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Paradise Genealogical Society

PGS History

Note: This new section is to provide historical information concerning the progress of the rebuilding of the society
and development of rebuilding our intellectual content.

About Us


4th of July, 1916 - Paradise CA

June 20, 2022

Primarily the Renovation of a New Purchase of an Old Building

Since the last update of the history of the Paradise Genealogical Society, a lot of decisions were made, and a lot of obstacles were encountered, but most of all a lot of good progress has been made.

While the insurance settlement was evolving, the decision to rebuild was moving forward. The location question was Chico vs. Paradise. At that time the membership was about 50% in both directions; however, the cost to build or renovate in Chico was deemed very expensive. We next had to decide whether to rebuild on a limited lot and hence build to about what we had before the fire, or find an alternate facility. Most of these issues were not settled until the insurance settlement and remittance was made. That was when the actuality of funds to rebuild became real. This was in early 2000. Please note that Covid-19 became a national issue that affected much of the flow of all services about that same time. We found a building at 1499 Wagstaff Road in Paradise that appeared to meet our needs and finances. An offer was made in about October of 2020. We took possession early January 2021. Note that today the PGS membership population is about 90% from Chico and the valley vs. 10% Paradise. However, we have a strong affinity to our Paradise ancestry. Suspicions of the possibility that this could be a “money pit” were confirmed and an environmental assessment followed. A study involving the assessment and abatement people followed. We learned that we could do library type work in any part of the building not undergoing renovation. The contamination is hazardous when airborne, but not when encapsulated. We approached the worst termite and dry rot in the front part of the building and then proceeded to the rear of the building. In this manner we would have a working part in the front and an unfinished working area in the rear, if things did not go well. Things did go well.

New Library on Wagstaff Rd

Since there were no major structural issues, we were able to work under a general contractor that did many of the sub-trades himself. In addition, much of the demolition work and inside and outside painting was accomplished by our membership. We were fortunate in using 3 very good basic professional contractors for: electrical, heating/air, and flooring. These efforts made possible the completion of the front and the back into a very nice (and I expect useful) community Library and Family History Teaching Center.

Inside new library

At present, we’re transferring the accumulation of books from our Chico temporary office to Paradise and stuffing the book shelves. We are planning on having a “Grand Opening” in August/September and also starting Genealogical Classes. Our next challenge will be to clear enough earnings to meet a sustainable budget. In the past, our needs were met with a single fund raiser, membership fees and research income.

January 1, 2020

Our first year since the fire we have emerged singed and staggering and stumbling ahead. We have turned the corner relative to our insurance issues, we have pursued the development of a temporary library, we have established a base line of genealogical publications that should provide members and the public with good reading and searching, and we have been hosting regular general membership meetings to enlighten the rank and file. The coming year should see definite movement toward a permanent library, a recovery of much of our lost data, the processing of the rest of our donations, and the formalizing of the meeting structure toward assisting the genealogical techniques.


A general meeting was held at the "Daughters of the Golden West- Annie Bidwell Parlor" yesterday, 1/17/2019. The Address is: 965 Salem St., Chico. We will be holding our meeting at the Parlor on the 3rd Thursday of the month until further notice. We thank the ladies of the Parlor for their generosity.

An election of officers was held. Because of the confusion and disruption from the fire there were some positions that were not filled. The following positions were filled: President- Ed Wilhelm, 2nd- vice President- Gordon Taylor (membership), 1st Vice- President-vacant (speakers), Corresponding Secretary (vacant), Recording Secretary (vacant), Treasurer- Danielle Wanchek, Librarian- Carol Sutherland,4 directors at large are open.

Updates from the committees about fire and recovery issuers were presented:

Insurance: Paper work to proceed with State site clean-up protocol was approved and was submitted 1/18/2019

Content: Much of the Florence Styles collection has been discovered within the LDS microfilming process of the 1992 period . To reestablish our lost records will require extracting that information and re-posting to a usable style. There is a gap between 1992 to 2016 in the obituaries.  That too would be a re-posting project.

Alternate office/storage space: The search for space to work a small office and storage is ongoing. The need for a public library as we had before is questioned, at least for now.

The flow of work is constantly changing as the issues start to fall into place and the responses become more clear. Up-coming is the act of clearing  the property, then the rebuilding the type of building. A lot of questions to be asked and the balancing of monies.  GT


We have progress to report since our last general meeting. A temporary office has been found and a lease for one year has been signed. We expect to move in near the first of April. After that the real work of reestablishing PGS will begin. The temporary office is located in an old office of a farm building on their property. It is in south Chico and not inconvenient to most members. The address for mail will be the same as we now use but for now, there will not be telephone service, maybe later. We will have email contact, as we do now. No change there.

