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Success Story from the 18th Century

This article examines the origin and descendents of Märjamaa Pastor Johann Ignatius (1719–1774), prompted by claims presented in historical literature. First, the hitherto more broadly unverified claim that Johann Ignatius was the son of the Kambja sexton and schoolmaster Jaak of Ignats (circa 1670–1741) is found to be supported by sources. Secondly, it is possible to demonstrate that the descendents of Jaak of Ignats are nevertheless represented in considerable numbers at the end of the 19th century, and thus that they had not broken the Fourth Commandment. Thirdly, the question remains concerning intellectuals of Estonian origin in the 18th century: what kind of position did people who descended from commoners have in general in a society based on class?

A partial genealogical table of the family of Jaak of Ignats is included with the article to facilitate reading the article.