Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Little Musical Performers in Boston 1905


from The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts), 22 March 1905, Wednesday, page 7


Give Marked Evidence of the Instruction They Have Received

    The pupils of Miss Isabel Florence gave an excellent entertainment for their friends last evening in the Children's theatre, Huntington chambers.  Many of the little artists have had only a limited number of lessons, yet their first public appearance on the stage gave evidence of much careful training, and brought forth much well deserved applause.

The program was varied, including character sketches, instrumental music and fancy dances.  Without exception all contributing to the program proved to be possessed of an artistic spirit.

The opening number was a merry circle of little artists, that gave the admiring parents and friends that comprised the audience, an inkling of the instruction the children were receiving.  Those who appeared were Baby Helena, Dorothy Nolan, Helen Jolly, Celia Deutschmann and Marjorie Boyd, the Jarvis sisters, Estelle Seeley, Helen Sylvester and Little Gladys and Helen, as Sambo and Dinah, the hit of "Humpty Dumpty."

Josephine Kirkland gave a dance, and Matilda Yannetta, 10 years old, executed two difficult harp solos.  Bonnie and Hazen Jarvis danced the minuet in a delightfully graceful manner. Eva Lee, aged 8 years, played two piano solos, and then Hermia DeLisle danced a hornpipe, followed by Stella Rothwell in a lively Irish jig.

Matilda and Adelaide Yannetta gave a skirt dance, and Gladys Gilbert executed a jocky toe dance that won much praise. The program closed with an amusing little sketch, which served to introduce Baby Goldie, a 4-year old pupil."


I found this article online recently during a recent, free weekend of access to  My son-in-law has some interesting ancestors from French Canada, Ireland, colonial New England and Italy.  His Italian ancestors were particularly musical, and included his great-great grandparents Dominic Ianetta and Maria Carmella Grosse.  I have not done much Italian genealogy research, but the first thing I learned about the Ianetta family was that there are dozens of spellings of this surname.  This little article appeared in my search at only after I tried every variation I could think of, and then a few more! 

Dominic Ianetta (1865 - 1952) of Caserta, Campania, Italy married Maria Carmella Grosse (1871 - 1921) of Belmonte Castello, Frosinone, Lazio, Italy on 10 December 1893 in Boston, Massachusetts.  They had eleven children, all born in Boston's North End:

1.  Matilda Angela, born 7 March 1894, died 1993, married Vincent DiPersio

2.  Adelina Laura, born 21 March 1895, died 1977, married Albert Don Safallo

3.  Salvino Angelo "Jimmy", born 29 November 1897, died 1991, married Teresa Marie Galiano

4. Marie, born 28 March 1899, died young 28 August 1899

5. Florence Rose, born 17 November 1900, died 1939, unmarried

6. Alfred Raffaele, born 10 October 1902, died 1947, married Mildred Nuzzolo

7. Lawrence Blasio, born 3 February 1904, died 1981, married Marian Stowe Harris

8. George, born 22 February 1907, died 1934, married Helen 

9. Stella Marie, born 3 February 1910, died 1997, married Anthony Debenedictis

10. Pietro Michael, born 29 Sept 1912, died young 17 October 1912

11. Margharita Louise, born 4 June 1915, died 1976, died unmarried

For the past few years the New England Historic Genealogical society has been conducting a digitization project for the Catholic records of churches in the Boston Diocese. These documents show the records of the seven sacraments (including baptism, marriage and burials) for hundreds of parishes across New England. These are handwritten records with over 10 million names, browsable, searchable (members only) and downloadable.  Best of all, these records are available FREE, even to non-members.

By searching these records for all the variations of the Ianetta name (Janetta, Jannetta, Iannetta, Iannetti, Iannetto, etc). I was able to construct the family you see listed above.  Here is a sample record, showing the baptism of Matilda Ianetta, our little harpist and dancer.  It is recorded entirely in Latin, including her name Matildes Annam Angeles Jannetta, daughter of Dominico Jannetta and Maria Grossi.  Her marriage in 1910 to Vincenzo Di Persio is in the right margin. You can see that the Catholic records give lots of genealogical information, including the birthplace of the parents and the names of the witnesses (who might be kin?). 

I'll be doing some future blog posts about the Ianetta family, and will include some very interesting stories about Dominic, the immigrant ancestor, who was known as the "Hurdy Gurdy Czar" of Boston, and Marie Grosse, who was a famous dancer who performed for Queen Victoria, for Boston theaters, and society events such as soirees at Isabella Stewart Gardner's palace in the Fenway. 

For the truly curious:

Catholic Records at the New England Historic Genealogical Society:    

The New England Historic Genealogical Society  


To Cite/Link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Little Musical Performers in Boston 1905", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 16, 2022, ( accessed [access date]). 

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