Article by CarolAnn Dixon:
Saturday, September 19, 2020, the Hopkins County Genealogical Society, HCGS, hosted the 2020 Fall Seminar featuring John A. Sellers, current President of HCGS. What a fun and successful day it was!
Several months ago, Jan Stovall, HCGS Librarian, and some of the other board members began discussing hosting a genealogical seminar similar to ones the Society had held more than five years ago. With the current Covid-19 environment, members and visitors to the library had expressed that they were missing the opportunity to learn from others’ research experience. Jan wanted to address that need. As the discussions continued, they realized that the Society had a member who had more than 35 years of not only researching his own and others’ family trees, but has lectured at more than sixty all-day seminars across the south central United States. The board members asked John to share his knowledge and experiences and the outline was made.
Twenty nine people were in attendance, with an additional 10 attending virtually, at the seminar held at the Winniford House at Heritage Park. Attendees were socially distanced and wearing masks to keep everyone safe.
Everyone learned from the roadblocks John has encountered and how to get past them. The topics included everything that can be determined in courthouse deeds, burned courthouse work-arounds, digging for maiden names, and how to proceed with DNA matches. At the end of each session, John addressed questions asked of him both in person and from those online. Handouts included sources and a deed abstract form to guide us in focusing on the details included in the deeds that most of us have collected over the years.
A big ‘Thank You’ goes to the Hopkins County Historical Society for the use of the Winniford House. Also, thank you CNB for providing the snacks and drinks we enjoyed all day. Jan’s daughter, Holly Stovall, was our virtual expert and made sure our virtual guests enjoyed the same experience as our in-attendance guests. Thank you, Holly! And, thank you Scott Fitzgerald of the Tyler Genealogical Library for donating genealogy books for the door prizes. And, finally, a “thank you” for all your help to the Volunteers/Members: Jan Stovall, Earl Pogue, Carol Ann Dixon, Paula Altenbaumer, Rhonda Bechhold, Maggie Mae Sherrow, Pat Goggins, Nan Bell, Don Fausett, Bill White, Jerry Gregg and Billy Lucas.
Jan is already pondering what topics should be covered at the next seminar and who would be a good speaker.