Monday, March 21, 2011

How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, March 27

Isaias Wolf Hellman
On Sunday, March 27, Frances Dinkelspiel will talk about her great-great-grandfather Isaias Wolf Hellman at a meeting of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society.  The meeting begins at 1:00 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel-Judea, 625 Brotherhood Way, San Francisco 94132.  Doors open at 12:30 p.m.  There is ample parking around the synagogue.

Hellman left Bavaria at the age of 16 and within 10 years of arriving in Gold Rush-era California founded Los Angeles' first bank.  As an entrepreneur and a financier, he was integral to the founding of Wells Fargo Bank, the establishment of the University of Southern California (my alma mater), and the financing of the burgeoning oil industry.  (But where did he get his money to start with?)

Frances Dinkelspiel is an award-winning journalist.  Her work has appeared in the New York Times, People, the San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Magazine, and other publications.  She is the co-founder of, a new local Web site about Berkeley, and lives in Berkeley.

There will be time before and after the talk to brainstorm with others about your genealogy questions.  The meeting is free and everyone interested is welcome to attend.

For more information, visit the SFBAJGS Web site.


  1. Now this is one I won't miss for sure!

  2. It will be great to see you on Sunday! What makes this topic particularly interesting for you?


All comments on this blog will be previewed by the author to prevent spammers and unkind visitors to the site. The blog is open to everyone, particularly those interested in family history and genealogy.