Bloke digs out family tree – and makes strange find about grandmother

Someone was left in hysterics when they discovered their great-grandmother had gone to jail after researching their family tree.

We all have a curiosity about our roots. Where does our history originate? What were our forebears like? Have we inherited any specific characteristics from our distant kin?

Recently, an individual decided to delve into their family tree and explore their DNA. However, they unearthed more than they had anticipated. Surprisingly, their great-grandmother was a prostitute, but the online job description left them puzzled. Naturally, they turned to Reddit for some clarity on the matter.

It’s fair to say people were quick to offer their opinions, and they were pretty varied too. Hundreds have been talking about the unexpected tale.

READ MORE: ‘I can’t look at my wife or eat after a DNA test shattered my 18-year marriage’

The social media user posted: “I found this of my 3rd great grandmother! What does prostitute infesting the phoenix park mean?” The information was sourced from an old prison register, indicating that she was apprehended in Ireland.

The offence caught the person’s eye, as the description gave them a good laugh. According to the website, the grandmother was arrested for “prostitute infesting the phoenix park”.

Since the post went live, it has sparked a lively discussion, with hundreds of people offering various theories. Many conceded it was quite a “funny” read, but there appears to be a rationale behind the description.

One respondent commented: “I’m Irish and this is quite funny to read. It just means she was caught while working as a prostitute in Phoenix Park.

“Phoenix Park is a vast green space known for hosting various events such as marathons and is famous for its wild deer that roam freely in herds. It’s also the residence of the President of Ireland.”

I found this of my 3rd great grandmother!! What does prostitute infesting the phoenix park mean? ??????
byu/Chance_Bullfrog2073 inAncestryDNA

Another user chimed in: “It doesn’t necessarily mean she was a prostitute. Sometimes homeless women would be arrested for ‘prostitution’ if they were found loitering.

“It was a method of ‘cleaning up the streets’. Many of the women who were sent to the colonies for prostitution were not sex workers… just unfortunate individuals.”

A third person responded: “My 5th great grandmother has this recorded on the baptism entry of my 4th great grandfather – complete with exclamation point: Jonah B****ard Child of Susannah Smeeton a W***e! I suppose they didn’t mince words back then.”

Meanwhile, a fourth added: “During this era, many labelled women as prostitutes simply because they were poor and homeless, without any other evidence. Perhaps your ggg grandmother was a prostitute, perhaps she wasn’t.

“Honestly, I’d be sceptical. It’s very likely she was just homeless and living in the park.”


    So, it appears there could be multiple reasons for the unusual description, given how different times were in the 1800s. The thread turned into a history lesson at points, with numerous people offering insights into what life was like back then.

    People did have a little laugh at some people’s stories though, as many seem to have been presented with similar documentation describing their ancestors. When it came to wording these things, it’s fair to say the writers didn’t hold back.

    One more chimed in with: “She could have been but it’s also very likely she was a prostitute or both. Dublin had plenty back in them times and extreme poverty was rife.

    “Bearing in mind there was massive flood that had hit Dublin a year before she was arrested. It had damaged almost a quarter of all homes.

    “OP shouldn’t be ashamed but proud of the toughness her grandmother showed in the face of extreme poverty even if she was a prostitute.”

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