Alexander Blackett of Gateshead (including Robert Collingwood Blackett of Utah and John Turnbull Blackett of New South Wales)

Submitted by alkirtley on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 11:38

Robert Collingwood Blackett (1807-1878) was born in London, the son of Peter Blackett and Mary. Mary Ruming, a spinster, had married Peter Blackett in 1804, but according to family legend she was, in fact, the daughter of Lady Elizabeth Russell. A shipwright by trade, Robert Collingwood Blackett was an accomplished violinist and artist. He was an early convert to the Church of the Latter Day Saints, and with his family emigrated to the USA in 1856, finally settling in Utah. Robert’s ancestry can be traced back to Alexander Blackett, who married Elizabeth Scotland in Gateshead, Co. Durham in 1707, but the lineage prior to that has not been established. For a descendancy chart of Alexander Blackett please click here.

Robert Collingwood Blackett’s middle name was almost certainly bestowed in tribute to Admiral Lord Collingwood, who had been second-in-command to Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. As outlined in Naval Blacketts Admiral Collingwood was married to Sarah Blackett, but no link between her and Robert Collingwood Blackett has been found.

This branch of the family is now believed to include Robert Blackett, who married Sophia Dyball in Shoreditch, London in 1810. Sophia was baptised in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk in 1786, where a number of their descendants were subsequently born. According to family legend this Robert was a sailor and he or his family had had a ships chandler’s business in Newcastle before losing it through drink. Sophia’s son, Walter Jones Blackett, a musician born in 1826, was christened as such, but is shown as Walter Jones in several censuses, though his children were registered with the surname of Blackett.

Another line of descent from Alexander and Elizabeth Scotland includes several generations of Joseph Snowball Blacketts, who have had maritime connections over the generations. This line, who mostly live in the United States, was originally thought to descend from Isaac Blackett of Chirton, Northumberland (see entry above), but this now seems unlikely.

It is now believed that John Turnbull Blackett of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and New South Wales forms part of this line, though no conclusive proof has been found. John Turnbull Blackett died in Grong Grong, New South Wales, Australia on 8 August 1901. His death certificate shows him as aged 61, born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, his parents’ surnames as Blackett and Turnbull, and states that he had lived in New South Wales for 28 years and Victoria for 17 years. He is said to have arrived in Australia at the age of 16.

The only likely marriage of a Blackett to a Turnbull in the Newcastle area that we have found is that of Alexander Blackett (1807-1879) to Jane Turnbull in 1830. However, Jane died in October 1839, presumably giving birth to her daughter, Jane Turnbull Blackett. No entry for a birth or baptism has been found for John Turnbull Blackett, but it is possible that he was given up for informal adoption by his father and reverted back to his name at birth at a later stage. Another possibility is that he was an illegitimate child of Alexander and Isabella Turnbull, sister of Jane, about whom nothing is known other than her baptism. We have found no evidence of this, however.

There may be a connection with Alexander Blackett (see Alexander Blackett of Scotland and Monkwearmouth), a mariner, who was born in Scotland 1766/67 and settled in Monkwearmouth, Co. Durham, though no baptism for him has been found.

For more details of Robert Collingwood Blackett’s journey to Utah please click here.