The birth of David Livingstone
David Livingstone was born on 19 March 1813 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, the son of Neil Livingston, tailor, and Agnes Hunter. Neil's father was a tenant famer on Ulva, an island off Mull, but left to find work in the lowland cotton mills, settling at Blantyre. Neil and Agnes were married there in December 1810. In these parish registers the family surname is spelt 'Livingston' without the 'e' (OPR Births 624/00/10/350, OPR Marriages 624/00/20/232). David himself doesn't seem to have signed his name as 'Livingstone' until the 1850's, the spelling also used for his book 'Missionary travels and researches in South Africa' in 1857. We don't have the record of his marriage to Mary Moffat in 1845 or his death because neither happened in Scotland. He died in Zambia, Africa, on 4 May 1873. Livingstone's body was interred at Westminster Abbey, London, on 18 April 1874, following a funeral befitting a national hero, paid for by the Treasury. His heart remains buried under a tree in Zambia.
Testamentary inventory of David Livingstone
At the time of his death, Livingstone's estate was valued at £1145 the equivalent of about £82,900 in today's money. Although the testaments of Scots dying outside Scotland are normally found in the records of Edinburgh Commissary Office, Livingstone's testament appears in Glasgow Sheriff Court records (SC36/48/74 pages 705-707). This is not a will, in the popular sense, but an inventory of his estate in Scotland and England. His executor, his eldest son Thomas Steele Livingstone, stated that the estate abroad could not be ascertained. A digital copy and transcript of this testament can be seen free of charge in the Famous Scots section of the ScotlandsPeople website.
Livingstonia mission and presbytery records
Named in honour of David Livingstone, the Livingstonia Mission was founded by Lake Malawi in 1875 by the Free Church of Scotland. One of the founding missionaries was Dr Robert Laws (1851-1934), a Scottish doctor and clergyman, the son of an Aberdeen cabinet-maker. In 1920 the Church of Scotland established the Presbytery of Livingstonia and in 1963 the General Assembly dissolved it following the transfer of its ministers to the United Church of Central Africa in Rhodesia. As the official custodian of the Church of Scotland archives, NRS holds a minute book, some correspondence and a set of nineteenth century lantern slides relating to Livingstonia (collection reference CH2/483).