginning with the Revolutionary War. These letters not only reflect historic events but also tell the human side of the story. They are archived at Chapman University where they are preserved for future generations. Andrew has written several books related to these heartwarming and historic letters. He brought many actual letters with him including one written during the bombing of Pearl Harbor and two WWII letters written by everyday Americans describing the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.
During the banquet statewide awards were announced. HCGS entered its quarterly, website, and two books into the statewide competition. The HCGS quarterly Hopkins County Heritage, published by Editor Carol Ann Dixon, won first place. Carol Ann previously won 2nd place for the quarterly in 2015 and 2017.
The HCGS website HCGSTX.org, created by Bethany Ferrell of Lonestar Web Group and assisted by HCGS Archivist Earl Pogue & HCGS Librarian Jan Stovall, won first place.
HCGS publication Known Only to God, written by Rhonda Bechhold and Carole Ann Smith, finished second in the category “books published by partner societies”. Known Only to Godis the story of the mystery man who died tragically in a car accident on Hwy. 19th just north of Sulphur Springs in August of 1954. It details the two-year search to recognize and honor this World War II veteran named John Everett Phinney. A Celebration of Life Ceremony was held at Sulphur Springs City Cemetery in June 2018 to honor this soldier and unveil the military marker that the author helped to procure. He is now known thanks to the efforts of authors Rhonda and Carole Ann.
HCGS, also, entered Wandering and Wondering by Larry Harman. Larry was a local historian and former board member of HCGS. Larry grew up in Sulphur Springs and enjoyed traveling the back roads researching area history. Several of his stories appeared in the HCGS quarterly. Larry passed away in 2012. His wife Sharon and sister Carol McKeever compiled and published his research in this book. While Wandering and Wondering did not place, Awards Chairman Bill Buckner of Waco Public library, singled it out saying that “this book touched my heart’.
Both books can be obtained by contacting the HCGS library.
In addition to enjoying and learning from excellent speakers, the members manned a successful booth selling books and local publications.