Philip Livingston (1686-1749), a merchant from Albany, New York, and his wife, Catharine Van Brugh, had nine surviving children: Robert (1708-1790), Peter Van Brugh (1710-1793), John (1714-1788), Philip (1716-1778), Henry (1719-1772), William (1723-1790), Sarah (1725-1805), Alida (1728-1790), and Catherine (b. 1733).
Robert Livingston moved from Albany to New York City before 1734. He was involved in the shipping trade between North America and Great Britain; his English partners included Samuel Storke and Storke & Gainsborough of London. Robert and Peter Van Brugh Livingston formed Robert & Peter Livingston & Company, a merchant firm, in New York City around 1735.