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Greek Lineage

Post  AgathonZante on Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:16 pm

I have heard that I have Greek blood on my dad's side. My grandparents were as tanned as olives. Their last name is Vanzant. I was told that this name has ancient origins from the Greek island of Zante. Is there any truth to this? I know the name is also Dutch or of the Netherlands, but is it possible that they began their families in Greece? I know this is a hard subject and I do appreciate anyone who gives me help in this matter.

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Re: Greek Lineage

Post  DavidMcCann on Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:46 pm

A quick trip to Wikipedia reveals a lot of Americans called Van Zant or Van Zandt and a lot of Dutch people called Van Zanten. I doubt that many have any connection with Zante, but you might be the exception!

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Re: Greek Lineage

Post  Callisto on Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:00 pm

You'll have to dig into your family genealogy to be certain. The spelling of the Vanzant name as you know it might not be the same as the original spelling (and "Vanzant" does sound Dutch).  Unfortunately, there could be one or multiple variations as sometimes names were changed upon emigrating to America and, if your family has been here a long while, there can be multiple spellings not only within the branches of the same family but even from one generation to the next in direct descendants. One will even find multiple spellings for the same individual between one census to the next as well as on personal documents (birth certificates, deeds, marriage certificates, etc.), much less common now but routinely happened well into the mid 20th century.  The original surname might bear minimal resemblance to the spelling you know.

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Re: Greek Lineage

Post  Ελευθερια on Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:10 pm

Van Zant, Van Zandt, Vandezant, etc. are very common names in Belgium and mean "from the sand".

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Re: Greek Lineage

Post  Αγαμέμνων on Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:56 am

AgathonZante wrote:I have heard that I have Greek blood on my dad's side. My grandparents were as tanned as olives. Their last name is Vanzant. I was told that this name has ancient origins from the Greek island of Zante. Is there any truth to this? I know the name is also Dutch or of the Netherlands, but is it possible that they began their families in Greece? I know this is a hard subject and I do appreciate anyone who gives me help in this matter.

Your character is already Hellenic whether you realize it or not, comrade.  Your ήθος is what traditionally determined whether you were earnestly a Hellene, not only your blood lineage. Ancestry is merely a secondary characteristic to claim 'Greek-ness'. Ισοκράτης famously once proclaimed that anyone could be Hellene, per se.

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Re: Greek Lineage

Post  Valencia2014 on Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:00 am

Αγαμέμνων wrote:
AgathonZante wrote:I have heard that I have Greek blood on my dad's side. My grandparents were as tanned as olives. Their last name is Vanzant. I was told that this name has ancient origins from the Greek island of Zante. Is there any truth to this? I know the name is also Dutch or of the Netherlands, but is it possible that they began their families in Greece? I know this is a hard subject and I do appreciate anyone who gives me help in this matter.

Your character is already Hellenic whether you realize it or not, comrade.  Your ήθος is what traditionally determined whether you were earnestly a Hellene, not only your blood lineage. Ancestry is merely a secondary characteristic to claim 'Greek-ness'. Ισοκράτης famously once proclaimed that anyone could be Hellene, per se.

That is very true. We have to look at it in it's historical context, after the conquests of Alexander the Great or even before that "Hellene" started to mean anyone that spoke Greek and had a Greek upbringing(paideia).

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Re: Greek Lineage

Post  Out of Phlegethon on Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:47 pm

AgathonZante wrote:I have heard that I have Greek blood on my dad's side. My grandparents were as tanned as olives. Their last name is Vanzant. I was told that this name has ancient origins from the Greek island of Zante. Is there any truth to this? I know the name is also Dutch or of the Netherlands, but is it possible that they began their families in Greece? I know this is a hard subject and I do appreciate anyone who gives me help in this matter.

It doesn't sound very likely to me.  I wouldn't worry too much about those kind of connections if I were you.  What's wrong with being Germanic or Celtic in origin?  They all go back to the same Indo-European origins, and Hellenic culture and spiritualities were spread all around Europe.

My fathers side is of Greek descent, some of them have gone back to Serifos to check it out.  I don't really fit in with the Greeks I've met (for the same reason I don't feel at home behaviorally among Italians) and am of a decidedly Northern European temperament.  

Be content with your Hyperborean ancestry!
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Re: Greek Lineage

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