I anticipate that our first order of business will be the purchase of a computer, scanner, and printer. After they are hooked up and working, we will need to acquire our backed-up materials. After that I would expect to see our volunteer librarians pick up on reproducing our basic research materials and lost unique items.

Our burnt over property in Paradise is waiting for the mandated cleanup to happen. This gives us some time to sort through some property “What to do abouts”.  Septic system, water, new building, etc. Some big items yet.

I am hoping that the next time I report we will be busy recovering our lost treasures and can see far enough into the future to talk about accepting genealogical inquiries. By the way, I have been informed that there are a lot of broken links on our Pargenso web site. I am hoping to resolve a lot of that by next time also. Thanks for the interest shown.


We now have a new location from which to do our return to genealogy. It is located at 2683 Hegan Lane, Chico CA 95928. It is part of an outbuilding of one of the members. We have gotten a desk and the computer up and working. The librarian is busy getting everything into good order so that we may begin (toward the end of the month) to address the needs of recovery of materials and recapture of lost data. We need to do this in an orderly manner so we don’t become overwhelmed. I do not see the ability to do research for others until latter in the year or maybe next year. So that is still on hold.

Meanwhile, our normal operations are picking up. The membership roster is coming back to life, the board is picking up additional directors, and the general meeting are starting to function at the normal routine manner.

 The annual fundraiser spaghetti dinner will this year be a “non-spaghetti fund raiser”. We do not have the resources to try the dinner this year. So instead, we are soliciting donations to our fund raiser instead. We would certainly appreciate having a donation made to the Paradise Genealogical Society, Non-spaghetti fund raiser, At P.O. Box 460, Paradise, CA 95967.  Any amount would be appreciated. Normally we would receive about $40.00 per person, so that would be nice.  

The membership has been very helpful and enthusiastic about support during this ordeal. We have had several of the newer members volunteer for responsible positions and assist with the needed legwork. Thank you Members.


Friends, members, and community. Attached are some photos to update you on the physical progress we are making. We have a good feeling that what we are working toward is viable and will provide Butte County with a dedicated library to our (and Northern California’s) history and personalities.

PGS new locationPGS new location

At present we have developed a procedure to acknowledge and process donations to our Society and how they are to be maintained. Within the month we shall be asking for our membership to pitch in and stamp and process each individual book and place in the stacks. It is expected that there will be some duplicates, some out of area places, and some beyond our capacity to utilize. The response has been extremely gratifying as to quantity and quality of donations. We thank you all.

Before us we have the Insurance issues, the Butte county PGS specifics yet to recover, what the Paradise city will require for a rebuilding of the Library, and the money management to meet these issues. None of these are small issues. But I am sure that with patience and dedication, and in time they can all be overcome.

Until we are able to shift into a reference type library that we are aiming for, we will not be able to provide the public assistance to non-members that we were able to provide in the past. We are sorry for this inability and to having to deny assistance until we are ready. We do suggest that by checking into the various parts of our web site there is a good chance that an answer or a clue may be found that could speed you on your way.

Those who would like to assist our recovery are welcome to donate by check or money order to Paradise Geological Society at: PO Box 460, Paradise CA 95967. It would be very much appreciated and put to good use. Thanks again to all the generous friends, and the genealogical community.


It is July and the wheels of progress are churning slowly but with certainty. Firstly, the public response to our pleas have been extremely gratifying.  Our requests have been for both books and donations. We have received responses from five different states with bundles of books and donations of money from 5 sources, anonymous or philanthropic. Our librarians have been very busy logging in and cataloging our new acquisitions, then sending out thank-you’s. The donations are going to be very helpful as the year goes on and the various library and building needs start to mount up. It is with a very heartfelt thanks to the unnamed souls who have made these donations that we are thankful. I do believe that there is a common sentiment among genealogist and historians that love the feel of the older books and the work of others that that was done to make the search easier for the future unknown others (us).

The photograph shows present condition of our lot. It was recently cleaned and tested. We are now addressing the rebuilding issues. It will be some time before these issues are all addressed and rectified. With the clean-up progress moving alone, the City of Paradise is beginning to have some rebuilding activity. Our local PGS membership still has issues with some of our burned-out members finding local accommodations or moving away. We miss those that have moved and treasure those that are able to stay.

Pargenso library cleaned lot

Paradise Genealogical Society Library - before Nov 8, 2018 Paradise Genealogical Society Library - after Nov 8, 2018
PGS Library before 11/8/2018 PGS Library 11/14/2018 - Photo via CalFire
   Future home of ParGenSo

New Location of Paradise Genealogical Society on Wagstaff Rd in Paradise

The above image and many other historical photos can be found at: