From the BBC:
11 August 2010 Last updated at 08:27 GMT
Marx‘s will among millions online
By Peter Jackson BBC News
It may not come as a huge surprise that communist and anti-capitalist philosopher Karl Marx died a poor man.
New online records are offering tantalising insights into the financial affairs of famous figures from the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Official summaries, or indexes, of more than six million wills from 1861 to 1941 have been put online for the first time.
They took about a year-and-a-half to digitise, and reveal a fortune of more than £20bn.
Once-rich polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton left even less than Marx, the records show.
By the time he died in 1922, he was down to £556 (£20,000 today), having lost his fortune in a series of failed business schemes.
The probate calendar books for England and Wales present easily accessible records for historians and academics who have had to rely on paper searches until now.
But they also allow people to research their own family trees and tales of lost fortunes and wealthy ancestors.
Historic feuds and branching family trees mean many mysteries of missing millions will never be solved.
People across the labour movement are set to remember Eleanor Marx’s legacy tomorrow, as JOHN CALLOW explains: here.