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The Legend of Dr David Livingstone Pt. II - 03/16/2013
The Livingstone “Fortune” As I explained last time digital images and a transcript of the three pages of Dr Livingstone’s inventory available free on the Scotland's People website identified that his total estate in Scotland was worth £1463 19s and 3d. So did this represent a “fortune” for David Livingstone? It is very hard to compare the worth of money in the past with the buying power of current income as past economies differed greatly especially, in terms of what was available to buy, distribution of wealth in society and objective interpretation of value. My first step in trying to understand the value of my ancestor’s estates has always been the National Archives “Currency Converter” ( This conversion tool is no longer being updated however, it provides a quick indication of modern value (in 2005) for each decade between 1270 to 1970. The tool shows that in 1870, £1,463 19s 3d would have the same spending power in 2005 as £66,903.09. On that basis, each of Dr Livingstone’s children would have received an estate worth about £16750 in 2005 terms. This would not represent a “fortune” in today’s terms. However there are other more comprehensive tools available on-line for measuring worth which provide a much more comprehensive view of relative value or buying power for our ancestors. The Measuring Worth website provides a number of different measures of relative worth. If you want to ...

The Legend of Dr David Livingstone Pt. II

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