Paradise Genealogical Society
Paradise Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 460
Paradise, CA 95967
Our Mission and Purpose:
- Provide an organization for the benefit of all persons interested in genealogy;
- Maintain a genealogical library;
- Collect and preserve public records;
- Teach the principles and methods of genealogical research, and
- Publish local vital records and history.
Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Butte County, the Paradise Genealogical Society is unique in that it is one of the few libraries available to the public, not housed in a tax-supported building. Members have check-out privileges and although there is no charge to use the library facilities, cash donations are much appreciated.
The society was founded in April 1968 by Florence Darting, Juanita Norton and Betty Pierce for the purpose of providing an organization for the benefit and education of persons interested in genealogy, local history and preservation of public records. The society’s first year closed with 60 charter members; today, membership remains stable at 250-plus souls.
In the beginning the library was carried to meetings in boxes; then housed in various members’ homes and once in a county facility (a vacant justice court holding cell). In 1990 the society moved into leased facilities until the purchase of the Paradise Chamber of Commerce building in 1997. This was brought about through the generosity of three members for the greater portion of the purchase price and an aggressive fund-raising effort to secure the remainder needed to close the deal. The support from the membership as well as the local community was gratifying. Today the society owns the building free and clear.
Patrons have access to more than 2800 volumes and almost 500 periodical titles of genealogical interest. Also available are several computers with DSL Internet access and printers, microfilm and fiche readers, a large collection of computer software, CD-ROMs, microfilm/fiche, and video and audio tapes. Copier service can be obtained on premise for a nominal fee.
Another area in the library is named for and contains the local genealogical collection of the late Florence Styles, a charter member and noted Butte County historian. Florence’s love of history motivated her to collect books, newspaper articles, maps, and photographs as well as all types of records, primarily about Butte County. Upon her death in 1988, the entire collection was given to the Paradise Genealogical Society.
Over the intervening years work has been done to reorganize, catalog, and index the extensive and varied materials. Today this invaluable and irreplaceable collection is housed in the Florence Styles Room of the society library.
Other library holdings include a local newspaper obituary file collection, several thousand late 20th century Butte County mortuary records, a 160-plus item vertical file which includes pamphlets/booklets, newspaper clippings, maps and other non shelf-able materials. Also available is a collection of 85 binders filled with family group sheets of two sisters now deceased who were longtime PGS members. These binders are of particular interest to those with New England/East/Coast ancestors. Two smaller collections of deceased member’s family group sheets are also available.
A dedicated volunteer staff is available to assist patrons and direct them on how to best use the resources in the library. Hours: Mon. & Fri. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Wed. 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Society Projects and Publications:
The society offers a research service for those seeking their Butte County ancestors for a nominal fee.
Serial publications include Nuggets from Paradise, a monthly newsletter, and the Genealogical Goldmine, an annual periodical with local and general family histories and source records, various Butte County vital records, etc.
In order to preserve local historical and research materials the society continues to publish Butte County records and cemetery surveys. To date the society has compiled and published 30 such books.
The Butte County Pioneer Settler Certificate Program was initiated to celebrate the beginning of the new millennium. Descendants of early Butte County settlers may be eligible for a pioneer certificate upon verification of their application and documentation.
A member-contributed and searchable surname list with over 600 listings is posted on the society website
Monthly meetings are held the second Thursday of the month (except August) at the Paradise Ridge Senior Center with featured speakers or discussion workshops. From time to time the society also sponsors seminars, workshops, and classes for the genealogical community.
The society maintains a web site at http://pargenso.org. Items of special interest include:
- Calendar of Society events Membership Application
- CD-ROM List Members Surname Query List
- Florence Styles Collection Indexes Pioneer Settler (Butte Co) Certificate
- Library Location Map Publications Sales List
- Library Shelf List Research (Butte Co) Request Form
Membership benefits include library check-out privileges; free subscriptions to the ‘Nuggets’ newsletter and the ‘Goldmine’ annual; plus the fellowship and support of other member genealogists.