Who was Elizabeth Church? DNA spills the secrets!

Various members of the family have spent many years searching for the birth of Elizabeth Church in Ireland, with no luck. We have never found any links to ancestors in Ireland in the right time frame.

Now there is strong evidence pointing to her actually being born in America, in the colony of North Carolina, the illegitimate daughter of Sarah York and a young soldier, Jacob Archdeacon Cody.

What? How could this be? (I can hear you ask!) You’re suggesting that Elizabeth, born in 1786 in Randolph County, North Carolina, travelled to Dublin, then somehow got transported to Australia in 1811? No way!

Yes, we’ve heard that many times, and also heard the argument that Elizabeth was married to someone else so how could she have had a child by Jacob Cody … well I’ll leave that to your imagination, but to the rest I say – DNA DOESN’T LIE!

What we started finding was that all of Elizabeth’s descendants who have DNA tests keep coming up with matches to members of two families in the USA – the Codys and the Yorks, and to their ancestors and descendants. But never a match to Sarah’s husband’s ancestors or to Jacob’s wife’s ancestors.

This is a clip of Sarah York’s family tree:

DNA links us to all of Sarah’s parents and grandparents, and to a growing number of her children.

Here are a couple of examples – one of Gwen Thomson’s matches to Sylvania Aldridge on the right…. another below… there is a lot of investigation yet to do, and more matches turning up all the time… and if you look at the Thrulines below, you can see that Gwen has 22 DNA matches to other descendants of Sylvania Aldridge.

Similarly, Gwen has 26 DNA matches with descendants from Sarah York’s father, Seymore York.

Gwen Thomson matches with Seymore York

I use two different symbols in my tree – they help me navigate relatives, and know what DNA testing has proven in terms of relationships. Generally, I also back up with a solid paper trail. In this case that has not been possible. The first one I attach to people that I have a DNA match with that are not directly family (ie brothers and sisters of my direct ancestor). The second is for direct ancestors.

So the evidence points pretty clearly to us all being a descendant of Sarah York, through her daughter Elizabeth. The next question is: How do we know that John Wellborn is NOT her father?

Again, DNA provides this evidence. To date, no one has matched with anyone from the Wellborn side. There are MANY matches, however, to the Archdeacon Cody and Womack families, proving conclusively that Jacob was the father of Elizabeth. There are also a growing number of matches to his children.

DNA links members of our family to Jacob, to his parents, and to a growing number of his children.

These are my aunt’s matches to Jacob’s father James Archdeacon Cody:

and these are the matches from my cousin Laurel Merritt:

Similarly these are the matches for both of them to Jacob’s mother Sarah Womack:

Of course, there are many questions that are left to be answered, and there is no doubt that many of these will remain unanswered until we discover time travel!

This page will show the lives of Sarah York and Jacob Cody in as much detail as we know. One day our American relatives may take this on board and help!!

As more descendants do DNA testing we will possibly find more matches, however these are getting pretty small now as the generations build, so it is at this point of time, perhaps, that we have the best opportunity to look at these matches. The DNA of the older generations is proving the relationships, and each person that tests can contribute to the bigger picture.