Monthly Meetings

The Society meets the third Thursday of each month at the HCGS Research Library, 611 N. Davis St., Sulphur Springs, TX, 75482, at 7:00 p.m.

Programs during these meetings are free and visitors are always welcome. The Society does not meet in June, July or December.  The August meeting is usually a joint meeting with the Hopkins County Historical Society at Heritage Park.

Live too far from Sulphur Springs to come to the HCGS monthly meetings?

Join us via Zoom! Registration in advance is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. HCGS members and supporters who are on our email distribution list already receive our monthly meeting notices. If you are not currently on our distribution list and would like to receive the monthly meeting notices, please send an email to

HCGS does not permit the recording of presentations at our meetings under any circumstances or in any form or media, including but not limited to audio recordings, video recordings, or literal transcripts, except by specific written permission. Screen captures or photos may not be taken for any reason without the prior consent of the speaker.

2024 Speakers List

May 16th – Ken Hanushek 

Ken Hanushek was born in Cleveland, OH, but raised in Pittsburg, PA. He has a BA in History from Grove City College, PA, a MS in Political Science from Auburn University, AL and a MS in History from Texas A&M, Commerce, TX. Ken is a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel. He was on the history faculty of Northeast Texas Community College for 16 years, on the history faculty at PJC, full time, for 7 years and still teaches part-time at PJC Sulphur Springs Tech Center. Ken is married and has 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren.  In addition he is an accompanist for the Northeast Texas Choral Society and the organist at the Presbyterian church in Sulphur Springs, Tx.

Ken’s topic will be “The Relationship Between Sam Houston and Andrew Jackson.”  We would love for you to join us for what we know from past experience will be a fun and interesting presentation.  Please join us for this program in person on Thursday, May 16, 2024, at 7:00 P.M, 611 N. Davis, Sulphur Springs Texas. If you cannot attend in person, we invite you to join us via Zoom.

To register for the meeting on zoom click here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

April 18th – Donna Toups 

Donna Toups will present to us “Relatives ‘Round Me.”  Her program will include a demonstration of the use of to determine how/if we are all related, beginning with starting a family tree and entering a deceased relative. Donna Toups and her husband, both native Texans, have 4 children and 13 grandchildren.  They have lived in Van Zandt about 17 years where she enjoys her hobbies of mowing and twirling batons with a senior group of ladies.  Her career includes teacher, college and career advisor and employment specialist. In her Church, she has the calling as a Family History Consultant and works at the Wills Point Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Center each week.

March 21st – Kenneth Sivard

Our speaker for the March meeting is Kenneth Sivard. He is a seventh-generation resident of McCurtain County, Oklahoma. Currently he is the president of the McCurtain County Historical Society and serves on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Historical Society where he sits on the organization’s Research and Publications Committees. He also serves on the executive board of the Friends of Fort Townson Historic Site and the board of directors of the Friends of Honey Springs Historic Battlefield. Kenny will be speaking on Doaksville, Choctaw Nation and it’s relationship with Texas.

February 22nd – Jim Thornhill

After 15 years of Family History research, Jim Thornhill embarked on a second career, applying his existing experience in research, critical thinking, writing and speaking to genealogy and started Heroes of the Past, a company that seeks to delight clients and tell them about the Heroes of their pasts.

He is a professional genealogist and the chief researcher for Heroes of the Past.

Jim is a graduate of the Gen Proof and ProGen professional genealogy course, TIGR (Texas and Advanced Southern Research) as well as attending countless live classes and virtual presentations.   He is Past President of the Dallas Genealogical Society, an author for Stirpes, the Journal of the Texas State Genealogical Society, and has spoken for the National Genealogical Society, the Texas State Genealogical Society, and many local societies in North Texas.  Jim is a native Texan who has been living in the Dallas area his entire life, and has roots in pre-civil war Texas and Mississippi.

Jim’s topic for this meeting will be “Migration Across the American South.”  The program will be presented in person at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, February 22, 2024, (one week later than usual) at the Genealogy Library, 611 N. Davis St., Sulphur Spring, Texas and online via Zoom.  There will be handouts provided.

January 18th – John Sellers

Come join us on Thursday, January 18, 2024, at 7:00 p.m. at 611 N. Davis St., for ” The First Years of Hopkins County through the Eyes of John Sellers and his Research.”   John will do a storytelling lecture about his early finds in Hopkins County history through newspapers, courthouse records, and online research.  Everyone knows what a good story-teller John is (and if you don’t, it’s time to find out), so we hope you will attend either in person or by Zoom.


2023 Speakers List

2023 Speakers List

November 16th – Paula Altenbaumer

At our November meeting Paula Altenbaumer will reprise her portrayal of Hopkins County pioneer Mary Ann Hargrave. We know many of you were unable to attend our joint meeting in August with the Hopkins County Historical Society. So, Paula has agreed to give a repeat performance.

October 19th – John Pearce

John Pearce is a 1965 graduate of Sulphur Springs High School, where he was honored as a football player on the Wildcat Wall of Honor in 1996. He attended A&M University on a football scholarship before transferring to and completing his playing career at East Texas State University in 1968.

p. 145, 1965 Cat’s Paw

He went on to coach high school football until he began to serve as head football coach at Stephen F. Austin State University and Assistant football coach at UCLA and Rice Universities. His accomplishments are too numerous to mention here but you may peruse his complete history on WIKIPEDIA – John Pearce (American football).

