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Sanford Joseph Heilner and Claire Heilner Freedman historical background on Heilner family, approximately 1813-2010

Identifier: MSS 6721 Series 1 Sub-Series 1

Scope and Contents

Materials include photographs, maps, genealogy, and other collected documents and publications, including written historical narrative on Germany and the family of Aron Heilner. Dated from approximately 1813 to 2009.


  • approximately 1813-2010


Language of Materials

Materials mainly in English with some in German.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical History

Sanford Joseph Heilner (1936-1985) was an entrepreneur and genealogist. Sanford Joseph Heilner was born on April 21, 1936, to Sanford and Marion Yancey Heilner. He was raised in Baker, Oregon. In 1956, when he was 19, he was called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Stuttgart, Germany. While there he learned to love not only the German people but the German language. As always he learned it perfectly and used it throughout his life. Upon his return from his mission, Sanford completed his college education at Brigham Young University, married Margaret Madsen, had a family, and became successful in his professional life. Around 1977, he decided to teach himself to read Old German script in order to translate over 1000 family letters. He and Margaret visited Germany several times to facilitate this project. Sanford died October 26, 1985, at the age of 49.

Biographical History

Claire Rose Heilner Freedman (1933- ) is a genealogist. Claire Rose Heilner Freedman was born April 21, 1933. Claire developed a love of family history from her mother. As a child she would play under her mother's "genealogy table" as her mother would do family history research and tell Claire stories of her ancestors. Most of her young life was spent in Baker, Oregon where she was educated until her junior year in high school. She then transferred to a girl's school in Tacoma, Washington where she completed her high school years. After attending college at University of California, Los Angeles, Claire married Eugene Freedman and moved to his native New York. They had five children. When the last child went to junior high school, Claire attended New York University, earning her master's degree in history and an archival certificate in Archival Management and Historical Editing. She became proficient in family history research and used her skills in helping others. Claire's husband, Eugene Freedman, passed away in 2020. Claire was a resident of Provo, Utah, as of 2012.


1 folder


Arranged as an introduction to the following items in the collection.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States