12 December 2008

Michael Grant Ignatieff ancestry

New Liberal leader Michael Grant Ignatieff, b 12 May 1947 in Toronto, has a diverse and socially elite ancestry.

He is the son of Canadian immigrant and diplomat George Ignatieff (1913-1989), the grandson of Count Pavel Ignatiev (1870-1945) who was Minister of Education to Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Princess Natasha Mestchersky. His great-grandfather, Count Nikolay Pavlovich Ignatyev, was the Russian Minister of the Interior under Tsar Alexander III.

His mother, (Jessie?) Alison Grant (1916 - 1992) had high profile Canadian roots stretching back several generations in the Maritimes.

Her father William Lawson Grant (1872-1935) was principal of Upper Canada College, and his father, George Munro Grant (1835 -1902) principal of what was to become Queen's University. His father, James Grant, was a immigrant from Scotland. George Munro Grant's wife, Jessie Lawson (1838-1901), was descended from William Lawson (1772-1848), one of the founders of the Bank of Nova Scotia.

His mother's younger brother was the political philosopher George Grant (1918-1988), author of Lament for a Nation. His mother's mother, Maude Erskine Parkin was sister to Alice Parkin the wife of Canada's first native-born Governor General (Charles) Vincent Massey. The sisters father, Sir George Robert Parkin (1846-1922), also served as headmaster of Upper Canada College. He was son of John Parkin who was an immigrant from Middleton-in-Teesdale, England.

George R Parkin's wife was Annie Connell Fisher whose Loyalist grandfather, Peter Fisher (1782-1848), was the first historian of New Brunswick.

In his book The Russian Album first published twenty years ago Ignatieff writes in the context of his own family's history that "life now moves so quickly that some of us feel that we were literally different people at previous times in our lives. If the continuing of ourselves is now problematic, our connection with family ancestry is yet more in question."

How much more so twenty years later?

Now we have the prospect of a Prime Minister who not only knows about his family history but has also thought about it.


Carolanne Denise Gitto said...

Dear Michael
After going through some papers of my deceased mother Annielaurie Clarke-Ray granddaughter to Blair Steeves from Salisbury on my mothers side I see we are related. Alison Ignatieff is on our family tree as cousins also Vincent Massey (Parkin) Raymond Massey (Parkin) the actor and Sir George Parkin also our cousins. Your father was Provost of Trinity College. Alison was your mother she listed you and your brother Andrew as her two sons. Alison Ignatieff former (Alison Grant) was chosen as the first lady-in waiting to the Queen, Her Majesty. This is amazingly wonderful.

Heather Hess said...

Hi - I am descended from Annie Fisher's gt. grandparent's James French & Salome Hurtz - Their son Charles French's daughter Charity Ann was the mother of Annie Fisher.

Heather Hess - Vancouver Island, B.C.

Unknown said...

Interesting to see the comment about Michael Ignatieff’s family connection to the Queen. Last week I went to a very good talk by Michael Ignatieff at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle with Princess Anne on hand. My mother was from Forest Hill, near Parkindale, but I now live just a few miles from Windsor Castle. Though the Parkin family, my mother is a third cousin of Michael’s. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to say hello.