Elizabeth started her life in Scotland in the parish of Dryfesdale, which covers the whole
of Lockerbie and surrounding hamlets. She has not been found after around 1856 when she arrived
There are no marriages under the name Laidlaw or variants in Tasmania, NSW, Victoria or SA, that would match, but several marriages in Tasmania under the Johnston(e) name that could be her, the most likely of which is Elizabeth Frances Johnston to Richard Mills White. The couple had two children, then Elizabeth died: Frances Dorothea (1857), Emily Charlotte (1859), Mary Mercy (1860). However, an IGI entry states that this is a member of another family. Proof would be welcome.
Did she return to Britain? An entry on the family search website gives this: ELIZABETH Birth 1839 Of, Mablethorpe, Lincoln, England Father: Matthew Ladlow Mother: Jane Marriages: Spouse: Bradley 1860 Mablethorpe, Lincoln, England
From FreeBMD: Marriages Mar 1861
Bradley Alfred Melton M. 7a 287
Bradley Thomas Ashby de la Z. 7a 138a
Bradley William Lincoln 7a 549
Marriages Mar 1861
Ladlow Elizabeth Caistor 7a 135.
According to the 1861 census, she married Richard Bradley, an Irish recruiter for the Queen's 17th Foot. They were living in Lincoln at 33 Waterside South with two little girls, one born in York, the other in Lincoln: Charlotte M A Bradley abt 1861, Lincolnshire, England. Flora Bradley, abt 1857 Yorkshire, England (note: before these two were married, so perhaps Elizabeth's step-daughter). It is not known whether the Queen's 17th Foot ever served in Tasmania.
Another Elizabeth Laidlaw was to be found in New South Wales, having children with Thomas Browne, ancestor of Richard James Scott whose e-mail address does not work.
Another thought is that she married John Diprose in Tasmania in 1865 under the name Johnston, but since there are no births or deaths or remarriages on the TPI for either, it is assumed she and John left Tasmania for the mainland or perhaps New Zealand, or even to return to Britain. John was a little older than her, so might have been a widower. Anyone with information about this, please get in touch. Please note that Elizabeth is said not to be the individual born in 1846 in Swellendam, South Africa who married David Roman (van die Kaap) on 2/5/1865. Our Elizabeth was born in Scotland and was several years older.
There is a persistent suggestion of a Cowie in the family of a Johnston marriage to a Cowie. Could Elizabeth have had the middle name Martha, been born Elizabeth Martha Cadby (easily mistaken for Ladby, or Ladly, versions of Laidlaw), married Alexander Cowie in Tasmania and had 14 children? This persistent story comes from two sources -- on the Sleightholm side and on the Lello side. Stories of an 'aunt' Cowie.This could merely, though, have been a neighbour and good family friend and hence an 'auntie'. The Cowie's had land alongside the Johnston's in Flowery Gully.
Elizabeth's mother Jane was widowed and remarried to Joseph Johstone who took his wife and their five children (including her two daughters by Mr (Unknown) Laidlaw) to Tasmania as assisted immigrants under the St Andrews Caledonian Society scheme. Elizabeth must have spent some of her childhood in England where her sister Jessie was born, so somewhere tucked away in the English 1841 census material lies, almost certainly, a record of this family. Anyone who can help, please get in touch.
She is first seen in the Dumfriesshire 1851 Census, in the Dalton parish book 4, page 11 - Bleachfield. Although she was entered on the immigrant passenger list to Tasmania as Johnstone, she was plainly a Laidlaw. However, as her sister married under the Laidlaw name, maybe Elizabeth also stuck with that. Here is the 1841 Dalston census material:
Joseph Johnstone 35 farm servant born Lochmaben
Jean 34 wife Dryfesdale
John 3 son Dryfesdale
Thomas S 7 m " Dalton
Elizabeth Laidlaw 13 wife's daughter Dryfesdale
Jessie Laidlaw 10 " England
Janet Ferguson 67 wife's mother, pauper Dryfesdale
George A Ferguson 20 brother-in-law, labourer Dryfesdale
Foster Jackson 25 visitor, labourer England
John Hornell 25 " Dryfesdale
Here is the passenger list for the Ben Nevis into Melbourne in October 1855.
JOHNSTONE ELIZTH 17
JOHNSTONE JANE 38
JOHNSTONE JESSIE 15
JOHNSTONE JOHN 8
or JOHNSTONE JOHN 8
JOHNSTONE JOSEPH 38
JOHNSTONE THOMAS 5
JOHNSTONE WILLIAM 3
Based on the list of Assisted Immigrants in the Hobart Town Gazette:
JOHNSTONE, Joseph, age 39, with 3 sons, Presbyterian, read & write, native place Scotland, Ploughman, sponsor A. Learmouth, ship Ben Nevis to Melbourne then on to Launceston 09 Oct 1855.
JOHNSTONE, Jane, age 38, same except for occupation General Servant.
JOHNSTONE, Elizabeth, age 18, same except occupation Dairymaid.
JOHNSTONE, Jessie, age 15, same as Elizabeth.
In line with the persistent story in the family that one of the girls married a Cowie. Martha Cadby was 'formerly' Johnston according to two birth entries of her children. Grandfather B C Johnston. There was a Bennett Charles Johnston died in Hobart, Brickfields. Digger - Tasmanian Pioneer Index 1803-1899 MARRIAGE.
Surname: COWIE, Given Names: ALEXANDER ELLIOT
Event: Marriage, Father/Spouse Surname: CADBY
Mother/Spouse Given Names: MARTHA, Day: 04 Month: 9 Year: 1856
Age: Adult Sex: M Spouse Age: Minor Spouse Sex: F Registration Place: LAUNCESTON Registration Number: 695/1856 Reference: RGD 37