County Laois showing the village of Kilminchy north east of Port Laoise
.The marriage of 'Denis Lawlor and Kate Cushion' was registered in Mountmellick in the quarter ending September 30th 1903 ( Reference ; Volume 3 . Page 379 ).
They married in the Roman Catholic Chapel of Maryborough in the Union of Mountmellick and in the County of Queens ( Laoise ) on 17th August 1903.
Not for the first time in this family history , an anomaly arises in the ages registered on the marriage certificate . Denis stated his age as 30 on the marriage certificate , which would have brought his birth forward by some four years to 1873 , whilst Catherine stated that her age was 27 which would have brought her birth forward to 1876 . My first reaction was that this was therefore not the record of marriage of our great grandparents after all , however on further examination of the record it seems that other details , such as the name of Catherine's father Thomas Cushion , the place of residence at Kilminchy and the occurence of the name Fennelly amongst the witnesses cofirms that it is indeed them . I can think of no explanation why Denis claimed to be four years younger than his true age of 34 and Catherine said she was two years younger than her true age of 29 .
As stated in the previous paragraph , both Denis and Kate Cushion were residing in Kilminchy at the time of their marriage . Denis was a labourer , as was his father who is named as Mick Lawlor and also Kate's father , Thomas Cushion ( these two men are of course our great great grandfathers ). The witnesses at the marriage were Michael and Julia Fennelly. They could have been Kate's mother's brother and sister , her mother's brother and his wife , her maternal grandparents or cousins of her mother .
The family myth of Ireland's tallest woman
In family anecdote it is said that Denis Lawlor's mother , Mary Delany , was extremely tall ; indeed she was said to have been the tallest woman in the whole of Ireland , no less . Denis himself was also very tall and so were his brothers ; old photographs of Denis show that he was much taller than his son James . One wonders what happened in succeeding generations that made most of us actually below average height when this branch of our ancestors was so tall ?
Kate Cushion was of course much shorter than her husband Denis , less than five foot tall in her later years . When I wrote to the parish priest of Maryborough recently to ask if he had any old parish records relating to the Lawlors and mentioned that our aforementioned ancestor may have been the tallest woman in Ireland , he replied that his records had all been sent off to regional repositories and humorously added " there are still Lawlors , Fennellys and Delanys living in the parish - I am sure that many of them could tell you a tall story ! "
Families in Kilminchy in the 1911 census
Kilminchy is a very small village near the larger town of Port Laoise in County Laois. There were just a handful of families reorded as living in Kilminchy in the 1911 census and some of them had the same surname as the names featured in our branch of the Lawlor family. I can only guess at the moment if they were directly related to Denis and Kate Lawlor, though I would suggest there is a good chance:
House number 6, Kilminchy (Maryborough Rural, Queen's County)
Daniel Fennelly, aged 30, head of family, Roman Catholic, farmer, born in Queens County
Kate Fennelly, aged 28, wife, Roman Catholic, born in Queens County
Thomas Fennelly, aged 1, son, Roman Catholic, born in Queens County
Patrick Fennelly, aged 29, brother,Roman Catholic born in Queens County, Agricultural labourer
House number 7 in Kilminchy (Maryborough Rural, Queen's County)
Robert Fennelly, aged 55, head of family, Roman Catholic, farmer born in Queen's county
Ellen Fennelly, aged 44, wife, Roman Catholic born in Queen's County, mother of 6 children all surviving, married 12 years
Annie Fennelly, aged 10, daughter, scholar who is literate in both Irish and English, born in Queen's County
Ellen Fennelly, aged 8, daughter, scholar born in Queens Co.
Bridget Fennelly, aged 7 daughter born in Queen's Co, scholar
Mary Fennelly aged 5, born Queens Co
William Fennelly aged 3, born Queens Co
Margaret Fennelly aged 1, born Queens Co
House number 14 in Kilminchy
Annie Whelan aged 80, head of family, Roman Catholic, farmer born Queen's County, widow
Michael Lawler, aged 38, son in law, agricultural labourer, born in Queen's County
Mary Lawler, aged 38, daughter, one child - none lost, born in Queens County
Michael John, aged 4, grandson, born in Queen's County
House number 17 in Kilminchy
Michael Delany, aged 57, farmer, born Queens County
Mary Delany, aged 49, wife, born Queens County, no children
John McDonald, aged 9, male visitor, scholar born Queens County
Michael White, aged 57, farm servant, born Queens County, single