Updated 09 October 2012 by Eero Ignatius
There are several Ignatius families in Finland. One of these has its roots in Viipuri (Vyborg) area, South Karelia, currently in the Russian Federation, where members of the family were first documented in the 1540s in different registers, when the area was part of the Kingdom of Sweden. The members of the family then bore the surname Ignatt; the oldest known Ignatt was Per Månsson Ignatt.
The present format of the surname was adopted in this family by Matthias Ignatius (d. 1680), the Vicar of the parish Juva in Southern Savo province of Finland. Many of his descendants studied theology in the old Turku Academy, the first university in Finland, and were later employed in ecclesiastical positions. One of them was Bengt Jakob Ignatius (1761-1827), a long-time Vicar in Halikko parish, Southwestern Finland and also known as a writer of hymns; the vast majority of currently living Ignatiuses are his descendants.
Known members of this Ignatius family are among others the grandson of Bengt Jakob Ignatius, Senator Karl Emil Ferdinand Ignatius (1837-1909), Karl Ferdinand's sons Lieutenant General Hannes Ignatius (1871-1941) and a long-time Governor of Kuopio province Gustaf Ignatius (1873-1949), and Anja Ignatius-Hirvensalo (1911-1995), who was an internationally acclaimed violinist and professor at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
In Finnish / suomeksi: "Ignatius (suku)" suomenkielisessä Wikipediassa
Another Ignatius family has roots in Northern Karelia, and the first registered person bearing the surname is Martti Ignatius (1715-1771). A family tree of Martti Ignatius' descendants can be found at http://www.annelikotisaari.net/Ignatius.htm
Several members of the above described Finnish family Ignatius emigrated to Russia, some already during the Swedish era, others during the time that Finland was part of the Russian Empire. Known emigrants to Saint Petersburg are at least Johan Ignatius (b. 1795) and Karl Fredrik Ignatius (b. 1812). Both were under 20 years old at the time of emigration, and their later history is not known.
A third known emigrant to Russia was Christian Ignatius Borissow (1788-1867), who emigrated to Saint Petersburg after 1803 but continued after 1815 to England, where he was established with his new surname. Under the new surname Borissow, the Ignatius family still thrives in the United Kingdom, and Borissows have later emigrated among other places to Australia.
An Ignatius family has also been living in Estonia. Many members of this family were Lutheran ministers and teachers. One of them was Jaak Ignat(s)i, a teacher (ca. 1670-1741), who may be a descendant of a Viipuri (Vyborg) area resident Jakob Ignatt. It has been assumed in the family book Ignatius-suku (Helsinki 1942) that Jakob Ignatt would be the ancestor, possibly the grandfather of Jaak Ignat(s)i, documented in Estonian Wikipedia: http://et.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignatsi_Jaak . Jaak was assumed to be a son of a "Swedish soldier", who might have been a son of Jakob Ignatt.
About Jaak's age was Peeter Ignatzi, a "köster" (precentor, lukkari) in Tartu (ca. 1677-1731) - possibly a younger brother of Jaak. Peeter's son Michael Ignatius (1713-1777) is documented in Estonian Wikipedia: http://et.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Ignatius as also his son David Friedrich Ignatius (1765-1834) and grandson Otto Friedrich Ignatius (1794-1824).
Jaak Ignati's descendants adopted German as their home language.