Kuujjuaq woman finds paternal family through DNA test

Lucy Abraham says 23andMe helped her find her cousin last fall

Lucy Abraham, second from the right, poses with her son Tyler, middle, cousin Yvon Wagner, far left, and his two sisters Carole and Danielle. This photo was taken in September 2022 when Abraham met the paternal side of her family — the Wagners — for the first time. (Photo courtesy of Lucy Abraham)

By Meral Jamal

Lucy Abraham was 16 years old when she first began searching for her father. 

Born and raised in Kuujjuaq without him around, she says she often questioned her mother about him.

“My mother did a wonderful job raising me alone herself and I’m really thankful for her. But when I was a kid, I was always jealous of my friends when they had a father and I didn’t,” Abraham recalled of the time.

“I had my grandfather and he was like a father figure, though. So I was really cared for by my grandfather — by my grandparents.” 

By the time she was a teenager, Abraham said she really started longing for her father. So she started asking more questions.

While she said she was aware that asking her mother about him might cause pain, in the end, Abraham said it was about wanting to know more about where she is from.

“I wanted that relationship and when I was a teenager, I started to question my mom: where’s my dad? Do you know where he is? Do you know his name and have a photo of him,” she said.

Her mom gave her a name: Yves Wagner.

Abraham started her search in 2000 by going through the Canada 411 database. 

Finding no success, she took a pause. 

In 2016, Abraham renewed the search for her father, this time through social media. 

Lucy Abraham and her cousin Yvon Wagner at the gravesite of their great-grandfather and grandfather in Montreal in September 2022. The family can trace back their origins to France and Belgium, where their great-grandfather moved to Canada from. (Photo courtesy of Lucy Abraham)

“I shared a Facebook post of me holding a paper with his last known information,” she said. 

Although the post was shared more than 1,000 times, nobody came forward with new clues about Yves Wagner’s whereabouts.

So in 2018 Abraham decided to take a DNA test. 

She started with Ancestry.com but it proved unsuccessful in matching her with her father. 

Knowing that, if successful in finding a match, a DNA test would be the surest way of finding her father, Abraham gave it another shot — this time, taking a DNA test with 23andMe in June 2022.

The 23andMe website sells testing kits that customers mail back to the company to have their DNA analyzed. It also connects people with genetic relatives from the service’s database.

The results came back the next month, matching Abraham with someone who had her father’s initials: Y.W.

She thought she may have matched with him, but when she reached out to the person she had connected with, she learned it was a cousin named Yvon Wagner who lived with his family in Montreal. 

Last year, over Labour Day weekend, Abraham and her son Tyler flew down to Montreal to meet Yvon and his family for the first time. 

“I looked into his eyes and I thought, ‘Holy crap! It looks like I’m looking into my eyes,’ and started laughing,” Abraham said. 

“It’s like we knew each other for a very long time.”

Through Yvon, Abraham said she has learned a lot about the paternal side of her family. Her father passed away in 2016, but her cousin drove her to the resting place of her great-grandfather who moved to Canada from France. 

Abraham said the process of reconnecting with her family has been important to her son too. 

“He’s 17 now so I made him understand the process and I explained to him that I just didn’t have a father growing up,” she said.  

“He was by my side … when we met with them.” 

Abraham and Yvon have kept in touch since their first meeting almost six months ago, adding each other as friends on Facebook. The family is now planning to meet in the summer and Abraham said she is excited to meet Yvon’s daughters then. 

“It’s really nice that we’re keeping in touch and he’s giving me more information about the Wagners.” 

Abraham said she wasn’t always sure she would ever connect with her father and his family, but encourages all those looking for their families “who are in my shoes” to not stop searching — and to try a DNA test if they can. 

“It’s really something and I’m really happy to be part of [the family] now.”

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by My Child is a fighter on

    I will always love you, it was so hard for me to raise you alone but with my late Parent’s support and my eldest sister, if it wasn’t from them, I’d be lost, but I fought the negative living and became stronger.

    Now you support me a lot in return with your only sister, love you both so much, with your families.


    • Posted by FatherDude on

      I Had same Experience with Ancetry.com
      i was shock and surprise to learn i had a Panik born in Clide River
      wich i meet few time in iqaluit 3 time then got forgoten.

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