In 2014 John became a published author with his book Ever Remember the Days 1913-14.  He also is an historical researcher on his family and author in many areas including a self-published book, Sulphur Springs football’s Pride of the Blue and Gold.  Pearce has numerous short stories published and has been called the official “Wildcat Historian” for Sulphur Springs High School football by the Sulphur Springs Daily News Telegram.  His crowning authorship was a book titled A Private in the Texas Army following his dad’s war year experience published in 2022.

Author John Pearce

After retirement, he and Jaime returned to Texas from California (2003) and built a home in Sugar Land.  In retirement he noted he wanted to be a “soccer mom” for his grandchildren.  He accomplished this goal as his four granddaughters grew up.  He and the love of his like Jaime have been married over 50 years and enjoy spending ever minute together.

The subject of John’s talk will be “Never Never Never Quit.”  He will bring his last book, A Private in the Texas Army, to sign and sell.  Although he is out of Ever Remember the Days of 1913-14, we do have several copies at the library for sale.  John’s book Pride of the Blue and Gold is also available upon order.  This book is published for sale by the library and every cent we receive for it is donated by John to the library.

September 21st – Bill Covington

Our speaker for September is Bill Covington, a public-school classroom teacher by profession, having spent 31 years in the classroom where he taught Social Studies and English as a Second Language (ESL).

21 Sep 2023 Bill Covington’s presentation at HCGS. Photo by Rhonda Bechhold.

He taught in Dallas ISD and Waxahachie ISD. For the last 13 years, he was an instructor of Dual Credit US History, World History and Government/Economics at Waxahachie Global High School, in Waxahachie, Texas. Concurrently, he also served as an adjunct instructor of Western Civilization, US History, Texas History and World History at Navarro College, also located in Waxahachie, Texas. He is married to June Renee Jacobsen Covington and they both reside in Cedar Hill, Texas. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Bill was the TXDAR State Winner of the 2017 Outstanding Teacher of US History Award.

Mr. Covington will be speaking on the “Early Anglo-Americans in Spanish Texas”.  This is a particularly interesting  subject for native Texans, but native Texan or not we hope you will join us at 7:00 p.m., 611 N. Davis St., Sulphur Springs, TX.   Hand-outs to accompany this informative talk will be provided.

August 24th – Paula Altenbaumer

The Hopkins County Genealogical Society’s annual joint meeting with the Hopkins County Historical Society was held Thursday, August 24, 2023, at 7:00 p.m., in the Winifred Building at Heritage Park.   Paula Altenbaumer portrayed Hopkins County historical pioneer Mary Ann Hargrave McLaughlin.

Paula Altenbaumer as Mary Ann Hargrave McLaughlin. Photo by Rhonda Bechhold.

Paula, a member of both societies, presented a historical portrayal that was informative and entertaining for the 50 or more members and guests attending the meeting.  Her depiction was of Mary Ann Hargrave McLaughlin, a descendant of one of Hopkins County’s earliest settlers’ families.  Her first-person delivery illustrated how as a 6-year-old child along with around 18 other family members traveled from Indiana to Texas by ox wagon and arrived in the Sulphur Bluff area in 1842.

The next year about two dozen more of the Hargrave family arrived and settled, along with their offspring, in what is now the Nelta and Birthright areas in the northern part of the county.

Paula who has portrayed numerous colorful figures of the past wanted everyone to know that the Hopkins County Genealogical Society Research Library offers an incredible amount of information for those interested in doing historical or genealogical research.

2022 Speakers List

2022 Speakers List

April 21st – Speaker Jennifer Hudson Connors

Our speaker, Jennifer Hudson Connors is a 3rd generation genealogist, having inherited the bug from her mother’s side of the family. She inherited a love of motorcycling from her father’s side. As a recently retired librarian, she now combines these interests with travel to courthouses and cemeteries. She is 1st Vice regent of the Mineola chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is working on her second novel based on family history research.

“Family History in Context” – We all search for the vital statistics of our ancestors. This talk will explore those facts in the wider context of the 1918 -19 Influenza Pandemic. Jennifer Hudson Connors will encourage you look at your family history through the events of their day and document your own materials in a meaningful way. In person & zoom virtual meeting 7pm

May 19th – Robin Cole-Jett  

Robin is the Red River Historian. For over twenty years, she has researched, documented, and shared the history of the Red River Valley of the Southwest through her website, presentations, books, articles, social media, and even a few TV appearances. A born Texan with family roots all over the Red River Valley

Ye Olde Roads” – One of the more interesting aspects of genealogy research isn’t necessarily an ancestor’s life records. In a country where most citizens have immigrated or were forcibly moved, discovering the roads, paths, trails, and traces they took can be equally rewarding. In this presentation on “Ye Olde Roads,” Robin Cole-Jett, the Red River Historian, will uncover stagecoach routes, emigration trails, and more in the North Texas region.

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