Augusta Katherina “Katie” Gretsch von Hellerman


August 4 Augusta Katherine Gretsch (aka: Katie Gretsch) is born in Mannheim.

She is the fourth child and the third daughter of Wilhelm Gretsch and Anna Maria von Gerichten.

When Auguste Katherina was baptized in the summer of 1858, her cousin Auguste Paulina Bloss was her godmother. Auguste’s mother Katherina Dorothea Bloss was the older sister of William Gretsch.

circa 1878

Katie Gretsch’s mother, Anna Maria von Gerichten’s had several brothers living in California at the time that Katie came to America. Peter Karl, was living in San Diego at the time that Katie came to America.


US Census shows Katie Gretsch, age 21, born in Baden working as a governess for the Stern family in New York City at 55 West 15th Street.


February 14 Ella Florentine Wentscher born in San Diego.

Baby Ella was the daughter of Anna Maria Gerichten and Anton Herman Arnold Wentsher.

Anna Maria was a first cousin to Augusta Katherina and the other Mannheim Gretsch children.

This baby Ella was the granddaughter of C. P. Gerichten.


March 24,  Helma von Hellerman, granddaughter of Anna Maria von Gericten,

daughter of Auguste Katherine Gretsch and Wilhelm von Hellerman

was born in San Diego, California.

Little Helma and Little Ella were born only a year part. Their mothers were cousins, Katie Gretsch and Anna Maria Gerichten.

This reference to Helma’s birth was found in the “Famileinbucher” in the archive of Mannheim, Germany by Bettina Hoecherl.

This find confirms that the Mannheim Gretsch children were not only in contact with their father’s brother in Brooklyn but also with their mother’s brothers in California.

Katie Gretsch and her cousin, Anna Maria von Gerichten were certainly spending time together with their young daughter in San Diego —–just as Katie’s brother, Fritz Gretsch, was starting his music business in Brooklyn.

Records have not yet been found of where or when Katie and Wilhelm von Hellerman were married.

Helma’s birth records show that Katie definitely was in San Diego in March of 1884, No doubt, Katie and her husband came to San Diego to be near Katie’s mother’s brother, C.P. von Gerichten (aka Peter Karl) who was so successful in California.

Peter Karl von Gerichten is described in von Gerichten family records as ” Merchant or business man in San Francisco, St. Louis and San Diego was one of the most renown and the richest citizen in one of these cities” sic

April 28 Peter Karl von Gerichten dies in San Diego.

July 3 Katie’s younger brothers, Phillip and Jacob Gretsch, come to America.

Philip and Jacob Gretsch too no doubt came to Brooklyn first and spent some time with their siblings there. Philip eventually went on to California and married Louise Junker there. Louise’s family was in the piano business in New York. Maybe there is some music business connection between the families.


Nov 15 Auguste Katharina (AKA Katie) Gretsch von Hellerman now a widow returned to Mannheim with her young daughter Helma. The only record of this is in the Manheim City record books.


February 7 Anna Maria Gerichten Wentsher dies in San Diego.

She was a first cousin to Katie Gretsch von Hellerman.

Anna Maria left a three year old daughter, Ella.


See Charlotte’s Diary in the Library section of this website.

There in the address section of this small book is the name:…..

Kate von Hellerman, 1 Reissinenstrasse, Dresden, Germany

Charlotte Sommer Gretsch must have been in contact with her husband’s aunt, Katie Gretsch von Hellerman.
Perhaps, it was with Katie von Hellerman in Dresday that Charlotte purchased her dinnerware which has the trademark “Dresdan”.

One wonders if Charlotte’s sons were in touch with their cousin, Helma von Hellerman who lived in California until her death in 1957.


January 21, Helen von Hellerman (Helma von Hellerman) dies in Los Angeles, California. She was 72 years old.

She was living at 1907 Escarpa Drive. Her occupation was a writer of books. She never married.

Elizabeth Beardsley’s (age 65) lived with her.

On her death certificate, her mother’s name is misspelled as Katie Gretz. An affidavit to correct a record was attached to the death certificate,” To correct the record, especially the first name of the deceased, in order to complete a property settlement”. Helen von Hellerman became Helma von Hellerman, Hilhelm Von Hellerman became Wilhelm von Hellerman and Katie Gretz became Katie Gretsch.

Ann Polley of 224 North Del Mar, San Labuil, California (age 52) was an Affiant as was Elizabeth Beardsley.

Helma’s Social Security Number: 560 449810

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