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Helen Free VanderBeek papers

Identifier: MSS 6224

Scope and Contents

Contains the notes of Helen Free VanderBeek regarding her book "George Allen Wadsworth: Pilley to Panaca" and other papers regarding her work, including articles that she wrote and cassette tapes of her radio program, in which she read essays that she had written. Some of the cassette tapes also include family events. The collection also has correspondence between Helen and her husband, and miscellaneous pamphlets about various topics of Church and community concern. Also contains pedigrees, school records, and other family and financial papers of the George Wadsworth family. Dated approximately 1810 to 2002.


  • approximately 1810-2002


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 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. 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 beloved 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.


1 half box (0.25 linear ft.)

8 cartons (8 linear ft.)

1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged into four series: 1. Helen Free VanderBeek correspondence, approximately 1966-2002. 2. Helen Free VanderBeek papers on the Wadsworth family, approximately 1810-1982. 3. Helen Free VanderBeek pamphlets, approximately 1935-1980. 4. Helen Free VanderBeek publications, approximately 1979-2001.

Other Finding Aids

More detailed finding aid available in repository upon request.

Custodial History

Donated by Helen Free VanderBeek.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Helen Free VanderBeek.


Utah and the American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th and 20th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy 5.VII, August 2007).

Related Materials

See also the Lorymore Free papers (MSS 6687).

Processing Information

Processed; Melissa Cowles and Elizabeth Ballif, student processors, and John Murphy, curator.

Addition processed by Kelsey Samuelsen, student processor, and John Murphy, curator.

  • Printouts of genealogy research, family pedigrees, and records
Register of Helen Free VanderBeek papers
Melissa Cowles and Elizabeth Ballif, student processors, and John Murphy, curator
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States