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Helen Free VanderBeek papers on the Wadsworth family, approximately 1810-1982

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 6224 Series 2

Scope and Contents

Contains pedigrees and group sheets from the George Wadsworth family. Also contains correspondence of Helen Free Vanderbeek regarding research for family history, programs for Wadsworth family reunions, and other documents. Contains the founding documents for the George Wadsworth Family Organization, Inc. and tracks of the finances of this organization. There are records of genealogical work done, as well as photographs of family members and audio tapes with family memories, and school records of Nephi Wadsworth. Documents pertain to the lives of Elizabeth Broadbent Wadsworth, Nephi John Wadsworth, George Allen Wadsworth, and numerous others. Dated approximately 1810-1982.


  • approximately 1810-1982


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 publish material from Helen Free VanderBeek papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Helen Free VanderBeek (born 1944) is a journalist and family historian in Idaho. Helen goes by several names, including: Helen Free VanderBeek, Helen Free VanderBeek Kerr, Helen LaRae Free VanderBeek Kerr, and LaRae Kerr. Helen LaRae Free VanderBeek Kerr was born in 1944. She graduated from Brigham Young Academy High School in 1962. She received a scholarship to Brigham Young University where she attended and received her BA in Clothing and textiles in 1966. In 1970, she received a BA in English from Brigham Young University. In 1991, she received a BA from Brigham Young University-Idaho in General Studies. Helen later went on to receive her Master's degree in Education from Idaho State University-Pocatello in 1993. She married Ronald Vanderbeek, and they had three children, but were later divorced. After her divorce, she married Walter Kerr (which changed her married name to Helen Free VanderBeek Kerr). She has written several columns, her first column appearing in the Idaho Farm News. She was an adjunct professor at Ricks College and published a column there too. She also authored a book called Find Your Actual, Factual Ancestors: A Genealogy Journey in 8 Steps.

Biographical History

The James and George Wadsworth families immigrated to the United States from England after joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. George Wadsworth was born in 1827 in Tankersely, Yorkshire, England to William Wadsworth and Hannah Wilkinson. Alice Allan, daughter of James Allan and Barbrey Brown, had traveled to Tankersely to find work. George and Alice met and married. Alice died February 17, 1849, leaving George a widower at age 22 with a ten month old son, James Allen Wadsworth. George gave James to his uncle James and Aunt Elizabeth who had never had children of their own. His Uncle James was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on January 27, 1841. On 14 February 1850 he was appointed as the Pilley branch president, a position which he would hold for 6 years, until he made preparations to leave for Utah. While he was branch president he baptized his nephew George on March 9, 1852. George visited the Sheffield area to attend meetings. While there he met Elizabeth Broadbent and on April 18, 1853 they married. Both the James and George Wadsworth families left England for Utah after the call of the Saints to gather in Zion in 1855. The Wadsworth families sailed on the Horizon in 1856. Once in Iowa City, the James Wadsworth family left with the Hunt Company for Salt Lake, while the George Wadsworth family stayed in Iowa City for the winter. George served as the branch president of Iowa City during this year. George and his family left Iowa City that following summer with the Young Company. After arriving in the valley, they left for Payson, where James' family was in 1858. Not too long after their arrival, many hardships befell both families, including the death of James' wife. Shortly thereafter, James had had enough and left the church and sailed back to England. Although this grieved George, having his uncle leave, he and his family remained. In 1867, the George Wadsworth family left Payson and made their last move to Panaca, Nevada. George and Elizabeth both served in leadership positions throughout the years and worked hard to establish a home in Panaca. George died on January 17, 1898. Elizabeth died on March 4, 1911.


3 cartons

5 folders

1 box

Language of Materials