Name: Zachary Schraeder
Profession: Student services advisor
What do you know about your ancestry, Zachary?
“Most of what I know about my ancestry comes from discussions with my grandparents and other relatives. On my mother’s side I can only go back to my great-grandparents. On my father’s side we have a pretty extensive family tree going back many generations. Except for a couple of distant great-grandparents, I can confidently say I’m a fourth- or fifth-generation Canadian.”
What role does your ancestry play in your life?
“To be honest, it doesn’t really play a huge role in my life. Whenever someone asks me what my background is, I proudly say “Canadian,” which I like. It can mean anything since Canadians are so diverse. Except for the religion I grew up with (Roman Catholic), I can’t pinpoint any unique traditions or customs that have persisted since my ancestors immigrated.”
Why do you want to take the AncestryDNA test?
“When I was in grade 7 I had to do a “homeland study” on a country my family descended from. I called my paternal grandmother to get a sense of what I should be researching. I was so surprised when I found out that in addition to the expected German heritage I had (“Schraeder” is unabashedly German), a few of my relatives originated in Slavic regions like Russia and Ukraine. I thought it was so cool! I’m hoping for a similar surprise with this. Even though my genetic heritage doesn’t really inform much of what I do (as far as I know), uncovering my “bricks and mortar,” so to speak, is fulfilling in and of itself.”
What do you expect the results will be?
“I know that a couple of my maternal great-grandparents were from England and Scotland, and I know that my paternal relatives are primarily of German descent, mixed with a little Slavic as noted previously. I’m still holding out for a wild card, though! Rumours have been swirling in my family that there might be a little Roma or Spanish way back in my family tree. Let’s see what happens!”
Using the kit provided by AncestryDNA, Zachary provided a saliva sample, which was shipped off for analysis. A few weeks later, he got the results…