Sir Ernest Shackleton, Karl Marx died in poverty, reveal probate records
London, Aug 11 (ANI): Newly published records have revealed that one of Britain's most successful polar explorers, Sir Ernest Shackleton and well known German philosopher Karl Marx died in poverty.
The records were published by genealogy website Ancestry.co.uk and cover the years 1861 to 1941.
They revealed that Shackleton spent his final years in relative poverty, leaving just 556 pounds after a string of failed business enterprises and costly adventures on his death.
The explorer, who is best known for leading his Endurance crew to safety after their ship froze into the Antarctic ice, died on the island of South Georgia in 1922 while attempting to recreate the glory his youth with a final polar expedition on a new vessel, Quest.
He was forced to make ends meet in his later years with gruelling lecture tours and the occasional newspaper article, and the amount he left his wife Emily was dwarfed by debts estimated at 40,000 pounds.
Another historical figure to die to penury was Karl Marx, author of The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital.
The German political thinker and revolutionary, who lived much of his life as an exile in London, left just 250 pounds to his youngest daughter Eleanor on his death in 1883.
The documents published by the website are from "probate calendar books" collated annually following the 1857 Court of Probate Act, which transferred the responsibility for administering estates from the church to the state.
"The probate calendar books provide countless new leads for family historians to explore as they move beyond being about family members to long-gone fortunes, mysterious beneficiaries and valuable objects - all with connections back to our ancestors just waiting to be explored," the Telegraph quoted Dan Jones, international content director of Ancestry.co.uk, as saying.
"Anyone able to find an ancestor in the probate calendar books will be able to find out a great deal about how their ancestor lived, what they bequeathed and to whom - meaning we will be able to find out so much more about what their lives would have been like," he added. (ANI)